Emma-Rosa Dias is the IFTA nominated Managing Director of Belfast based Afro Mic Productions, which she founded in 2014 Emma-Rosa has over 18 years in front of & behind the camera with BBC, ITV & Channel 4. Afro Mic Productions was also one of the 9 indies selected to team up with Channel 5 to to diversify their programme supply.

Faraz Osman is Managing & Creative Director of Gold Wala a new creative agency, which he founded in 2018 after working across International EMMY, BAFTA, BIMA and broadcast award-winning content for broadcasters and brands. Faraz has over 15 years in TV, online & media production.

Both have successfully created content & secured commissions during the lockdown.

Emma explained that her company went into survival mode and the team took the opportunity to exercise creativity to the fullest extent. Emma- Rosa started Afro Mic Productions from her kitchen table so returned to form with the addition of conducting meetings via Zoom talking to her team and commissioners. They considered footage from a previous film they had been developing which was then pitched. Through thinking creatively and seeking to move away from what was going on in the outside world, they’ve also managed to turn around a 1hr special on weddings within 8 weeks. “It was about thinking quickly and creatively about what could be done with the resources available at the time”.

Faraz shared that his company Gold Wala had a few projects put on hold as a result of lockdown and it was a juggling act between family and running the company, as there are no boundaries in terms of time. He spoke to commissioners and reconnected with people about what they wanted and at the time Ramadan was approaching which unifies Muslims worldwide through 1 month of fasting, prayers and community, all essential components to the month of reflection which would need to be adapted due to lockdown. This inspired Gold Wala’s ‘My Mates a Muslim’ broadcast on BBC3.

If you are wondering if this is a refreshing lens on being Muslim, then you will not be disappointed!

Faraz previously worked with Lemonade Money TV, specialising in music programming and wanted to expand beyond the music genre. Setting up Gold Wala, youth-led programming, Faraz has never struggled to find diverse talent, reflecting he asserts that as the audience see themselves on screen they are encouraged and want to work on those shows. Faraz strongly believes that having a mix of personalities benefits production and acknowledges the importance of working collaboratively with as many voices as possible. ‘My mates a Muslim’ is Gold Wala’s 1st major BBC3 production and it was essential everyone on board, understood the channel, style and tone as we were working remotely under lockdown. We worked with a recruitment company called Talented People and advertised via The TV Collective.

Emma-Rosa previously worked as a television presenter for BBC Northern Ireland and also worked in advertising before being made redundant and using that money to make documentary films about sub-cultures. With over 18 years in Television Production working with BBC, ITV, CH4, across the United Kingdom Afro Mic Productions was recently selected as one of the 9 Production Companies, to work with Channel 5 and has even greater ambitions which will mean an increase in the size of her team.

Top tips on getting commissioned:

Emma:

• Be true to your culture – Pitch what’s true to you.

• Commissioner relationships – they have to believe in the idea.

• Be thick-skinned – loads of knock backs, let them make you stronger.

Faraz:

• Understand what you want to sell.

• Be visible & say what you believe in.

• Have a great team, advocate for them & tell people they’re missing out not working with them.

Watch the full video below: