… and now he’s The TV Guy

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Gino Shelile is the brains and creativity behind the rebranding of SABC3 which on 5 April launched the rebranded S3. Here he shares some of his memories as a student in Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies.

I spent a lot of time filming things that were outside of the curriculum. I would hire equipment from [stores manager]Dees [Naidoo] when I had projects for [TV lecturers] Alette [Schoon] or Paddy [Donnelly] and then use the weekend with the gear to film my own productions. These were usually cheesy profile pieces on the SRC President candidates (e.g. Martin Forsythe); as well as short narratives about mystical Xhosa kings. I really just liked the idea of telling stories in the visual medium.

When I wasn’t abusing the department’s equipment, I could be found at the Rhodes Theatre.

I fancied myself a thespian and bagged a couple of leads in productions directed by my seniors at the Drama Department.
The most notable one was Yellowman. It was the first time I got a standing ovation. I don’t think my acting is brilliant. I think they just fell in love with the character and all his flaws.

I knew my thespian days were numbered when Andrew Buckland cast me as a drummer in Moruntodun – possibly the biggest play in 2010/11. Imagine, a drummer with no speaking part! I will forever resent him for that lol 🙂

Anyhow, I have always been comfortable both in front of and behind the camera. I love telling stories and swaying emotions. That’s my thing. I should have been a spin doctor, really.

Gino Shelile presents, as fellow students film him during a third-year news project in the School of Journalism and Media Studies. Photo courtesy of Gino Shelile

My first love is writing though. Everything I do stems from writing. I script all of my productions personally and I draft all of my proposals and pitches. My team helps a lot with design. That is where I fail dismally. I am clueless when it comes to Adobe Illustrator and the likes. I tried my hand at Photoshop but it’s not really my thing. I am more of the content guy. What are we trying to communicate? How do we best communicate it?

As we speak, I am scripting some radio promos for the SABC 3 rebrand. I enjoy this part of the process. Creation. The ability to birth something that never existed before is the reason I wake up (when insomnia allows me to sleep).

Rhodes will always have a special place in my heart. Just the design of the university and how it’s an isolated bubble on top of a hill. It cocooned us from the world and really allowed us to blossom without the distractions of big city life.

We were kings of a very small castle. Everyone flourished in their respective departments. I remembered the Andy Leves who studied radio; the Khaya Mthembus who did Drama; Duduetsang Makuse who did Television… they were the superstars in the JMS and Drama Department. I was constantly in awe – wanting to be like them.

Especially Duduetsang. Her and I are from the same town (Witbank, Mpumalanga). I would see them lugging big P2 cameras and tripods everywhere and they looked so cool. I wanted to be that guy. I wanted to be a big deal in the JMS building. I wanted to be known as the TV guy.

In my final year, having switched residences from Joe Slovo to Hilltop 3, I got the words “Producer” embroidered onto my res hoodie. It doesn’t fit me anymore. But I think that’s when I actively told the universe to make space for me and my dreams. (I’ll try find that hoodie…)

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