While most students are busy studying for exams or are in class, Ayo Olajimi is beginning work on his directorial debut.
The film he is writing, “Kissed by the Sun,” depicts the dangers of drug and sexual abuse, and the hardships that come with motherhood.
The senior communications design major from Dallas is launching a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo on Feb. 21. Olajimi is also directing and serving as the cinematographer for the film about the lead character, Solange, a single mother in school trying to find balance between the two, and the hardships she undergoes while doing so.
“We want to tell a story that’s not only engaging on it’s own, but also a conversation starter about the dangers of drug and sexual abuse,” he said. “Also the hardships that come with motherhood.”
Olajimi got into film back in his junior year of high school, he said, because he believes storytelling moves people unlike anything else.
“It’s an age-old form of entertainment that that has always and will forever remain prominent,” he said. “I plan to one day become a full-time director.”
Olajimi wants to direct narrative films, music videos and commercials all across the world, he said. He has slowly made a name for himself under his brand name “Ayomedia,” where he specializes in mainly music videos, photography and commercial work.
Olajimi is now branching off into narrative work on his own with this directorial debut short film.
“Filmmaking is a deep and extensive process,” he said. “Independent films such as ‘Kissed By The Sun’ are often much more rigorous.”
He and his team has turned to their community of colleagues, professors, family and fellow filmmakers to help bring their vision to life, he said.
“Funds from the campaign will go towards equipment rental, travel expenses, sound design, catering and film submissions,” he said. “All of the elements will give our film a fighting chance at festival viewership.”
A few things for the production cost include location fees, permit insurance, catering, camera equipment rental, set decoration, wardrobe/makeup, transportation, professional sound and color mix, traveling/lodging expenses and festival submission, Olajimi said.
Evans Biney Jr., a senior media and communications major from Dallas, is serving as Olajimi’s co-writer and co-casting director.
“The first time we (Olajimi) worked together was in 2013,” Biney said, “and ever since then, this man hasn’t slowed down. He’s always working on his vision and making sure he can execute them to his full capability.”
Biney’s favorite part of the process has been seeing both Olajimi and himself doing things they used to dream about, he said. When starting out, they did not know what they were doing whatsoever, he said, so to see how far they have come from just practice and work ethic has been a “blessing to witness.”
Biney said he cannot wait to see where they will be in the next five years.
“I’ve learned most from (Olajimi’s) personality and how to really get out of my comfort zone and shell,” he said. “You can’t be afraid to speak up and have some control on set, because at the end of the day, if it’s not coming out how you wanted, it most likely had to do with lack of direction, and that’s definitely something I was able to work on more since I started picking up more from being around my bro.”
Malik Edwards, a senior integrative studies major from Houston, has been a part of the specific project by working on the writing team and the casting call team.
“Ayo is consistently progressing with better work,” Edwards said. “He’s always pushing to be more creative, and his knowledge on film and photography is through the roof for someone who is considered an ‘amateur.’ Although he has all these qualities, he remains humble.”
Edward’s favorite part of the process is simply being part of the writing team, because the story is touching, he said.
“I feel like it will leave a great impression on the younger generation of what some of us go through when trying to succeed independently,” he said.