Ivan Odhiambo alias Ivan Odie is the brains behind some of the most popular music videos in the country. The 29-year-old video director is also an entrepreneur, film director, audio engineer, and the founder of Callivan Creatives Studio.
He shared his career path with Sunday Nation.
Tell us about your childhood and family life.
You know what they say about necessity? As a child and being the youngest in our family, it didn’t take long for my mother to realise that I loved music so she bought me a guitar when I was only 12 years old. I used to play it in school where I also used to be the best in class in IT and English.
I used to do calligraphy for my schoolmates whenever they were sending mail to their girlfriends in other schools. I guess my passion for calligraphy and IT led me to graphic design and corporate branding while my old guitar led me to music production. Film came later when I realised it was deficient in the industry and all of these gave birth to Callivan Creatives.
I started my education at Nairobi Primary School, I later joined Gulf Academy in Nyanza where I sat the KCSE examination. I then went to Light Academy before proceeding to Asia Pacific University and finally MultiMedia University where I studied Film and Animation.
What do you remember most about your career journey?
I wouldn’t say I am successful yet, despite handling major projects and winning several awards. My greatest achievement so far is bringing my mother on board in an advert. She had no clue what my work was all about but she trusted me so she came along. She actually acted as my friend Pascal Tokodi’s mum, or rather Pascal acted as me. I reminded her that I once promised her that my passion would one day pay off. She only smiled back at me.
What has been the key driver to your career growth? Some of the lessons learnt and failures?
Initially, I lacked support from family to invest in my career. But hey! They got me through university and honestly, that is more than enough.
Who would say shaped your career growth? How did they influence your trajectory?
In the field of shooting, there’s Andrew Magetto. I compete with him but he probably doesn’t compete with me. He was an audio producer too so I feel we are alike or I’m for now the “mini him”. But he is my big brother and mentor. I also look up to maybe one or two not-so-popular directors out there but they know what they’re doing and that’s what I respect more than popularity.
Key decisions you might have taken along the way?
Being consistent and passionate is key in the entertainment industry. Another key factor is not being money-minded, initially, this corrupts one’s principles and goals while growing their craft.
Your current role and scope?
Our team’s role is to inspire the youth, give them hope in showing them that even the young generation can play a role in branding and making Africa look as good as the Western community that we so often see as the benchmark.
What would you tell your younger self?
Patience is key, persistence is mandatory.
What would you advise the youth in Kenya and Africa today?
They should expose themselves, at bare minimum. We are so blessed to have the internet today. This is a phenomenal platform that can educate one at the comfort of their homes.
Expand and hopefully advertise Kenya as a whole to foreign markets.