Tuesday, March 10, 2015

REVIEW. M-Net's 3rd AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards on DStv a badly produced continental disservice to African viewers.

M-Net's 3rd AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards 2015 which was broadcast live on Saturday evening on AfricaMagic Showcase (DStv 150) on MultiChoice's DStv across Africa with multiple mistakes and horrific production values, once again did a disastrous disservice to viewers forced to watch this mediocre mess.

The sad part is that M-Net, the sponsors and everyone from the TV establishment think this is just great, patting each other on the back over a wonderful AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards 2015 as if nothing is wrong and everything just amazing - not forced to actually watch the disaster they keep dishing up.

The irony is that something like the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards 2015 is made and produced to be watched. It's a televised event. Its event TV.

Yet watching it on Saturday on DStv, broadcast from the Eko Hotel and Convention Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, once again gave this TV critic the distinct feeling that making it for viewers - and making it look and be great for viewers - is apparently the very last and lowest priority for everyone involved in this trashy TV exercise supposed to showcase how wonderful African film and TV is.

If you see this - which viewers saw again on Saturday night - by now you know you're watching the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards.

When you see black screen you now know you're watching the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards on DStv. What a shame.

For the third time in a row this utter TV mess struggled with terrible sound, shaky, erratic and extremely shoddy camerawork, numerous production problems, bad - very bad - presenters, horrible live editing, jaw-droppingly bad camera-angles and insane cutting from camera to camera.

The sound right through at the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards was bad throughout. Don't blame the satellite. It was bad microphones, bad sound editing, bad producing and producers who don't know when to cut and when to start it - as well as terrible camerawork and play-out.

Add black screen, jarring camera pulling, jerking scenery, jumpy panning and Africa viewers got what we seemingly deserve: second-hand badness because we apparently don't know or demand any better from our television.

How embarrassingly bad was it when eventually comedian Basketmouth walked out on stage - not only with his handheld mic dead while he's talking, but the background music playing, and the music not being cut.

Basketmouth blatantly called out the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards producers: "Is this sound supposed to be playing?"

More embarrassing mistakes followed at the end of his skit when he said "the camera will go off me now" - which didn't. And then commercials started. With MTN's ad having no sound.

Watch it if you've recorded it, and cringe for the low quality representation of African awards show television being beamed by MultiChoice across the continent.

I don't know what happened with the stage. It was dirty. Nobody bothered to clean it up.

Usually production assistants on any live production sweep in during ad breaks to fix and clean whatever. I've seen several top class directors, floor managers and producers over the years on otehr shows and live TV productions pick up small things because their shows matter to them on a personal level, and because they're hands-on - irrespective of their titles.

Not at the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards. Here the trash stays on the stage.

The dirty stage, littered with black unknown bits - probably black feathers but looking like discarded pieces of black plastic - was clearly too much and too difficult a thing to pick up by anyone sometime during the two hour show.

Imagine the Oscars or Golden Globes audience being berated and admonished several times on live TV to "please clap" - while the camera zoomed in for close-up shots of audience members chewing gum.

It happened Saturday at the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards. Apparently the more tacky, the more suitable to be televised.

Again there were lots and lots of empty seats with M-Net's AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards constantly, monotonously, panning from the right over the almost empty hall and panning over row upon row of empty seats. Again and again.

If you have empty seats, how difficult is it to not show it?

You at least want to create the perception with the viewer that what the viewer is watching and is being asked to give time to, is actually popular.

And why are so many people walking around, milling about, having their walking heads in shots as passers-by? Filming a flea market? It looked so.

The first winner of the 3rd AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards - a live televised award show - didn't bother to show up.

"Pat Nebo is somewhere around. He's not in the venue right now," said a writer who rushed to stage to accept the first award on behalf of no-show Pat Nebo for best art director.

The second winner of the evening - Georgia Arnold for Shuga as Best TV series - also couldn't be bothered to show up with another unknown person accepting on her behalf.

How does M-Net and the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards want viewers to tune in and stick around when its starts off with the people who viewers presumably tune in for - the stars and the winners - who are not there?

MultiChoice's DStv electronic programme guide (EPG) was again, for the third year in a row, completely out of whack and unreliable.

Anyone wanting to record the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards or the red carpet pre-show using their DStv decoder would not get the whole complete show - with completely wrong scheduled times.

It's unacceptable and yet its the third time that it happened. It gives the feeling that very little care and attention goes into the overall "event" with little coherent integration on any level.

Why do a live awards show if the capacity and professional calibre of people don't exist and are not in place to pull it off successfully?

There were some great one-liners at the 3rd AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards like when Sacred Lola Maja won for best make-up artist and started her acceptance speech with: "Wow. So glad I wore my waterproof mascara."

The winner of Best new media online video, Imoh Umoren was dressed in white and black and said: "Someone told me Africans don't like black and white silent films."

Perhaps the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards should go back to the drawing board and start out in black and white. With no sound. And then take it slowly and rebuild this continental embarrassment from there.