Ali Rasoul was one of 20 students to receive the RTS bursary scholarship in 2017 and has gone on to start his own independent film making and content creation company. Ali tells us about his creative projects in lockdown, what he’s been watching and how he consumes online content.
Life in lockdown
After a surreal few months spent working on exciting projects in Los Angeles during Grammy week, I returned to the UK to recommence my graduation film. Buzzing with inspiration and positivity, I began to widen my vision and strategically plan my next moves.
By March, I believed life couldn’t get any better right until the headlines scattered the nation, announcing a global pandemic. Avoiding the news wasn’t an option and it became challenging to remain positive due to the abrupt increase in project cancellations. Going back and forth with my thoughts, I aspired to remain in the creative element I had prior to the pandemic.
As a result, I decided to build a brand-new high-tech recording studio in my home to use for content and music productions. I’m currently engaging with the studio space to film my upcoming podcast Creative Entrepreneurs, which is a series for anyone who works in creative industries and wants to expand their knowledge on ways to financially progress their business. Listeners will hear different stories of successful creative entrepreneurs, along with an insightful breakdown and a step by step guide through what went well, how that person overcame challenges and what happened as a result. Being in the studio enables me to further develop new plans and projects, moreover, fuelling my energy to keep striving and moving forward.
What I’m watching
My personal reality of watching a particular TV series and getting ‘caught up’ in the narrative or being overwhelmed by it is such a social experience, especially when attaching myself with the characters, and developing a sense of compassion and curiosity. All these qualities have contributed massively to TV shows I’ve been watching recently like BBC One's I May Destroy You series by Michaela Coel and Netflix’s Russian Doll show starring Natasha Lyonne.
Unquestionably, for Michaela Coel’s drama series, I felt transformed into another world, one that is a tragic and heartbreaking reality for some. A journey of exploration and a more profound perception behind the dark experiences of sexual assault and racism. In the footsteps of Arabella, I was able to understand elements of the experience as it demonstrates the life-changing aftermath and ongoing trauma. What I discovered to be very valuable about this series is the display of unfolding conflicts and issues that kept occurring while Arabella was investigating her main obstacle, shedding light on the racial slurs and sexual harassment that exist in corporate industries.
In contrast, Russian Doll explores somewhat a strange comedy-drama theme. Nonetheless, it covers one similar problem; the use and modification of narcotics. In the experience of Nadia, she finds herself caught in a puzzling loop of repeatedly revisiting the same function and dies at the end of the night each time, only to wake up the next day uninjured as if nothing had occurred. In the period of loops, Nadia is caught in a subconscious journey to comprehend how to escape the cycle. I enjoyed watching this, merely because of the journey I feel that I’ve taken on, it provides a sense of escapism to the reality of how life works, making it more pleasing to watch and get hooked.
In both TV shows, I sensed the writer's intentions to educate and ideally compose a narrative that questions how one is living life. Even throughout the episodes, I subconsciously asked myself, “am I truly protecting my energy?”
My top TV source
For me, an excellent streaming platform is more than just a matter of who has the best programmes. Ideally, including the app experience, it’s more important to me how promptly they publish original content and the value for money. Subscribing to Apple TV, Netflix and BBC iPlayer has transformed the way I engage and explore TV shows. Essentially this comes down to their authenticity and originality, for instance, Netflix and Apple TV+ Originals both are top class in their own respect, however, are competitively different.
Sometimes, I need both to stay up to date with programmes like Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ and Maniac on Netflix. BBC iPlayer, on the other hand, caters unique content to all demographics and significantly bridges the gap to all age groups. An exceptional tool about iPlayer is having the ability to watch high-quality content, no matter how old they may be. With shows like HyperNormalisation and Dynasties being BBC productions, it makes it essential for me to stream on it as they are exclusively available on iPlayer.
With a new generation of online consumers and creators, there's been a clear shift in breaking conventional ways of creating content. I’ve used social media to ensure it supports my creative strategies to be able to develop a stronger online presence.
I tend to spend more time on Instagram, purely because of its short-form content, making it easier to consume and engage, realising platforms like Instagram can add so much value when utilised correctly. It plays a massive role in gaining inspiration.
Personally, I've drawn inspiration from the founder of Passport Heavy and Live Richer Academy, Jubril Agoro, for his major successes in the business and creative industries, someone that I truly look up to. Alternatively, Spotify is a platform I use to consume, listen and connect with musicians, and exploring genres like Afrobeats has given me a more beneficial online experience.
How I consume news
I believe that, now more than ever, the way I consume news has changed as technology has brought me closer to articles and headlines, purely because of the accessibility. With the influence of social media networks like Snapchat and Twitter, it’s been easier for me to stay up to date with what’s going on and stay informed.
Prior to this, I typically wouldn’t have had the awareness of accessing news instantly. As a result, I have certainly formed an interest in reading online articles, and being able to access essential information from publications like Forbes, Guap Magazine, and Sight & Sound is quite beneficial to me.
What I enjoy about reading the news on these publications is the fact that I'm able to discover stories that have been formulated to share value with readers. I particularly enjoy learning ways to enhance a skill or find how an entrepreneur was able to overcome obstacles in their business, all of which add great benefit to my reading experience.