Janet Onabanjo, one of our very own New Creatives is a young photographer/ videography with lots of ammbition. She recently won this years VFX Scholardship with Escape Studios, I managed to catch up with her and find out more about her journey. 

I’d love to know more about you and your journey into visual effects…


'I was always into creative things when I was younger; I wasn’t allowed scissors at the time so I used sneak and take scissors from my mum to just start making things. We used to have a lot of cardboard left from stuff we’d buy that I’d use.


When I got a bit older I started drawing and my mum was really impressed with what I was doing so she was always supportive and leading me to draw more. Before my mum passed away she’d always try to get me jobs that related to drawing – she always told me to find something in the creative field which isn’t the norm being from a Nigerian background as parents usually want their children to be doctors or lawyers.

I remember being 14 and being really interested in photography but couldn’t afford a camera, and when I got to 16 I had enough money to buy myself a camera and that’s when I started doing photography. I would just shoot a lot of things and a couple of years later I remember doing documentaries where I’d just go to my school and just ask people about their lives and I’d take pictures – I always found that interesting. Around that time I wanted to apply for a foundation course before I went into University as I wanted to get into film. So I started doing the film foundation course and that year was awful for me until I got into my first year of my Degree, now I’m in my second year, doing editing and post production and it was through University that I found out about the VFX scholarship as Escape Studios came to my University let us know about the scholarship. Once I’d heard about it I really wanted to do the scholarship. I’ve always liked visual things, art and I like creating things. I just think it’s a nice way to stimulate the mind'.


It’s quite a shift from drawing; you could’ve easy gone down the animation route – what was your main inspiration for getting into photography and shooting live things?


'I feel like they sometimes can go hand-in-hand so when I started seeing photography I just always thought it was visually amazing rather than drawing. With photography and film it’s all already there for you to bring to life'. 


What does winning the VFX scholarship mean to you and how to you hope it’ll impact your career going forward?

'Winning this scholarship is really amazing, it’ll give me the opportunity to do so much more that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise – I have all these ideas in my head that I wouldn’t be able to execute and materialise without what I’m about to learn.

Especially being that being a female of colour in the film industry is not easy – I just hope I can be a source of inspiration to others who would also want to go down a similar path.


What are some of your dreams and aspirations in the VFX industry?

'I really want to get into directing documentaries, I would love to document peoples lives because everyone has a story that can be learnt from and everyone’s story should get the opportunity to be shared as you never know what that story will give to the world. 

I also want to direct music videos too – videos that have really visually stimulating effects because I just absolutely love that and maybe do some documentary photography. 

I also want to do something people who would like to get into this industry but may not want to go to University and offer another way to get to get to where they want to. Showing that there is hope and opportunities out there'.


Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?

'I’m doing a lot of things at the moment, most of which are for other people. I’m currently in the planning and research stage of a documentary series that I’m working on. I’m also part of the New Creatives and recently held an event called FIRSTS – where people all share stories relating to their first time experiencing something. On the night I will be documenting and filming as well as editing the content. I’ve learnt so much while being on the New Creatives programme honestly, in terms of organising, planning, promotion and getting your work out there – its been really beneficial'.

A huge thank you and congratulation to Janet! It was a pleasure getting to know you.