I have always wanted to be a Movie Director

Brian Kepha
6 min readJul 22, 2023

I have always known my endgame will be to sit in the director’s chair and translate pale lonely scripts into beautiful artwork of films, ever since I watched my first film in the local movie den way back in 2003. Now this might really come as a surprise to many of the people who follow me because I always seemed like tech was what my life revolved around. Now it is true tech has defined me a lot, in fact, most friends I have made are a direct result of interaction in tech, but it has always been a stepping stone. Now do not get me wrong, I really really love tech, being able to build solutions using code and design on a computer still blows my mind and gets my adrenaline pumping really fast, but at the bottom of my heart, sitting behind the camera is what my heart craves.

In an ideal world, I would have joined film school immediately after high school to pursue this goal of being one of the great directors and leaving my mark, but then again, my situation wasn’t exactly ideal. For starters, the film industry in Kenya isn’t very prominent and big, which means the chances of making it are minimal to none, especially for a boy from the village with no connection or enough old money to enable those connections. Also, the industry in Kenya has walls built so high, I would not climb that high even if I wanted to. I had to of course come up with a plan of action and here was the plan.

I decided to go with a career I know I was actually good at and I enjoyed and would actually have a chance purely based on merit, so I picked a major in IT. I do vividly remember my mom pushing her agenda, she wanted me to go the law route. Imagine me as a lawyer, haha, I would pity the guy who gets me as their lawyer because I would tank in ways that have not been discovered yet. I am glad I was already very clear about what I wanted in life, otherwise, she might have succeeded and I would be sitting here drafting a subpoena and throwing around words like litigation and restraining orders and the like, hehe, now that I mentioned it, I’m curious to see how that would have turned out.

Let us get back on track, shall we? Getting into IT would mean I would study something else I liked and enjoyed and after that, get into the job market for a while and make something of myself, and then after that, I would switch to what I have always dreamed of, and that is directing.

You should probably know, that halfway through studying Computer Technology, I might have had too much fun and lost sight of my entire vision, lol. It got very real especially because I am a curious young lad and topics such as Automata Theory offered a way to satisfy that curiosity, one problem though, the more I sought to satisfy my curiosity, the deeper I lost sight of my endgame and for some time I actually decided, this was where I wanted to be. I am however glad that I did come to and saw the light. Building software is a very mind-intensive task and it requires an insane amount of logical evaluation which can get very tiring after a while, for me at least.

You are probably asking yourself why I would want to exit a job market as lucrative as Software Engineering just to go explore untested waters in an Industry that is not stable in this country and hardly pays as much. Well…, one word, stupidity. The passion I have for filmmaking is so big it blinds me to such simple math. Remember when Elon Musk was asked why he was dead set on making electric cars when all signs and projections pointed to Tesla dying in the near future, he said, “If something is important enough, you do it, even if you are most likely going to fail.”I guess this is that important to me. I do have to declare that I know all the foolishness and stupidity that comes with it, haha.

Here is exactly why I know the film is my path. For starters, I follow Hollywood so closely it creeps my friends out. Now most people start talking about a film when the trailers drop and even more when it is about to start its theatrical run, not me, I start following a movie when the Studio executives greenlight the movie and give a budget. Then closely follow the sources to see the writers picked to write the film script from the rough drafts, and rewrites until the final approved script. From there, I usually follow up on which director the Studio picks to adapt the screenplay and follow the casting directors as they hold auditions for the various character roles in the movie.

For the record, pre-production is a very key part of making a movie and it usually takes months and months of planning. After pre-production, I make sure to follow the cast and crew as they shoot on set, such news is usually leaked on the internet, which means I have to follow the right people and publications to get the news. Basically, as production is ongoing, it is much easier to start piecing together parts of the film. After shooting the film, it usually goes into post-production, and this is usually the quietest part of the filmmaking process because it is done behind the curtains in the editing room, basically cutting unwanted scenes and doing the movie's Visual Effects. Usually after months of post-production, the director cuts the trailer and shows the people which officially kicks off marketing. For the record, marketing sometimes costs as much as the cost of the movie production itself.

After all the marketing and hype for the film, I mostly watch all my films on opening weekend to avoid spoilers. Then for the weirdest part of all, after watching the film, I always find myself camping on Box Office Mojo to see the real-time stats for the movie gross and compare it to the budget of the movie and the projections, haha, I know right, the line between passion and obsession getting blurred. I do this for the entirety of the movie’s theatrical run till it comes out on Blu-Ray and Digital.

Another thing that I am seriously obsessed with is the movie formats, specifically the IMAX format and to be more specific, 15/70mm perf IMAX film format. I will not go into that now because it might cause me a meltdown trying to geek it out, especially on paper, I will definitely do a piece just on the IMAX movie format alone, do follow to see that.

I am now 2 years in tech and I have never been surer. A few more years and I will be Brian Kepha, the Movie director. The entire plan was to get into tech and make enough money to kickstart my directing career even if it means I have to do it independently, it is my calling and I do not wish to leave this earth before I do this. Being behind the camera alone will be joy enough for me but I won’t mind being the director that has people positively discussing my stylistic choices, you know like Nolan or Jordan Peele of Kenya.

Before I go, as a 14-year-old, Michael Bay and his Transformers films were a big inspiration to get into directing, I know right, but years later, my favorite directors are, Christopher Nolan, Stephen Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo Del Toro, and Quentin Tarantino.

As I depart, I ask that you watch out for the little guy Kepha because I am inevitable.