Why South Africa Keeps Getting The Red-Carpet Thing Wrong



Yet another awards event has come and gone and the images are a total disappointment. The South African Music Awards were held in Sun City last night. Celebs donned their best gowns and suits but their effort and moment was wasted on lack of planning and co-ordination on the red-carpet. 

Judging by all the SAMAs articles I have seen, most publications have had to rely on the celebrities' Instagram photos to get head-to-toe shots of their red-carpet looks. I would have been tempted to blame our local entertainment photographers for this but at this point it has become evident that much of the problem lies with lack of clear plan for red-carpet coverage from awards shows organisers. 

We clearly have photographers who understand doing fashion shots on red-carpets. One name that jumps at me is Austin Malema. But, even he couldn't get decent on the red-carpet shots. Most of his shots were not on the actual red carpet. 

I think our event organisers, especially for major awards events like SAMAs, METROs and SAFTAs, should focus on allocating their resources more strategically. Instead of sending out invites to everybody and their friends, it would be better to make sure you make provisions for moments and people who count. 

1. Planning

Organisers of the show should have a clear plan on who and when that person should be on the red-carpet. That would filter out the riff-ruff and allow for 'people of interest' to have a moment on the red-carpet for photographers to get their picture.

2. Allocate time

Obviously organisers know who they invite to these events. Allocating a specific time for a celebrity to be on the red-carpet and how long they should pose would make the process flow effectively. No one person should be posing on the same spot for more than 2 minutes. 

3. Publicists should do their job

Publicists should not be worried about being seen and hogging the spotlight from their clients. A good publicist should actually be the one making sure they work together with the organisers to make sure of the precise time his/her celebrity client gets on the red-carpet there is enough space and good angle for photographers to shoot from.

4. Allocate space just at the end of the red-carpet for on-camera interviews.

Watch how there is no congestion, photographers have their spot to get pics from all angles. No TV crews. 
Having TV camera crews do interviews on the same spot where photographs are taken just clogs up the space and creates congestion. To aide in having a free flow of celebrities, there should be few metres allocated for photographs and at the end you'd have the interview spot for those crews who do not have their own branded space like E!.

5. Take care of the photographers

One of the people who are always under appreciated and not given the respect they deserve are photographers. Often these PR companies who handle awards events will send a photographer just one invite. Seriously, how do you expect a photographer to work effectively on their own at an event like that? Photographers need assistants. Much like a TV crew will need a runner to make sure celebrities talk to the host, photographers need someone to help with carrying equipment, changing lenses and sometimes getting celebrities to be on the right spot. All I am saying is that, instead of giving random people invites maybe invest in making sure reputable photographers get to have more than just one invite. 


In conclusion, it is unfortunate that great opportunities to showcase our industry's amazing fashion industry and celebrity culture are lost so unnecessarily, when all that is needed is proper planning. 

Look at the difference from what you are seeing coming from the SAMAs and the images that came out earlier this year from the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards held in Nigeria;


SAMAs (note I am only showing pictures of our A-listers not just random people)... 











Those are the best pictures I could find that showcase what they were wearing from head to toe. As you can see, many were not on the actual carpet. Even Bonang, the biggest female star in SA, could not be photographed on the red-carpet from all angles, the best picture came from her Instagram. 

Now look at the vast difference between that and the images from AMVCA in Nigeria...











I deliberately did not use Hollywood images above because we obviously can not try and compete with the money and resources of Hollywood. However, the South African entertainment industry has more resources than Nigeria but somehow they seem to be doing things far more organised and proper than we do. Ours just look like we still playing wannabes instead of putting our best foot forward. 

PS: Did the SAMAs not hire their own photography team? Where are the pictures of winners and their trophies? Where is that money shot of the biggest winner of the night with his trophies for the front pages of newspapers the following day? 






We are better than this. We can do so much better than this amateurish way we keep going. 


To see more images from Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards click HERE

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