Due to his role as Luwi Hausa in the Kenyan telenovela series, Maria, Mr. Brian Ogana has become a celebrated actor in the industry currently. We caught up with him for a session as he shared on his journey and the acting industry, in general.
Kindly introduce yourself to us and what you do.
I am Brian Martins Ogana, a communications officer/strategist and a thespian.
What motivated you to take this career path, especially as a thespian?
As a child my dad introduced me to literature, where he would give me Shakespeare plays to read and at times emulate how they talked, walked and carried themselves . It is at this point that I fell in love with plays and acting and the thought of being an actor was born.
What drives you as an actor?
It is not yet over until I win. I seek to prove to myself that I am the best the world is yet to see. Before I get into my character, I tell myself that I will do my role as if I am going to die the next minute. I will give my very best and utilize my God given talent, that when He looks down he will be all smiles saying `That’s my son, he utilized his talent.’
What do you consider when choosing a project(film) to participate in?
I have to fall in love with the storyline, the character I am to play, the director of the project and at some point how the project is being made.
Is acting a full time business for you or just part-time?
I cannot say it’s a by the way gig, because we have artists who take care of their families using art. I treat it with high regard, the same way a white collar job is normally treated.
How is your experience when it comes to auditions?
For auditions one ought to be always prepared. It’s best for a chance to get you prepared than not prepared at all.
You have a lot of fans currently due to your character as Luwi in the Maria series. How has the journey been to the top? How long has this taken you to be here today?
What most people don’t know is that I have been in the industry for quiet a long time, as early as 2007, so it has been a gradual journey all through.
Maria series has received a positive reception from the Kenyan audience. What can you attribute this to? Can you say that the Kenyan audience is beginning to accept local content?
First of all, I will say a big thank you to Citizen Tv for promoting local talent, then my producers; Lulu Hassan and Rashid Abdalla for taking time to cook and learn the trends that are happening in the market. Lastly, the Kenyan audience. Kenyans know what they want and have come of age, so you can’t give them mediocrity, which means a lot of homework has to be done in order to satisfy them.
How do you make sure your work and fame don’t get to affect your personal life?
Over the years, I have made my mistakes and a good chunk of them, what really counts is learning from them. Be true to yourself and never succumb to pressure. I love reflecting on Jesus life on earth. He never gave in to pressure from the world, he was focused on doing his purpose in life and that was it. People will talk, and not everyone will like you as a person, but that’s life. For me, I always tell God to always remind me that I am nothing and to always remember I am at level zero and that I need to work on my craft daily. That staying humble doesn’t cost you anything, being kind to people will always be fulfilling.
Furthermore, you have to be disciplined and principled. I am always reminded by my dad’s quote “Character maketh a man”
Is being a lead actor hard for you?
Once you strike the balance, it’s not hard to pull through, because you have to remember at the end of the day Luwi is a character on screen and after that you have to come back to yourself and run to your duties as a father.
There are upcoming actors who probably look up to you for inspiration. What should they do in order to be where you are today and probably do more?
You are like raw material that has to be constantly worked on to a final product, always push on and don’t give up. You will meet rejections along the way, but don’t lose focus, it may take 5, 10 or even 20 years for your break, but never lose focus. Above all, always pray.
Do you think our education system is opening up enough space for the thespian’s world?
I believe with the introduction of the new curriculum more is expected to crop up, because it has now catered for everyone and no one will feel left out.
So how can we, as the Kenyan audience, promote our own local content?
By supporting our own in each and every little way. That friend back at home who has a play staged, pay for a ticket and go watch them. That small video that someone has shot using a phone when they share with you, in the many groups you are in share it out and let other people see the great works of that person. Without you, there can never be me. Not unless we adopt that culture of supporting one another, we can never go far. I need you as much as you need me.
What next for Sir. Brian Ogana in the next years?
For now, my focus is Maria, and steering it the best way I know how, I don’t know about tomorrow but at this very moment, I am just thankful to God for everything.
What is your parting shot?
For someone out there who has lost hope and faith in life, it’s not yet over until you win. The biggest tragedy will be when you are dead and you never capitalized on your talents. It’s never late to start, just do it. For my fans, I love you to the moon and back and Luwi can never be if it wasn’t for you, I will forever be indebted to you. God knows I cannot pay you back for the continuous love and support.