We sitting in a popular cafe in the heart of Palmarejo. This growing community in Praia, the capital city of Cabo Verde, is evidence of the country’s booming middle class. Across from me sits one of the archipelago’s fast-rising young businessmen.
At just 23 years old, Belomy Xavier is becoming to go-to guy for video production. His Prisma Videos has not only crafted some of the most popular music videos for Cabo Verdean artists, but the blossoming firm has worked on products for the government as well as for the private advertising sector.
Xavier tells AFKInsider how he got started and his plans for the future.
AFKInsider: How did you get started making videos?
Belomy Xavier: I first I discovered that I had a thing for multimedia. I started to work with graphic design, doing flyers for parties and that sort of thing. Then when I finished high school at started thinking about journalism but I changed my mind. I thought about what I really wanted to do, what was inside of me. So I went to university for publicity/advertisement. I started working almost right away doing advertising for the school, Universidade Jean Piaget de Cabo Verde. It was my first year and they asked me to work. I actually won a competition and that’s how I started working at the university in the photography lab and radio lab. I think I was a good student; I was the kind of student that didn’t just take what the professors said but I would go research. My researching and investigating subjects led me to the world of video. I started to work on my first video during my second year at university. It was music video. Now I look at it and think it is SO bad but at the time, I thought it was great. But I did find something I loved.
AFKInsider: Why did you love music videos?
Belomy Xavier:The second year I started to work in video. My first video was a music video but it was so bad but I believe if we want to get better we have to start from the bottom. After that, I developed my skills so fast. I see a big difference between my first video and my second video. If I do one video now, five minutes later I will do another and it will be better. I like to challenge myself.
Graphic design is a static thing but I think videos has more communicative powers. And the way you can combine graphic design with a moving image fascinated me. I like to see things moving. I like to play with images.
AFKInsider: What was your first professional video?
Belomy Xavier: This happened two years ago when I first created my company, Prisma Videos. I had not made it an official company yet, I just had the name and logo. But any way, the first person I did a video for was one of Cabo Verde’s best artists. It was not a music video, but coverage of a birthday event for the artist. And word got out from there about Prisma. Cabo Verde is a small country, so word spreads really fast. I did my best on the job and I believe that everyone just needs one opportunity. I believe we need one opportunity for things to go right. Everyone needs one opportunity for to success.
AFKInsider: When did you make Prisma legal?
Belomy Xavier: February 2012 I decide to legalize my company because things starting to increase and we started to work with more artists, big companies, and the government, such as the Ministry of the Environment.
AFKInsider: How did you get money for the startup and buy equipment?
Belomy Xavier: This is a long story because the money was very difficult. I started doing small things and the money I got from those projects I would save and save. I brought my first camera it was like $45000 escudo (about $500 US). Getting equipped here is almost impossible, you have to import it.
AFKInsider: Because you are so young is it difficult to be taken seriously?
Belomy Xavier: That is one of my biggest challenges. Until they [potential clients] know me and my work, they don’t respect me or see me like a real professional. Most for the time I have an older person talk for me. I don’t like this at all because people are judging me for my age. I think my work should speak for itself.
AFKInsider: You have some strong completion from other more established companies in Praia?
Belomy Xavier: (smiles) There is a lot of competition that exists, but I try and make my competition my friends. I did my internship at one of the biggest video production companies here and today we still do work together. They see that I work hard and that my work has developed to be almost the same quality. And I don’t believe in having conflict with my competition.