Updated: Jun 6
Producing, shooting, and editing videos are all complicated tasks that some people spend years studying. But if they have the passion, skill, and determination, they’re capable of creating masterpieces that leave audiences in awe. Yet some go beyond the job description to realise their production work abilities and listen to the pieces that relate to them the most.
Video editor Sakhe Jele believes in the potential that people in his profession have. Exposure to videos can spark inspiration from editors like Sakhe, and since they already have a vision in their heads, they can execute it on their chosen platform.
Sakhe Jele is a South African born in the small town of Willowvale, which fell under an independent pseudo-state during the Apartheid. Sakhe taught himself how to play the piano in the church to keep him occupied after his father’s passing in 1996. It eventually led him to be the video editor, director, and screenwriter he is today.
“I later moved to Johannesburg in pursuit of a music career, but I ended up developing an interest in video editing. At first, my dream was to see my name on the credit roll on TV,” he said.
He received his sound engineering diploma in 2004. He began his professional editing career as a trainee at a production house called Astral Studios, which did corporate videos and TV commercials. A year later, he focused more on TV jobs joining Red Pepper Productions, a vibrant creative content agency and production house serving broadcasters, advertisers, and corporations in Africa and the world.
One factor that helped him further his career as a video editor is his ability to speak and understand five other languages, including English.
Sakhe developed an interest in adding his life experiences as a storyteller to the pieces he worked on. Now, he no longer waits for people to give him pieces to edit. Instead, he participates in producing, writing, and shooting meaningful stories.
“In 2014, I focused on bridging the gap between Hollywood and the African entertainment industry. Together with my long-term collaborator, Mz, we produced and shot a pilot episode of a reality show that focuses on the lives of South African creatives based in Los Angeles. I edited the pilot episode myself,” Sakhe shared.
However, the production was put on hold when Sakhe returned to school full time. He has completed his AA in cinema production from Los Angeles City College and BA in Screenwriting from California State University, Northridge. Presently, the project, titled Oorkant LA, is back in pre-production with the prospect of distributing its first season within two years.
“My exposure to multicultural life in South Africa and all my travels also help me understand the importance of nuance in my career in the entertainment industry,” he shared.
Sakhe is proof that video editors, and other individuals, for that matter, have the potential to venture into new avenues that showcase their talents. He’s also using his background to bridge gaps between two different entertainment industries to raise awareness and carry the banner for underrepresented sectors.