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Our Aim is to Do Things Different From What Everyone In Nigeria is Used To - Shehu Zock Sock

Today on MadeIn KrockCity Kaduna-based entrepreneurs' interview segment, we shall be rubbing minds with an intelligent, innovative and creative entrepreneur who has gone far and wide as far as entertainment is concerned. He his the CEO of Nerd Factory Entertainment, a Theater Artiste and someone bringing stage play and Drama to life in Kaduna State Mr. Shehu Zock Sock.

MIKC: Can we Meet you Sir?

Shehu Zock: I am Shehu Zock Sock, a Theatre Artist. I got a degree in Theatre and performing Arts from ABU Zaria in 2009. I am the C.E.O of Nerd Factory Entertainment, a company that uses the performing arts in its entirety Theatre, Music, Dance, etc to create plays and performances to address social and political issues in the society. Part of what we do involves concept creation and development, writing scripts, short stories, conflict resolution and content development and advertorials.

MIKC: How was Growing up like for you, the whole Childhood and up till now that you're also a Father?

Shehu Zock: Well, I was born July 19th, 1986. The fourth and last child of my parents, Major Musa and Saratu Didi Zock-Sock. I lost my dad at the age of 1+ so I really don't know much of my father except what I hear people who knew him say, but I hear I could pass for his twin...[Laughs].

I was born and raised in Lagos till 1998 when due to a tragic loss of my elder brother, my parents left Lagos and relocated to Jos.

From birth I had always had an inclination to the arts especially music...
Which was my career path for the long half of my life. Fatherhood has been amazing... I look at my boy and sometimes can't believe I am a father... It's been amazing and challenging at the same time... I'm grateful to God

MIKC: Having Lived in Lagos, then relocating to Jos and now based in Kaduna.. How has life Journey been?

Shehu Zock: [Laughs]... it's been quite a transition.... funny enough. Almost all my life, I've wanted to come to Kaduna... as a child in Lagos, I remember the highlight of my holidays being when my mum would fly us down to Kaduna and I remember telling myself, I want to live in and marry a Kaduna wife just like my dad... I guess in a way, I wanted to be just like my dad. Staying in lagos... life was on the fast lane... everything came with its lessons... the good and the bad.... I've trekked across the third mainland bridge twice... from Victoria Island to Yaba after I lost my TP back home.

My KD journey started when I got admitted into Abu Zaria... I finally got a chance to be in my state for a bit longer than the holidays.... [Laughs out loud].

I loved every second of it... that's where I even found my Kaduna wife... the one I prayed for in primary school.

MIKC: Recently Something Remarkable happened in Kaduna and you're the Brain Behind It, Tell us About "Her Majesty's Visit".

Shehu Zock: Well... they say there are opportunities laying all around us.. and every gap/need unmet is an opportunity waiting to be explored...

Ever since I graduated from ABU, I and a couple of friends from my class in school saw the opportunity in Kaduna and over the years tried to start up something. I must say it's been one heck of a journey. From disappointments to disappointments... searching for funds, rehearsals space, support from corporate bodies and all... it's very heartbreaking and discouraging especially for young folks like us.

I headed the team that produced "Her Majesty's Visit", but it was very much my teams effort... and I'm grateful to them..

MIKC: Why Nerd Factory?

Shehu Zock: Well as you know, I am a (my glasses). The nerd glasses  has been in trend for a couple of years now and every now and then everyone wears a nerdy glass to look serious and it's now fashionable, but the name... is a statement of what the company itself represents...

Nerd is the word used to tease and identify really smart, but socially awkward people who usually are described by the huge frames... so the Nerd is for smart people and the factory is a place of production... so smart people from different field with different specialities coming together to produce art... hence Nerd Factory.

MIKC: Aside Stage Plays and Theatre, what else does Nerd Factory do and what Inspires your play?

Shehu Zock: Well... Nerd Factory isn't just a theatre/stage play company... over time, you're gonna see the different sides to the company through music concerts, stand up comedy shows and a whole lot more... the idea is to build the brand to the point which, anything you hear Nerd Factory is attached to, you would be amazing. Our aim is to do things totally different from what everyone in Nigeria is used to... our slogan as a company is "Be different, Think Different".

Our plays are just as our slogan... diferent... people naturally think of theatre as almost always a place for comedians and comedy... well we're gonna change that... acting is not just being funny in church and making people laugh... it's about becoming someone or something totally different and that's what influences our productions as well as the issues at the time...

MIKC: What are the chances of breaking more ground internationally with the brand?

Shehu Zock: That is exactly the plan... for now we thinking local, but planning global... we going all out... music, tv series, movies and maybe even a school of arts... let's keep our fingers crossed

But our plays would not only be staged in Kaduna... we're working on touring. Lagos, Abuja, Jos, PH, etc.... gradually.

MIKC: What major problems did you encounter during start-up?

Shehu Zock: Sourcing actors committed to the stress of rehearsals, parents releasing their wards for rehearsals. Rehearsals space, good halls to stage our productions, funding/sponsors to support with the cost because it's quite expensive.. these are still the problems we're experiencing... until...

MIKC: To what do you attribute your success?

Shehu Zock: God above all... resilience and determination... and utmost trust in ourselves our creativity and our standards... a lot of people said Kaduna wouldn't buy into it because of its conservative nature, but I believed that... if put up a show worth coming out for... people will show up and they did

MIKC: What should the People expect next from Nerd factory?

Shehu Zock: Well... the next show is already in the pipes... it's called "Tick Tock" and it's coming up July on 21st and 22nd at Space 2000... it's definitely gonna be better than "Her Majesty's Visit". That I can promise... we're still rehearsing and perfecting... it's gonna be great and definitely mind boggling... leave you with a lot to think about.

MIKC: What's that one thing you feel everyone should look out for during the next play?

Shehu Zock: A couple of things to look out for actually... beautiful dance choreography and acting... a great deal of laughter and a little something extra to keep us in conversation long after the show.

MIKC: What book do you think everyone on the team should read?

Shehu Zock: "Secrets of The Streets"... [Bursts into laugh]

MIKC: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Shehu Zock: Firstly, know why you do what you are doing. Secondly, ask; am I truly gifted at what I'm doing?
Thirdly, what extra do I bring to the table?....

After truthfully answering these questions... if the answers are yes, then... no amount of disappointment should stop you... it's all a matter of time... every experience is in preparation for the journey ahead... friends would leave and new ones would come... but don't allow yourself be over reliant on any one person...

MIKC: On a final Note, Your message to everyone out there.

Shehu Zock: My mother would say to me... everyone is a mentor to someone... whether you are a superstar or a nobody, someone somewhere is looking up to you as a mentor... so for that person's sake, live right and yourself a positive example. "in life you either win or you learn".

MIKC: Thank you so much for your time.

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