WORK WITH US
If you haven’t got time, skip to the last line!
It all started up in Manchester with £400 left of student loan money and too much time on our hands. We (Hayel Wartemberg and Ndubuisi Uchea) were in our final year of University dovetailing between wild nights out & the kebab shop whilst attempting to secure the sacred and much sought after 2:1 degree.
The only thing that appeared to be a mainstay of our time on campus was our ability to debate. We could start a discussion in a room full of nobody. After stumbling home from a grime and dubstep night at the Warehouse Project, we would enjoy disputing the array of issues that affected the world and those particularly young people (I told you we had too much time on our hands).
But what we noticed was that the discussions we were having were a far cry from the lazy depiction of people of our age in contemporary media. We were young, politically engaged, motivated and aspirational.
With graduation only months away - we struck up a conversation about what we would be doing for a living once our time at university ended. With pressure setting in, we knocked out application after application for graduate scheme job completely unrelated to our relative courses - and somewhere in the middle of our aimless ambling, we decided to buy a DSLR camera and film the discussions we were having - as well as taking it around campus. Neither of us had a background in production - but we did have YouTube tutorials.
So off we went to the Arndale Centre with all the remaining student loan we had, and went to Curry's for the best (and cheapest) camera that would allow us to capture the voices, thoughts and feelings of students in and around Manchester. We left with a Nikon D3100 and no idea on how to operate it.
Alongside dissertation cramming and revising, we learnt the basics of shooting and editing, and took our camera around with us everywhere, ready to press record on any interesting discussions we could strike up with our peers. With all this footage we thought, why don’t we start a Youtube channel, so we did, and after hours of coming up with cringe-worthy names (I think Students Speak Up was one of them) we settled on Word on the Curb (shout out Rose)!
Our first upload to the channel occurred in September 2013 once we had both graduated. We were back in London, away from a campus environment but with a camera and a desire to continue exploring the stories that make up youth culture in the UK. So we decided to build a platform which does just that, initially through the vehicle of spoken word. We reached out to hundreds and thousands of spoken word poets up and down the UK, often getting no response, but also receiving a lot of support for what we were trying to do and the channel quickly became the go-to platform for youth voices and opinion.
In 2014, we had our first viral moment with the release of a short film during Black History Month called What I Wasn’t Taught In School with the amazing Sam King. The video addressed the poor teaching of black history in schools.. The video amassed over 1 million views in the first 14 days across different platforms, after being ripped by someone in America and uploaded onto their Facebook page (it didn’t help that we forgot to put our logo on the video)! It truly went worldwide and to this day we still receive messages of thanks and love from Suriname to South Africa.
We like to say that we create video content that forces people to interact in weird and imaginative ways, exploring their stories, culture and identity. With an audience which is 90% under the age of 34, we work with brands and businesses to give them a place at the heart of youth culture through insight (truly understanding their desired audience) and as important, creating sick video content.
That’s us - we should have probably made a video about all of that given that we’re video first - but we thought we’d surprise you with our writing skills.
That’s when we started to get noticed for the work we produce, at that time we definitely knew where the focus and zoom on the camera was. We were awarded a Points of Light Award from David Cameron in 2015 (way before he instigated all the Brexit madness) and Channel 4 approached us to help them on their news programme to create video content which engages a youth audience around the Scottish Referendum. At that point, whilst both working full-time elsewhere, we realised major brands and businesses continued to struggle to engage with and create content for a youth demographic. We knew that was where we stepped in - and thats still where we stand.
Fast forward to 2019 and here we are, finally with a website and doing the same thing, but now both full time and with an amazing team who so happen to be our friends (love to Shiva, Jack, Nana and Kirsty).
If you’re interested in working with us or hearing more, fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly :)