They had hustled their hearts and finally were in the exact position they had been praying for years but were still dead broke.
That’s a short intro of Abel Mutua and Phil Karanja’s journey in the film business after quitting The Real Househelps of Kawangware (TRHK) to start their own production company.
The two started Phil It Production, but their journey was nothing easy.
Mutua was coming from a wedding where he had exhausted his savings while Phil was dead broke. So they went to Cathrine Kamau for a loan to try and shoot a pilot for their first show “Sue and Jonny.”
“I used all my savings at the grand white wedding. To save the day, one Catherine Kamau aka, Kate Actress came and said she understands and sees our dream then asked how much we needed to shoot the pilot,” said Mutua on his Vlog “Stories Of My Life”.
“We estimated, calculated and came to ksh200,000. She contributed the large chunk of the money, 150k and Phillip and I hustled and got the remaining 50k and there we have it, a pilot.”
The two managed to shoot the pilot and pitch to several stations who never answered back.
Things were worsening and Mutua is just thankful they didn’t get depressed.
“Months and week passed I was hitting rock bottom, it reached a point I had to beg the landlord to allow us to stay in the house though we had three months’ rent arrears. By the time it was June of 2016 we were at rock bottom. My wife was like a single mother taking care of two children, while she gave our daughter money for break, she also used to sort me out,” he went.
Then at almost the end of 2016, Maisha Magic came calling. They paid them Ksh 5 million for hit series “Hullabaloo Estate” which they successfully produced only to find out they dug a deeper financial ditch for themselves when everything was done.
“We overpaid the crew, we never calculated the cost of production until when we’re on the last show, he said.
“We discovered we had a huge chunk of production to be done and the money had run out. We had not paid ourselves a single dime, the standards of production were very high and not what we were used to with local TV stations which was very expensive.
“By the time we were done with two productions we were at a loss of Sh5 million. We spent all the millions given by Mnet and we had to raise another Sh5 million. If we never sunk into depression that time, we never will.
“We had worked for a full year, we had not paid ourselves and we were worse than before. We called people we had never talked to since high school, one person wired Sh1 million and other people also contributed luckily we got a second contract with Mnet and we were able to pay the remaining Sh3 million.”
Watch the full episode below: