As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kire Godal.
Kire Godal is based in Kenya for 23 years and has made dozens of Award-winning directors/Cinematographers/filmmakers and conservation documentary films that create social awareness and positive change. Kire also creates TV series on contemporary urban life in Africa. Exploring undocumented landscapes, cultures, and human-wildlife conflict is her passion. Her work is seen on National Geographic, BBC, Discovery, The Africa Channel, Museum Installations worldwide, and more.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I grew up reading National Geographic Magazines on rainy summer days. I wanted to be in those incredible worlds – and I wanted to be behind the camera telling the stories. I’ve always loved African animals and wilderness… when I studied journalism and film at UCLA, I did it to be able to tell the stories I longed to tell well – and knew I would find my way to Africa.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There are so many, but on the documentary film I’m working on now “Tolstoy the Tomato Thief” – I’ve had the rare privilege of proximity to one of Africa’s iconic Super Tusker elephants called Tolstoy within a few feet on some days. I’ve learned his many character quirks and charming traits. Being in eye contact with such a wild natural living wonder, with ivory that sweeps the ground, now belongs as the best experience of my work life.
What do you specialize in and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
I am a documentary filmmaker that specializes in Human-Wildlife Conflict. I love people as much as I love animals. There are always two sides to a story of conflict; and revealing both sides with empathy leads to fresh awareness, compassion, understanding – and hopefully solutions. I am chosen for my ability to gain rare access, ability, and experience in my field. Also, my sensitivity, aesthetics, and professionalism.
What are the three things that mostly helped your online business succeed?
Living in remote places most of the year, my laptop and online business connects me to the entire world. I can work with people all over the world online at night in my tent. What has helped me succeed most online is staying current with digital technology so that I can use the latest tools available to help me solve problems, this has given me an edge. Keeping a presence online as a filmmaker working in the bush, allows me to share with the world in a matter of seconds. Sharing what I do inspires me to do more. I plan on growing with BlockChain Technology, and the possibilities really excite me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to live in gratitude – I would pay someone to allow me to do what I do, and instead, I am paid! I give back as much as possible – helping children with education in remote places is critically important to me; and I have put many kids through school, built schools, as well as shared by including young people from remote places to work alongside me in the field. I love watching them fall in love with the wildlife they were terrified of – and seeing them grow into true conservationists.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mother has helped me the most. She stood beside me when things were toughest and encouraged me to follow my passions. I call her almost every other day, and we spend hours on the phone. When I was first invited to go to Africa on a safari with a girlfriend – my initial reaction was “I can’t leave my young children and work here in LA at a moment’s notice, and I started to say “No”. But my mother overheard the phone call and said “You are going. Don’t worry I will take care of your kids. You must go Kire this is your dream.” So, I went. That was in 1995. I’ve never looked back. I have lived in Kenya for over 2 decades.
What were your most important challenges? How did you overcome those challenges?
Working in the bush can be harsh with long hot dusty days. I drive my own 4×4 safari vehicle and shoot my own footage on RED Digital Cinema cameras, which are not light to carry. It takes a lot of physical and mental endurance to follow stories and keep one step ahead, day after day while remaining flexible to change and quickly under pressure during sudden explosive happenings. You must have a certain will and presence of mind to stay – calm, focused, patient, and determined. I learned to become disciplined – my passion drove me.
What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?
Follow what you love. Wealth and success are not always translated by dollar amounts. To me wealth is experiences – success is capturing something I feel reveals rare truth and beauty to the world. But money is great too! Value it and invest in the future.
What do you think is the key to a truly successful online business?
Stay up to date with digital technology, apps, and opportunities! Learn about BlockChain – get involved now.
What’s your business model? How does your online business make money?
I use social media and websites to promote my films and attract serious attention. I am often found by a person online who I never will meet in person but end up having a long and lucrative working business relationship with them online. I also have invested a lot in crypto, and plan to use the blockchain for business, education, and entertainment products that relate to my conservation films and PR.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
My goal is to be making a feature documentary every 2 years for the rest of my life – making films that viewers love and crave. I want to stay current online and use the latest technology, tools, and information to inform, entertain and inspire people to love nature, people, and wildlife.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
Follow your passions, but don’t give up your day job until you get your business moving. Work extra hard and pour yourself into it. There are no gains without some pain! Once you have applied yourself – you may see results…. If you don’t see results – change your model. Rethink. Start over. Living is not about being comfortable. Success is about growth, facing challenges, feeling inspired, and learning what works best in your area of business.
What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting or running your business?
Working very long hours. I had to give up my social life to get to where I am. I was happy to do that, and my close friends understood and still do. I just forgot about parties and BBQs on the weekends. I stopped caring about what I may be missing! I dedicated myself to my work and children. Today I am grateful and proud of my life.
The future of the digital world might be ruled by blockchain and cryptocurrency. Do you think it would be challenging for all age groups to gain knowledge about the same? How can we educate them?
Blockchain is the greatest thing that has come along since the World Wide Web. Everyone should learn as much as they can now. It is our future. It is a tool. I stay current, and love being involved with Crypto. My eldest son introduced me and keeps me current, I thank him every day – amen!
What do you think could be the future of NFT? How useful can they be for everyone?
NFTs are a new platform of exchange, that even kids can understand. You do not need to speak the same language to understand them either! Visual, global, and available without discrimination. How amazing is that!
Do you think NFTs, which are open to virtual reality, could adversely impact our health due to increased screen time?
I think it is up to the responsible companies to educate as they entertain. Human health requires balance. It was the same with TV before. We need to always remind people that while NFTs and virtual reality can be great fun and used as great tools – that getting out for a walk with your dog or friends is always just as important. Build a balanced and grounded life.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I wish I had been told “Do not listen to them”, more often. I listened too much to other people’s negative thinking and it stressed me out. I wish I had been told to be less afraid of debt. Take small financial changes often! I’ve always sprung back faster than I thought I would and gained so much from the financial risks I took. I wish I had understood that success does not always equal happiness. Happiness is the relationships you create with yourself, your work, your family, and your friends. I wish I had been told more to not take things personally! Business is not personal. I’ve learned now how to be less emotional around business and very direct with my clients.
What would you tell yourself ten to twenty years ago that you wish you knew then?
Kire, you can do it! Don’t second guess yourself.
Lastly, what do you think this world needs the most?
Awareness and self-control. We need to slow down and remember we are just part of this giant web called life… we cannot live without the natural world – we exist within it. We must learn respect and stop being such careless and thoughtless takers!