Meet the Boss: Carolyn Carew, CEO, Born Free Media

‘Meet the Boss’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series where we pose the same ten questions to business leaders across the continent.

Carolyn Carew, CEO and executive producer at Born Free Media.

Carolyn Carew, CEO and executive producer at Born Free Media.

Carolyn Carew, CEO, Born Free Media (South Africa)

1. What was your first job?

I was a social worker based in Elsies River, Cape Flats, South Africa, before I entered the world of film-making at the end of 1987.

2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?

The first person was Trevor Hill, he is a commercial editor and director and taught me about the discipline of production, post- production and creative execution of amazing storyboards. The second was Haile Gerima, an Ethiopian film maker who taught me about the importance of one’s experience and identity in the narrative we tell.

3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night? 

Deliverables, making sure the client is happy, and wondering if what I asked for has been done.

4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?

Dedication, hard work, working with clients and making sure they are happy with what they want and asked for.

5. What are the best things about South Africa?

The people, the diversity, the amazing country, landscape, the sea, and the achievement of freedom after 300 years of colonialism and suppression.

6. And the worst?

Corruption, lack of service delivery, inefficiency, and social inequalities between the rich and the poor.

7. Your future career plans?

To produce two feature films – A Letter to Mandela and The Number.

8. How do you relax?

I run, do yoga, mountain bike, watch movies, read, and chill with friends.

9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?

Believe in what you want to achieve, work hard, do lots of research, find the gaps, and then take the plunge.

10. How can Africa realise its full potential?

By getting our audience to love and watch our content, to pay for it, to get investors to see our cultural industries as a worthy investment and so that over time they will make big returns.

Carolyn Carew, founder and CEO of South African film and television production company Born Free Media (BFM), is an award winning executive producer and entrepreneur with over 25 years experience in the industry.