Television

Ben Muvaka – The Voice Behind Susan’s Diary and Martin’s Chronicles.

Winnie told me that she wanted something raw and edgy, something that hadn’t been seen on Kenyan television.

Ben Muvaka is the voice behind Susan’s Diary and Martin’s Chronicles. He helps us understand where both characters are coming from and what makes them tick. Ben explains to Vumi News why this is an unmissable series.

Kindly introduce yourself.

My name is Ben Muvaka. I serve as the writer for Susan’s Diary and Martin’s Chronicles.


Winnie told me that she wanted something raw and edgy, something that hadn’t been seen on Kenyan television.


So, how did you come into this project?

Winnie Adisa, the director, called me up and we had been working for a couple of years. She approached me with an idea that initially was meant to be spoken word where there’s a lady and a camera talking about her struggles with relationships. Then, we cut away to the action of what she’s saying but it came and grew into something else.

She told me that she wanted something raw and edgy, something that hadn’t been seen on Kenyan television. So, we exchanged some ideas and then I came up with… an idea. If a lady is speaking to us maybe the guys would want to have their own point of view.

So, we came up with the idea, that, there should be a point of view for the ladies, and a point of view for the guys.

So you were working closely with her in terms of writing and making sure that you accommodate both sides.

Yeah, making sure that we accommodate both sides so that if one theme covers this on the ladies side. Then, it will automatically be covered on the guy’s side. So, we show how both sides approached such struggles in the relationship.

How hard was it, in terms of accommodating each other?… How easy was it working with the director in terms of the development process?

It was quite easy but sometimes we had disagreements on the direction of some stories but after thinking about it. We would come to a common ground.

How long did it take you guys to write it?

I think it took, a couple of weeks… two or three. We had to get some ideas with the director, the producer, and discuss what happens in relationships. What struggle do the guys experience during the relationship? So we get that material then we incorporate it into different episodes.

What would you say is your writing style?

My process is normally I get an idea and I write a synopsis for what I’m going cover in this episode. That would serve as a guide about plot points, the beats that I would cover in a certain episode. How would it begin? How will the stakes rise? What will be the conclusion of the episode?


“The shortest things are the hardest things to write because you don’t know what you should leave out.”


I know that some of the episodes are short…What were the challenges, in terms, of making sure that you cover everything in such a short time?

The shortest things are the hardest things to write because you don’t know what you should leave out…what you should put in and because I was the sole writer. I had to plan, how I’m going to, the time I’ll take to write an episode and finish it and start with another one.

Now, for Susan’s Diary, you have to think about, what would a lady do in this situation. If I can’t come up with something, I’d discuss with the ladies that I know including the director, the producer and get an idea of how to approach it.

Do you think the director did justice to what you wrote?

I think the director did justice to the project cause we had been collaborating. So, I think that we shared some of the things that we knew would work. I think she was also passionate about the project. So, from the beginning, we knew each side because her being a lady, me being a guy. We’d have to have one common goal so that we do both sides justice. So, I think, she did well.

In terms of the themes, that, you were covering…Can you take us through episode and two, briefly?

Episode 1 for Susan’s Diary, Susan the protagonist is a lady that doesn’t take relationships seriously. She doesn’t think that she needs a man to complete her life but one day, she happens to go through Tinder and comes across somebody attractive. So, when, they meet, she thinks he’s her soulmate but at the end of the day, things don’t go well and they don’t last long.

Then, a couple of days later or weeks…she sees him with another girl and feels heartbroken.

For Martin’s Diary, it’s the same story but on the point of view of the protagonist Martin. Now, we see the justification of why he did what he did.

Later on, we see, Martin has his own girlfriend and Susan has come across another boyfriend. So, they each deal with struggles in both relationships.

So, the first episodes we’re introducing…Who Susan is? Who Martin is?

Do you feel that putting both genders against each off, the story would generate conversations?

I’m sure there are people, who, will hate Martin and they’ll look at it from Susan’s point of view. When they look at Martin’s chronicles, there are people, who will relate to him and feel sympathetic towards him instead of hating him. They’ll understand why he did what he did in Susan’s diary.


As long as it elicits a reaction from somebody then I know the actors did their job.


In terms of the lead roles, do you feel like the cast chosen, did justice to the role?

They did a perfect job because as we were watching with the others. They would see their reactions and they were like ‘Oh my God, how could we do something like this?’ The guys would be like ‘No, no, don’t do something like that.’

As long as it elicits a reaction from somebody then I know the actors did their job.

Anything else, you want to add.

I hope when it launches, people will love it and have conversations that will spread across the country and continent.

watch the show on vumicentral.com.

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