- The Man Behind The Process
- How did Your Career Start?
- What Were The Early Days of JOOJ Like?
- What Inspired The Style and Production of JOOJ?
- JOOJ’s Content Creation Process From Start to Finish
- Are Some Subjects Too Controversial to Share in Morocco?
- The #1 Tip for Making Good Content
- About The Current State of Art in Morocco
- Amazing Artists Curated By Yacine That Deserve a Shoutout
- What is a Dream Project Do You Want to Work On?
- What is Your Biggest Lesson Learned?
- What are Your Latest Obsessions?
What was the last short-video reel you watched? Can you remember what it was about? Did you enjoy it?
Chances are probably no. Although we consume Tiktok-like media on a daily (if you don’t have Tiktok then here’s your maturity diploma) very rarely do we get value out of it.
Sure, saving that one Excel spreadsheet hack might be beneficial now and that one graphic design secret tip will surely come in handy in the near future. But in all honesty, do you ever check back on your saved collection?
Saving short content to view later ends up creating a bunch of folders that create the illusion of being productive, that we ultimately know won’t consume after.
It’s kind of like taking a photo of the note board in school thinking that you will check it afterward.
Anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that meaningful educational content is rare, and taking the time to revisit said content is even rarer.
This is why Moroccan media agency, JOOJ and its valuable content that explores relevant cultural topics in an entertaining and educational way had me returning to view it on monthly basis.
So, I set out to interview the figure behind the content creation of JOOJ, in hopes that I can understand the formula of creating entertaining yet educational content and gain a deeper appreciation for Moroccan arts.
On the way, learn the in-depth process of curating ideas and producing content for one of the largest media entities in Morocco.
The Man Behind The Process
Meet Yacine, a Moroccan in his 30s with a deep passion for creation, art, and culture. As a matter of a fact, his love for media has led him to become the Editorial manager at JOOJ, a media production agency that’s focused on sharing stories with Moroccan youth.
Talking about youth, Yacine grew up in a family of artists, where everyone around him shared a passion for art. Naturally, this trait also rubbed off on him, leading Yacine to a future full of culture and production.
His exposure to content creation started at Al Akhawayn university, where he produced media under Al Akhwayn’s name; Like hosting his university’s radio show, creating content for university clubs, and writing for his uni newspaper.
What’s The Meaning Behind The9o9o?
I was given this name by a friend back in university. Suddenly, everyone called me The9o9o so it stuck around.
How did Your Career Start?
In 2011, Yacine founded a cultural blog (much like this one!) called “Artisthick Maroc”, which wrote about Moroccan art reviews, trends, and critiques. Yacine’s time as a member there allowed him to establish a rich network of notable people in media and journalism.
From popular artists to the key figures that organize big events, Yacine’s name and talents were known to multiple key figures.
After working in communication and production for a while, Yacine landed a bigger position with stable pay as a brand manager for Kia Motors. While it was great at first, he soon started to feel unsatisfied, lost, and unconfident.
So like any rational person searching for their identity would do, he went on a trip around Asia (most notably Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam) for months on end.
After the trip, Yacine returned better than ever, and luckily for him, he received 3 offers from different agencies. Now reborn as a new person, he took part in Welovebuzz but shortly left after due to personal reasons.
Afterward, Yacine moved on to work for the famous national station, 2M. It was then that he was inspired to start JOOJ and dedicated himself to establishing it.
What Were The Early Days of JOOJ Like?
Everyone knows that starting a media is hard and keeping its doors open is even harder. This is why I was surprised when Yacine told me that while money and equipment were an issue, JOOJ had an even bigger struggle.
We struggled with being creative and remaining creative at all times… At JOOJ, We produced over 40 videos before even launching, which was enough content to last us for 2 months.
On top of that, the JOOJ team also suffered from confidence issues, having to remind themselves that they can freely exist and that they will be great and different.
What Inspired The Style and Production of JOOJ?
As an editorial manager, Yacine crosses a fine line between recognizability and freshness. They try to form a style that defines JOOJ’s identity but at the same time, he does not enjoy repeating concepts.
At JOOJ’s editorial team, I make sure that everyone is different from each other. So that each idea and perspective can be challenged thus new interesting topics are formed. Also, if we don’t adapt our style and strategy to modern content, we can easily disappear.
JOOJ’s Content Creation Process From Start to Finish
Yacine was kind to explain the entire process of turning an idea into a post, and even shared with me a look at their internal system.
It all starts with pitches. Every team member can pitch their idea which gets reviewed in the frequent kick-off meeting.
If the idea is approved, the pitching team member will be responsible for expanding that idea (with Yacine’s guidance) and producing it.
When the raw sample is done, it is once again reviewed for feedback and adjusted accordingly. Now, the pitching team member will once again master their post to make it ready for posting.
What surprised me is that Yacine gives his team members the responsibility of editing their videos and images even if they lacked the skill to do so. When I asked him about this counter-productive process, he replied:
For me, I believe the person who pitched the idea should edit their footage. Even if it isn’t up to JOOJ’s standards, I want to keep their original idea fully present in their work so that it doesn’t get lost in translation if handed to a professional.
After the pitching team member submits their work, Yacine then reviews their work then hands it off to professionals. These editors and designers will polish the post.
With such an organized and unique system in place, JOOJ’s team is always included in every process so that nothing surpasses them. Similarly, their non-restrictive philosophy allows more room for wild and creative ideas.
We don’t send emails in JOOJ, our Trello management system allows us to stay on top of everything.
Are Some Subjects Too Controversial to Share in Morocco?
As a professional media production company, JOOJ has a reputation to uphold. That implies that sometimes, the best ideas will have to be canceled or rejected for various reasons.
However, this is a rare case as Yacine clarified that there are three main reasons for rejecting an idea, either it’s controversial, isn’t appealing, or it will make the guests appear in a negative light and harm their public image.
As an editor, I need to know my boundaries and what is deemed appropriate. I have to constantly shift my perspective and think as JOOJ, not as Yacine.
For example, If I don’t like an artist, it’s unfair to not feature them.
This is why having a diverse team creates different opinions!
The #1 Tip for Making Good Content
Yacine’s biggest advice on making good content is to bluntly be a thief. He believes that by analyzing your favorite creator or successful content, you can figure out the reasoning behind each element in content.
To practice being a thief, stalk your favorite artist that inspires you. Follow who they follow to create a similar social circle, and understand their background. This way, your inspiration becomes identical to theirs since you are being inspired by that artist’s surroundings.
I recommend reading “steal like an artist” by Austin Klean. It is a short read full of insight and tips. I use it as a point of reference and read it every year just to remind myself.
About The Current State of Art in Morocco
Like many other guests interviewed on Lessons and Obsessions when asked about their profession’s state in Morocco, Yacine says that while it is doing great so far, it could be much better as we have yet to grasp Moroccans’ full creative potential.
Nowadays, I see a lot of the younger generation becoming creators. With the number of possibilities available to them and the social media space they have to share their work, these ambitious talents can bloom into something wonderful.
Part of why artists aren’t supported is due to government neglect in nurturing the local creative industry. For example, Yacine states that when COVID policies were around, cafes were heavily pushed to open before the cinemas or museums.
Until we make culture a priority, it won’t progress. We are only looking at art as entertainment, it can be better.
In reality, Yacine’s interesting remark is true. We often look at creatives in terms of how they can benefit us in entertainment or education.
On a first-hand basis, I feel pressured to write blog pieces that benefit an audience just to remain relevant. Take my article “Moroccan Side Hustles You Can Start Right Now” for example, that piece alone brings me daily traffic to my website.
On the opposite side, if I was to fully dive into my interests; say “What’s the Deal with Plastic Food Wrap? Why is It So Purple?” No one would read into it.
You can also notice this phenomenon with the rise of street interviews/silly news channels *cough* ChouftTV *cough*. It is evident that the public wants entertainment from artists and creators.
My favorite example of a country investing in art & culture was Italy. Where the prime minister invested millions of euros in art and culture. Essentially, every 18-year-old had 500 euros to spend on cultures and arts, this include books, museum tickets, materials, etc.
Amazing Artists Curated By Yacine That Deserve a Shoutout
What is a Dream Project Do You Want to Work On?
I would like to write a script for a mini-series and direct it. In general, anything that involves working on fiction, exploring art, and adding value to Moroccan culture.
What is Your Biggest Lesson Learned?
.I see a lot of people wanting to rush success. You should take things slowly, do your craft genuinely, find your purpose, and you will reach success in time. Everything will come on its way.
What are Your Latest Obsessions?
My latest obsession is to become my younger version and reconnect with him. So I am obsessed with searching for my old memories, videos, and experiences so that I can relive my older self to be able to become better who I am.
Oh and mom’s lasagna.