This is a bit of a claim to fame but I’m proud to say that I’ve been “following” Raz on Twitter before he became Internet famous. When his vines end up in my random whatsapp groups or appear on my Facebook feed and get so many views.,I feel a bit proud as I’ve had the pleasure to witness his growing internet influence. Although some might argue 30 is not really a #startupkid but Raz embodies everything in the #startupkid manifesto. I mean who would think that a guy with such hilarious vines is a grown up responsible doctor by day?! But not just any doctor, he is also a great muslim role model to many people out there and is doing great work through his creativity to battle negative stereotypes. Anyway enough from me. Have a read of his interview and tweet me your thoughts at @arf_22
What is your name? Faraz Ali
What is your day job? A full-time medical doctor, with a current interest in research
How did razvines and instagram start off? 2 years ago, Vine opened up a new avenue. Having seen the negative attitude and representation of Muslims in the media, I felt these short videos were the best way to show the world that Muslims have a heart, that we have humour. And each video is only 6 seconds! For a busy doctor with a real thirst for creativity, this was ideal. This was an opportunity for a Muslim to make the world laugh. So I took it!
How do you manage your day job with your hobby? It’s not easy by any means. There’s a lot of things to balance, including family. So yes, there are many months where I don’t make any films or videos, but you learn to make time for the things you love. It does involve a lot of sacrifice, many late nights, and complete dedication – but I feel it’s worth it. Having a loving family who understands, makes a huge difference too.
Tell me about your youtube films? What got you into film making? I discovered my passion for filming late on at university, where I developed several films for ‘Islam Awareness Week’ and ‘Freshers Week’. These set off a trend across Islamic Societies of using film-making as part of student activism. It became evident that the Muslim world really needs this form of art, and it needs encouragement. After graduation, I realised that unfortunately a full-time medical job doesn’t allow for much free-time, but now and again I’ve delved in to the world of filming. Thankfully, a few beautiful people in my life supported me through this passion, including SOBIS, an Islamic School through which I continue to make films. I then went on to create my own small production house, Shining Night Productions. My short-films are mostly targeted at the Muslim population, highlighting the issues we face as a community, with a creative twist. There’s a massive scope for development in this area – we need to re-introduce the great thinking minds of the Muslim community. Given the influence of celluloid on our generation, this is a fantastic place to start.
Do you ever see yourself doing any of this stuff full time? I would love to, from the bottom of my heart. I just can’t see any opportunities arising in the near future. One that pays well, anyway!
How do you come up with your ideas for your vines and films? I closely observe real life and real people. Our actions as a whole and the things that drive us, that inspire us, the things that divide us, the things that are problematic. Of course, Islamic history and theology has a basis in a lot of my short-films. Sometimes, simply turning our stereotypes and our problems in to humour, or fictional work, is a great initial step towards understanding our problems as a people. At other times, a short vine with no purpose other than to make people laugh, is all that is required. The latter is particularly true for my Vines!
What do you wish you had known before you started? The backlash, misunderstanding and criticism that comes with it all.
What has been your biggest highlight? Going on TV for my first major short-film, and later having my short-film broadcasted on TV!
What is your biggest challenge? Finding the time and money to create the million ideas I have penned down!
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years? I don’t have a target as such, but I’d love to keep making at least one major short-film a year, and continue to inspire and humour people through my Vines and short-films.
Who inspires you the most? Muhammad ﷺ , the Final Messenger of God – always!
What tools and resources would you recommend? Everyone has access to different tools and resources depending on finances and availability. People make feature films on nothing but an iPhone! So really, the answer here is infinite. What I suggest is, if you have a dream and a passion – just make it happen with what you have for now. The rest will come InshaAllah. My first ever edited video was a on a smartphone, and it was shockingly bad. But it was the first step to where I am today! To make a real impact, though, unfortunately there are costs. At the very minimum, you need a camera (DSLRs are great), a microphone (Rode, for example), and a tripod. In the modern world, there are a million online videos to help you edit and create professional end products. If you’re good at editing, simple software is adequate – but I’ve always been a Mac man myself! Always seek advice from others who have experience in making videos, and find others who share the same passion as you. Before you know it, you’ll be making short-films, with a dedicated team of artists, that are being shared around the world!
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the Muslim Community? Accepting new ideas that haven’t been explored before. There is an unfair prejudice and bias against The Arts and this has to change. I think the Muslim community also risks alienation from the youth – and narrowing this gap, especially with respects to understanding and practising the beautiful Religion of Islam, is the greatest of all challenges.
If you could leave one legacy to the world. What would it be and why? This is hard. Creativity and family are two big parts of my life. So perhaps my legacy combines these two things? I have big ambitions for my Vines and my videos. I want my videos to inspire people, and to make people laugh, even after I’m gone. That’s a large part of why I do the things I do. A bearded, Muslim guy, CAN make people laugh. Muslims DO have a sense of imagination and creativity. I hope we can see more films like ‘Dead Hearts’, a different take on zombies with Islamic theology as a basis! However, a lot of my videos, and tweets, are for my children and that’s the most important thing. I want them to grow up realising that their father, albeit flawed, tried to make the world a better place even if it was in a limited capacity. I want them to grow up knowing that Islam is associated with love, compassion and mercy and not what the media dictates to them. I hope that I, and others, can break new grounds with videos in the future, especially when it comes to Muslim entertainment, without pushing the limits and boundaries set by Islam. I know that I have an important role to play in the world of tomorrow, the world that my children will grow up in. In a way, though, despite all these aims and ambitions, there’s nothing better of a legacy that I can leave the world with, than my children. So in a way, the things I do off-screen, is actually what matters the most! And I definitely need to do better on that front.
What does a #startupkid mean to you? Someone who has a dream or an ambition, and is just beginning to realise it in the real world. It’s the start of a long journey, where everything’s new and exciting. We’re all #startupkids at some point!
What one piece of advice would you give to #startupkids? Never give up. Hurdles are inevitable, but people always under-estimate their ability to scale them. It’s part of the game, so don’t get disheartened!
Any thing else you would like to add? A lot more! But come back to me in 5 years 🙂
Going to leave you guys on three of his awesome vines. A bit difficult to choose my favourite but have a watch of his others at RazVines guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!