Laura Bashraheel, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2012-03-07 02:54

“Takki,” a YouTube drama series released on Feb. 21, is set around the stories of young Saudi men and women, highlighting their lives, mistakes and misjudgments and how they solve and deal with their problems. 
Mohammed Makki, a 23-year-old filmmaker and the mastermind behind “Takki,” said that the idea behind the drama series started a year ago. “I started writing the script last year basing the story on parts of my personal life,” said Makki.
The word “Takki” is slang for “sit down,” used commonly among youngsters. “I picked the name ‘Takki’ because my friends and I use this word a lot,” Makki explained.
The story revolves around Malik, who has aspirations of becoming a filmmaker in a country with no cinemas. The pilot episode presented the main characters and gave a general idea on the series plot. In one of the scenes, the two lead actor and actress end up in a car together despite them being complete strangers.
“Each character in the series has a premise and a story,” said Makki. The episodes are shot on a period of two days and it takes about two weeks to produce and edit to release the final product on YouTube.
Despite the challenges of filmmaking in Saudi Arabia, the youth has made use of YouTube as an outlet for their ideas, dreams and creativity. At the same time, Makki believes that YouTube will reach everyone as well as opening a place for comments and feedback.
The drama series’ first season will consist of 12 episodes. Each will be 10 minutes in length except for the first episode, which was 15 minutes. It’s not clear yet whether there will be a second season, but the production team is anticipating for more seasons.
On the other hand, Makki explains that entertaining isn’t the only purpose of producing such a series. “We want to bring our culture to life and narrow the gap between our different backgrounds in Saudi Arabia and, at the same time, show our Saudi society to the world. To show women wearing hijab, praying, Saudi youth problems and issues and narrow the gap between different mindsets as well as give an image about our culture in a jovial way,” he said.
Twenty-four-year-old co-writer for the episodes, Nidaa Al-Andanosi, said they want “Takki” to embody our reality in a simple way. “We will include minor problems that are not consumed by the media here in the next episodes such as women issues, friendship and the job market, for example. We want it to be simple and reachable,” she added.
Al-Andanosi also said that they want to highlight those issues in a creative way and not in a traditional way like television series with too much drama.
“Each character has goals, dreams and problems and those social factors we mentioned will also affect their decisions and their future in the next coming episodes,” explained Makki.
Speaking about casting, the production team explains how it was randomly picked through auditions. Despite the negative connotations associated with being an actor or an actress in Saudi Arabia, the team had no difficulties finding the series cast.
Khairiah Abulaban, a 20-year-old science student and the lead female character in “Takki,” said that her mother was worried in the beginning about her daughter being in a YouTube series. “She allowed me to take part since she knew I will be wearing my hijab and everything will be within the limits,” she added.
On the other hand, Hind Saigh, a 25-year-old social science student and the supporting actress, said that her family didn’t have a problem with her acting, especially after knowing that all the cast are not some jobless armatures but rather good students. “Moayad Al-Thagafi, the leading actor and Adel Radwan, a supporting actor are both medical students who find passion in acting. We want people to know that just because we are acting, it doesn’t mean we are jobless or dropouts,” said Saigh.
Anmar Fathaldin, co-founder of UTurn, which is an online entertainment channel that provides edgy and local content for Internet users, said that they would promote “Takki” through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. “We already have ‘3al6ayer’ and ‘EyshElly’ fans and we will use all our pages to post ‘Takki’ episodes, hoping to reach as many people as possible,” he said.

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