How to Film in Nigeria and still be human by Niyi Akinmolayan

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FIVE ALTERNATIVES TO ACTING FOR WOMEN IN NOLLYWOOD

Mildred Okwo won wards for her film "The Meeting"and hasn't stopped since then

Mildred Okwo won awards for her film “The Meeting” and hasn’t stopped since then

Actresses in nollywood are broke. Yes I said it!. They don’t have money. All na packaging. Ok…so not all actresses are broke but let’s put this in perspective. I don’t think we have more than 10 actresses that have crossed the 1million naira mark in terms of fee. Even then, you would only see them in one or two big movies a year for that fee. They would have to charge lower to feature in more. After these big A-listers, we have the new rising ones. Also very few. Prices within 400-600k. They will only make this in a few films a year and to survive, they will have to crash their prices. Then there are the rest who just take what they get. Most producers are only willing to pay big money to big faces,even if they have a few scenes. It’s a business after all. It’s sad but that’s where we are right now. It will get better insha allahu.
I had to make this post because I don’t think a day passes without some girl telling me they want to act in my film. 90% of the time, I discover they can’t act to save their own lives. Also a lot of them don’t have faces and features suitable for the screen…but if you tell them now…dem go vex. This poses a serious problem.
1. They fall into the hands of fraudsters
2. They fall into the trap of misogynists and sex starved producers and directors
3. The hit a wall of frustration so bad they resort into devious means for survival.

On the other hand, I see a golden opportunity that has not been tapped by our women folk. It takes an army to make a film and who says they all have to be men. Critical to a woman’s make-up is her tenacity and ability to pay attention to detail. Film is largely dependent on understanding subtle nuances and I don’t see any gender do that better than women. I want to share five jobs I know will get you as a woman, constant jobs, money and respect in the industry..and no, cosmetic make-up isn’t one of them. The last two will be a dream come true if more women do it. Here goes:

 

Victoria Akujobi, Nollywood's best editor and my favorite

Victoria Akujobi, Nollywood’s best editor and my favorite

EDITORS
All my four films have been edited by a woman, the AMVCA award winning editor Victoria Akujobi. When I first met her, she wanted to be a make up artist, she trained for it. I noticed later that she had a critical eye for how scenes in movies were put together and she was always yabbing music videos for not telling stories well. So I invited her to come around for a class I was doing on editing for some students. I had been teaching this class for a week. Vicky attended just one lecture and decided to do the class assignment. She came out best of all and she was the only girl. That’s how her career started. Vicky has edited over 50 films and a lot of documentaries for my studio. A simple edit can take two weeks and she can earn from 250k -500k depending on the scale of the movie. Just for editing. Now you do the math cos she’s always busy.
Editing is like great sex. It requires patience and attention to detail. No one does that better than women. So why are you killing yourself trying to be an actress. Understanding the software is a breeze. Good editors are artists. So you can learn the software in a short time and you let your art show. I have two female editors in my studio right now and I can’t trade them for the world. Other good female editors I love their work include Lowladee (A place called Happy) and Shirley Frimpong Manso (Contract)

If 20 women readers from this blog interested in editing will gather themselves, I’ll give you a free editing weekend course. Just have my jollof rice ready. You can also go to computer village and buy training DVDs on Adobe premiere pro (windows and Mac) or Final Cut Pro (Mac). Any of your laptops can edit. Buzz me if you need help. Get started and stop browsing gossip sites with your laptops.

Bunmi Ajakaiye, my go to AD

Bunmi Ajakaiye, my go to Assistant director anytime

ASSISTANT DIRECTORS
All my four cinema films have had female assistant directors. In fact, I don’t think I can work with a male assistant director. Bunmi Ajakaiye has worked with me on three recent films back to back. She has also just finished working on the High budget highly anticipated film, Wedding Party coming out this year. When Bunmi came to me, she wanted to be an editor but she too sabi book. She was also great at coordinating stuff and organizing. This is a critical skill that assistant directors have. They interface with the cast and crew, prepare call sheets etc. An assistant director is like the wife of a director on set so it comes naturally to women. They can get paid between 200-500k depending on the budget. They also get to understudy the director and see how the whole process works. Bunmi has gone on to successfully direct her own Feature film, “It’s about your Husband” for Closer pictures just after a year working with me. She also edited the film. She’s set to produce her own feature soon. Now that’s a smart girl.
Find a production you can learn under. Offer to do it for free. Learn how scheduling and call sheets work. I’ll do a tutorial on it soon. Most men will respect a woman who wants to work behind the scene than one who wants to be a famous actress. There’s a general misconception among stupid men that actresses are dumb and will sleep with anyone to get the job. They are everywhere and it’s the reality you will face. I’m serious o

DIRECTORS
Have you noticed that most of the female nollywood directors have had a longer lasting career than their male counterparts. My only problem is I haven’t seen them much in film, especially cinema. Cinema needs you, ladies. Most of the female directors are on TV shows and involved in short films, from Tope Oshin, Lowladee, Ema Edosio to mention a few. However, the women who have done cinema e.g. Mildred Okwo won plenty awards after her directorial debut, The Meeting (I hope I’m correct). Omoni Oboli entered the directing space and she has been making hits back to back and of course everyone knows Blessing Egbe, Lekki Wives writer, director and producer. Since they all started, they haven’t stopped.
What does this tell you? There’s nothing in directing a movie a woman can’t do. Directing is largely people management and artistic co-ordination. More importantly, directing is about focus. Focus on story, character and of course, nuances. You will learn a lot of directing on this blog so stick around ladies. Also, find a mentor in these women but it doesn’t have to be women alone. Be ready to work for free. Directing is a medieval type profession. You will need some apprenticeship. Be ready to take shit too. It’s good for your health!.Do you want to know how much directors earn….hehehe read my post on budgets and do the math.

Dorothy Kwofie scared the pants out of us by setting a man on fire recently

Dorothy Kwofie scared the pants out of us by setting a man on fire recently

SPECIAL EFFECTS ARTISTS
You women are missing a golden opportunity here. Nollywood needs great special effects artists. Stop painting faces and tying gele every time! I know a lot of good scripts including mine that might not see the light of day soon because they require effects as basic as ageing, silicone prosthetic, body augmentation, active piercing and stabbing…even Tatoo. In fact a good effects make-up artist can do any shakara with price because very few people are there and they are in high demand. Special effects require a lot of patience and attention to detail and who better to do that than women?…Dorothy Kwofie just shocked us all by setting actor Ani Ihoyo on fire. It went viral. Now everyone knows who to go for fire stunts. In-fact the special effects part of our business is seriously lacking male or female. Producers pay a lot of good money just to get it right.
You can visit https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/ to start a special effects course online. They are very cheap. We built an entire muppet studio here at anthill studios based on courses from the website. It’s easy to buy kits to get started online now. Use your friends and parents to practice. I don’t know about other jobs o but if you learn special effects, you will always be busy. Think about it joo…every time mascara and eyeshadow…mscheew!

ANIMATORS
A lot of nigerian male animators are lazy and quit easily. Animation is not for quitters, its for tenacious people. There is also a big market for children content that is untapped. A content explosion is coming soon and its good to position yourself well for it. As an animator in Nigeria, you will have few completion and women make some of the best animators in your favorite Hollywood films. Kungfu Panda 2 and 3 were directed by an amazing woman who is also an animator. If you learn animation, you will also be able to create your own content and sell. Imagine our own Dora the explora. imagine our own satire like Family Guy or Southpark. Because it’s not established yet in Nigeria, there are no fixed charges for animation. Why don’t you women start the revolution. You don’t need to know how to draw to be a great computer animator. Anthill would hire a good female animator anytime. We are creating amazing children content and I know I need a female animators touch. We even need female muppeteers. Are you the one?
There are lots of good courses online. The best for starters is Digital Tutors. You can also buy training DVDs at computer village. 3D studio max or maya is great for beginners to create 3D animation. while you can learn toonboom or Adobe After effects for 2D animation. Use all that your free time and the laptop your sugar daddy bought you to learn animation. You will create what no one else is creating. It’s a gold mine!

So I hope I’ve been able to stir you women up into doing other things apart from acting…and cooking, and praying for one hour (na joke o). You can see how beautiful all these women are. they could have been actresses and broke!. Go for it and if you need further advice, please hit the comments section!

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Comments

  • Posted: August 3, 2016 20:54

    Tessy

    Good I really appreciate u so well ma,pls can I join ur training class?Thank you so much for these talk..
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 20:58

    Amaka

    Finally! I have been waiting for the post since morning. Thank you sir. I'm interested in the editing course.
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 21:14

    Mark

    Give this man a chance in editing lessons biko. Could you recommend some dvds in editing?
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 21:21

    Abdulmajeed

    Guys should be included in this weekend editing training course too please, I will do the jollof rice cooking sir.
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 21:23

    Stanley Boroh

    You are always on point and I respect u so much. Not met u but am a great fan of yours. Weldone sir. Women can alsoo be cinematographers cs there are few women in the industry
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 21:53

    Susan Majek

    Great article! It really shows your heart. This is the second time you are talking about this and I really appreciate it. I am doing some of all you have shared above because right now that's the only way I can get things done, but I would have appreciated knowing someone like you years ago singing this song in my ear. I would have been so far ahead of where I am now. But we all live and learn so I'm still grateful!
    • Posted: August 3, 2016 22:11

      admin

      You are on point joo
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 22:01

    a b y

    Nice one sir. So thoughtful and educative.
  • Posted: August 3, 2016 22:57

    Doris

    So inspiring!. Weldone sir. Pls I'm interested in the editing course.
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 01:00

    chidimma

    Comment Nice one sir finally someone agrees with me on females having better jobs in the film industry than acting. would have loved to attend your training course ,but I stay in Enugu.
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 01:26

    Arike

    signing up for the editing course ? Pick me! Pick me! Super excited ?
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 04:03

    Elijah

    Very insightful. Very very insightful.
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 06:01

    Priye Diri

    I once read In all these Oyinbo films that to be a filmmaker you must know a little bit of what every job entails... I'm here, ready whenever you are ready to teach us.... drops mic
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 07:28

    ceecee

    Nice one boss
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 08:14

    khadijah

    Comment yes am interested but am serving in taraba presently.
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 08:19

    Barnabas Emordi

    Very Insightful as always sir. I am a huge fan of Lowladee's work( she's super talented). I would also love to be a part of your editing class oo (even though i'm a young man). For ladies that are also interested in learning non- linear editing, Adobe has books(pdf files) for Premier Pro, After effects, Photoshop and they are called Adobe classroom in book. The books are also insightful and they are for beginners to experts( i'm sure there are tips they can also learn from). I believe the Editing class, the books and so many tutoriala will go a long way in making you a good editor. Thank You as always sir. Take care
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 11:10

    Danny Nwauzorma

    Hahaha, i'm sharing this right away
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 12:00

    Nnaji Gloria Chinaza

    Comment This is so encouraging. am so interested in becoming a movie director
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 12:09

    Nnaji Gloria Chinaza

    This is so encouraging, am so interested in becoming a movie director
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 13:37

    Ifu

    This article has been very helpful. I'll like to take a class in editing. Please how can I attend your classes...?
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 13:44

    ella

    Dis is a very nice piece u v shared wit us. Pls I will be interested in directing. Pls am waiting 4 ur reply. Thanks
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 14:21

    Wande

    Amaka's kin
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 15:00

    blessing

    Wow I think I will go for the assistant director.... nice one
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 16:53

    Francisca

    Interesting! I believe I was born to act though. I love being able to give life to a character. It's what I was made for though lately I having been trying my hands on other things. I took a course in scriptwriting and now am a pro at it. Just downloaded a video editing app,trying my hands on that. But one thing I really want to do, is learn directing professionally. I have a good eye for details and storytelling. I would ask one more time just like I did on Instagram. Please bros Niyi whenever you need a protégé, I am here. I have solemnly dedicated my life to film making, so help me God.
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 16:59

    Queen Olekanma

    Thank you so much for this sir.Ladies,can we mobilize for this editing class pls?
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 21:40

    Pearl

    Ahh Uncle Niyi, just like that, you're teaching me how to do what I'd love and make money from it? Why won't God bless you? I'm taking up one or two of these courses ASAP. Expect my progress report soon accompanied with sweet jollof rice.
  • Posted: August 4, 2016 22:57

    Shantel

    whoa! whoa! whoa! this is real, almost too real. I couldn't skim or scan through,I had to read... I am definitely interested in animations... Thanks so much sir. It is insightful and timely. I was inspired
  • Posted: August 5, 2016 23:45

    Noah T.

    People like you are too few in this world. Thank you for this.
  • Posted: August 6, 2016 10:39

    Tee

    Interested in Editing and Directing...... Oga niyi please epp me
  • Posted: August 6, 2016 11:02

    Tammy Tamuno

    Am interested in the course but am based in pH, hope its not going to be restricted by location?
  • Posted: August 7, 2016 16:19

    Helen Emore

    I am interested in the editing course please. Thank you and well done for the very informative articles
  • Posted: August 10, 2016 21:19

    Victoria Viator

    I'm very interested in the editing classes. We just need to know where and when.
  • Posted: August 11, 2016 19:05

    Cecilia Ocheme

    Goodevening Mr Akin, please I am very very interested in the editing course . Thank you for sharing so much information with us.
  • Posted: August 11, 2016 23:01

    Bernie Wills

    Thanks for this, I'm ready for the editing class after which I'll learn the AD's job. But I live in uyo. How do I get carried along? I really want to learn editing. Thanks
  • Posted: August 14, 2016 07:10

    Chinyere Elizabeth Okoroafor

    Comment Without editing, there is no movie. I want to be part of editing. Let's make actions great.
  • Posted: August 14, 2016 07:18

    Chinyere Elizabeth Okoroafor

    Without editing, there's no movie, just like without a screen play there's no movie. I want to be part of editing, let's make actions great. I wish I got the drama comedy short film competition info in time. I am a screenplay writer. I wish to work with you sir.
  • Posted: August 15, 2016 13:32

    Ekundayo

    This is really helpful....finally there's a place to input my artistic ideas...Sir, i will like to be a part of this editing class and i hope i can get a feedback from you via email. Thanks........Anticipating
  • Posted: August 18, 2016 21:19

    Susan

    Thank you very Much for this post. Very much needed. I'm interested in the Editing Class.
  • Posted: August 18, 2016 22:08

    Mena Sodje

    I'm extremely interested in the editing classes uncle Niyi.
  • Posted: August 19, 2016 20:04

    Peace Pop Peace

    I'm interested in the editing class sir. This was really helpful.
  • Posted: August 23, 2016 23:22

    Tongryang

    My goodness, I don't think you are real sir. Ha! Giving out all this ideas, information for free? Ha. God bless you sir and bless the day I found you on Instagram. I am interested in the editing class. I have little experience working as continuity for two TV projects for Dimbo Atiya in Abuja, I only wish you were in Abuja or I, in Lagos. Not withstanding sir, if you know any film maker like you in Abuja ready to teach and mentor, I am available to learn either editing, assistant directing or directing. Help a young lady out sir. God bless you
  • Posted: September 16, 2016 08:57

    Oyin Pirisola

    This blog is a blessing Sir. The editing class will be a huge privilege. I always thought all I could do was act. May God increase you for this inspiration.
  • Posted: December 20, 2016 11:46

    Bianca Madu

    this is the best site ever i have ever visited....so much interested for the editing class please....i'm so serious about this.