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
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 Assistant director anytime
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
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.
SPECIAL EFFECTS ARTISTS
Dorothy Kwofie scared the pants out of us by setting a man on fire recently
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!
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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