“Room 315 is a Nollywood Wonder. All these people working so hard and no one is making a kobo.”
– LordJosh. Lagos, Nigeria. Oct. 2016.
She was a dark-skinned beauty, an exquisite example of African magnificence. She wasn’t one of those girls I was used to meeting, she was a Facebook miracle. Her name was Tammy. She was a little piece of heaven served in a seamless combination of physical and intellectual perfection. Damn, she looked great. There was only one problem, would she like me back?
Before we get too deep and you start wondering where Room 315 comes in, this post is not really about Tammy. Sorry.
I’m just practicing a tactic Screenwriting wiz Kenny Joseph taught us.
“Start with sex, grab their attention.” he said.
But my parents may read this, so let’s stick to describing a beautiful girl.
I should say though that Tammy is real, that pretty and is totally relevant to this story. In fact this story probably wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t sent me a screenshot of Niyi Akinmolayan’s request for a script. Thanks Tammy.
When I got the screenshot, the first thing that came to my mind was how educational this opportunity would be and how I could express my passion for writing.
Hehe, that’s a lie.
The only thing I saw was the 100K up for grabs. I didn’t know Niyi even though I had seen ‘Falling’ (where I fell in love with Adesua Etomi. Uncle Niyi plix epp a brother do the introduction na). But the 100k made me interested in the person offering it. I searched and the more I looked, the more I liked what I saw.
Like over one hundred other people, I wrote a script and sent it. I thought Niyi and his judges would read my script and immediately sign me to a 10 year contract with Anthill studios. Then I will buy a Benz, marry Zahra Buhari and move to Monaco. But results came back and I didn’t even make top 3.
Who were the guys who got in this top 3?
I read the 3 scripts then I reread my script. I ordered multiple servings of humble-pie and calmed down. I had a lot to learn. And the great thing was, that was exactly what Niyi Akinmolayan was offering.
By the way, Abosi Ogba’s ROOM 315 was a deserving winner.
Fortunately, I made the top 20 and I came to the screenwriting class which Kenny Joseph volunteered to take. I learnt a lot more than Google had taught me and I met other cool writers. I immediately knew some of the things I was doing wrong with my screenwriting and better still I knew how to do them right.
One month, several blog posts and data-drinking Facebook livestreams later, I had learnt a whole lot and it was time to shoot ROOM 315.
Being on the set was something else. Please, before you open your mouth and shoot down people’s art, take some time to appreciate the work they’ve put into it. Shooting a film, even a short one is not a pot of Jollof rice. It was a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears.
The place was filled with shouts of…
“Scene One… Take 24.”
“Shut up please.”
“PM, Niyi needs another plate of Jollof.”
A set is a crazy place to be at but it is also fun. I salute the dedication of everyone who worked on that set. They didn’t work for money but for the sake of educating knowledge-seeking people like me. If more people did this in every sector of Nigeria, we wouldn’t have so many proud people trying to do things they have no clue about.
ROOM 315 will still be edited and so this process is not over. So until the film is premiered and we all come with our finest faces (and our Tammys), we will be keeping our noses glued to www.niyiakinmolayan.com and learning our butts off.
So, someday when I’m awarded an AMVCA and an OSCAR (better believe it), I will be raising my glass to Niyi Akinmolayan and every other person who made ROOM 315 happen. And of course, there will be free Jollof Rice for everyone.
Thank you Uncle Niyi.