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ROOM 315; PIES, SWEAT AND JOLLOF RICE – Joshua Olanrewaju

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“Room 315 is a Nollywood Wonder. All these people working so hard and no one is making a kobo.”

“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.

Heartbreak.

Disappointment.

Self-esteem issues.

Anger.

Pride.

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.

Abosi Ogba's Room 315 won

Abosi Ogba’s Room 315 won

that's me in the middle with glasses feeling funky after seeing "The Arbitration"

that’s me in the middle with glasses feeling funky after seeing “The Arbitration”

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…

“Action.”

“Cut.”

“Scene One… Take 24.”

“Still rolling.”

“Shut up please.”

“PM, Niyi needs another plate of Jollof.”

 

There's so much to learn on Niyi's film blog

There’s so much to learn on Niyi’s film blog

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.

@lordjoshwrites

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Comments

  • Posted: October 24, 2016 19:46

    Charles Obi Emere

    Straight up! I wasn't there with you guys Josh, but I could feel the vibe. Dare I say that a lot of bold and daring filmmakers would spring up in the nearest future - because of niyiakinmolayan.com (myself inclusive). They would figure out it's as simple as -- SHUT THE "you know what" UP and do it! Too much planning and thinking gives cancer. Lol. Anyway, I'm using this medium to thank you again Sir Niyi. For the opportunity you gave us in being part of this struggle. I hope to pick up one or two things along the way as we soar higher. Peace.
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 19:58

    Abosi Ogba

    MaiGad! Tight piece, Josh. I'm laughing right now. Tbh I was also looking at the N100k, but I discovered things money could not buy were involved. Meeting fellow writers, shuttling Port Harcourt to Lagos, sleeping at a place I never knew existed one week before, meeting people who are landmarks to my life itinerary... I also raise my plate of jollof to Niyi Akinmolayan. I can't say it enough. Thank you again, Josh. Brilliant piece.
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 20:29

    Lola

    I agree Abosi, about discovering things money can't buy. Well done Josh! I liked this piece too.?
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 20:30

    Lola

    Well done Josh! Interesting piece!
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 20:46

    Eddy

    I give you guys a standing Ovation
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 20:49

    Ibraheem Oloye

    Nice one Josh....good summary
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 20:55

    Amaka

    Just like jollof rice and cold coke is good for the body, so is this write up good for reading. I really enjoyed it. And yes Abosi is right. Meeting you all and learning is one heck of a priceless gift. All thanks to Niyi and his world famous blog.
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 20:58

    Eddy

    lol PM Niyi said he needs another plate of jollof rice
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 21:36

    kelvin ukhurebor

    Charles was right, a new generation of filmmakers will spring up in nollywood all thanks to Niyi. In a competitive field such as ours, it's hard to find people who are willing to share knowledge for free. He has done well. In September I participated in the Homevida screenwriting contest..you see I've been writing for six years now and I've never participated in any competition or attended any workshop until last month. Everything I know about the art, I learnt from reading books and screenplays and after practising for so long, I was convinced I had mastered it....i know better now. I didn't win in the category I submitted for...apparently my script was too ambitious... but I was selected to participate for a two day workshop at Pan Atlantic University.. I almost didn't attend, i didn't see the point of travelling to learn stuff I already knew but i changed my mind at the very last minute...boy am I glad I did. The feeling of being in a room full of people of like minds...exchanging ideas....strategising and networking....its just priceless! To those of you that attended the shoot, hope you made the best of this really rare and extraordinary opportunity...they don't come by often.
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 21:52

    Queen Olekanma

    Great piece Josh,though I feel like that jollof rice should have gotten an entire paragraph of its own. I'm sure Ibrahim and amaka will agree lol.
  • Posted: October 24, 2016 22:11

    Barnabas Emordi

    Oh Josh, Brilliant piece but you forgot to mention that the jollof rice was garnished with enough plantain and different kinds of meat.. lol Seriously, Mr Niyi you are a blessing to young filmmakers. I have said that before and I will continue saying it. You have definitely started a Movement and your blog has become the pioneer Online Filmmaking blog in Nigeria. We are all proud to be part of History and it was definitely an Honour to Volunteer! Oh boy people were working tirelessly and you could see the joy written all over their face. People were learning ! People were happy !! Even till 1 am when Mr Niyi said it was a wrap, you could see people still trying to dig it on the dance floor after such a long day. Where that energy came from ehn.. mehn I have no idea..lol I personally learn a lot, More than what money would buy or my words would express. I'm a Proud Student of this blog. Thank You Mr Niyi for giving us an opportunity to learn and also be a part of History. God bless!
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 00:52

    Danny Nwauzorma

    Chai! I miss sha.. ***crying profusely***
    • Posted: October 25, 2016 07:00

      Uyi

      Cry more bro, you missed even more.
    • Posted: October 25, 2016 16:13

      Danny Nwauzorma

      hehehe.... Uyi, ees not fair... ***crying like a wolf***
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 05:04

    Miriam Peters

    I was there and I testify that selflessness is beautiful. Except that I didn't meet my "Tammy" ? Oga Niyi do another one, maybe just maybe.
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 05:41

    Dipe funmilola

    Nice one bro.
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 06:20

    Ogunnowo khadijah

    insightful piece and kudos to you Joshua .In these part of the world where nothing goes for nothing.This is a great attribute of a leader.More ororo to your elbow Boss.Thank you.
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 06:57

    Uyi

    "PM, Niyi needs another plate of Jollof" "PM, NIYI needs face towel not handkerchief" Lol... See, this is a wonderful read just like the experience on the film set, in fact the entire process has been like a filmtrick. Like this is almost unbelievable, in Nigeria? How? It still feels surreal. But I thank God for OGA Niyi and everyone I met over there... See how I now know new wonderful people, my facebook Real friends Have increased efficiently.
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 07:38

    Nkay

    Nice one Josh, and let me sef join the train. It needs to be said over and over again, thank you Uncle Niyi. What you're doing on niyiakinmolayan.com and what you're doing with #Room315 is something I'm not sure we can ever finish thanking you for. Da alu!
  • Posted: October 25, 2016 10:14

    Belema Onikio

    Nice piece brother.... Just from this.. I've learnt a lot... Although I'm not much of a writer but someday I know I'll surely star in Baba Niyi's film... That I'm sure of.... Nice piece once again
  • Posted: October 26, 2016 15:42

    Tammy Tamuno

    This really humbled me. I'm happy Lordjosh had a great experience and all that description? Was that for me?. Thanks again to Niyi for giving a friend an educational and wonderful experience. I wanted to audition for the role but I knew I wouldn't make it cause of exams so I had to let it go. Sorry y'all Tammy wasn't there in person but sure Lordjosh had me at heart so Yes I was there.
  • Posted: November 8, 2016 02:21

    Awolowo Racheal

    Yes,learning more.
  • Posted: December 2, 2016 00:10

    Mujaheed

    The more I read, the more I get anxious to belong to this circle. If not for anything else, I wanna learn! I only hope Uncle Niyi will not break my heart and shatter my hopes o?