“So far, we’ve been experimenting with this Nollywood business. Trying different things to see what works. I want to say as a matter of fact that the experiment is over. Its time for us to take ourselves a lot more seriously, and 2017 is the year.
I made a list for 2016 and I’m glad some came to pass. This new one isn’t just a wish list for me, I intend to make some of it happen with your help. Lets do this!”
1. NOLLYWOOD IMDB
We aren’t a nation that archives information for information sake and that a bad thing. Very bad. There is almost zero information on the internet and in libraries on the films we make and the people behind them.I’ve seen a couple of people try but they are all lazy…or better put they aren’t smart in their approach. Don’t make a nollywood database by yourself.
That’s silly. Make it a collaborative project. Design the site as a wiki. Create incentives so people can fill up the site for you. Reach out to the filmmakers and get the information you need. Reach out to the audience and let them do the rest.
2. NOLLYWOOD RESEARCH AND MARKETING COMPANIES
Ok for now it can start as a general entertainment research company in Nigeria but nollywood as a special case won’t be bad. No filmmaker has been able to successfully answer that ROI question most investors ask.This is a shame because investors shouldn’t be talking to creatives about whether they will make money on their films. They should be talking to companies with data and market research on such. How can we call ourselves an industry when we don’t have that?.
Besides, if you start a company now dedicated to gathering data about sales, audience behavior, box office economics and all, you will eventually become a million dollar company. Your data will be worth gold. Lets stop using all our money to make films. The industry needs more arms.
3. A FILM SCHOOL IN LAGOS OR CLOSE BY
There’s no film school in Lagos. Yes I said it. I’m not talking about these small duplexes training actresses and having one computer for editors. I’m talking proper film schools with film sets, detailed curriculum, huge library, modern hardware and software.
I don’t need a prophet to tell me a film school is a great business idea. But its time we stop creating film “jelosimis” and start thinking structure. Also you don’t have to build from scratch. You can partner with an established institution and create the film school department inside. That way, we can agree on standards, definitions and store proper filmmaking history. Who wants to go to Jos to learn filmmaking. You better bring it to Lagos. PS by the way…who says you can’t start with an online film school and only do practicals outside… **winks**… think about it
4. EXPLORE NEW GENRE WITH HIGH BUDGET
I’m proud of the new crop of filmmakers damning the consequences and exploring new genre. That’s the spirit and shame on people who ridicule them for doing that. However, those exploring genres apart from our regular tested and trusted comedy/drama should also start taking themselves seriously.
Take some big bets with huge budget on new genre. Think smartly about the audience and your marketing. There’s still a great audience out there hungry for action/horror/edgy thrillers. Most of them are still doing shakara for nollywood but I know once we nail it, they will come. There must be a wide palette of choices. I mean…who wants to keep just one girlfriend/boyfriend…joo o.
5. MAKE EVEN BIGGER COMEDIES
Yesoo. I realize even in Hollywood that there’s always a period where a certain genre dominates the box office. This is important because you can leverage on that and get more people to the cinema and hope that eventually, they will see other things they like. Its foolishness to say “why are we only making comedies”. Like my mummy will say…that’s careless talk.
Comedies like “A trip to Jamaica”, “Its Her Day”, “Wedding Party” have in total brought more people to cinema this year than all the other films combined together. Talk to the figures. I want to see a huge comedy that pushes our box office to 500m…who knows with more cinemas to 1billion. Without these numbers, the investors we are looking for wont come, the audiences we are hoping to reach with other genre wont come. Tomorrow, it might not be comedy again but lets achieve a lot with it while its still king.
6. MORE ATMOSPHERE IN OUR FILMS:
All of us filmmakers should be flogged for this. It isn’t fully our fault since we have very little time to make films but that’s no excuse. Our films need more atmosphere. What do I mean by atmosphere. It’s basically creating the perception of date, time and seasons in our films either to be used as context or to enhance production design. We now have shallow depth of field but Atmosphere is largely the reason why most of our films in cinema still look like TV films. For me, the only film that explored atmosphere well this year is 76.
Kudos to Yinka Edward and Izu Ojukwu. Nigeria has two distinct seasons, we hardly see them in our films. Ask yourself, Is this film set in the rainy season or harmattan? Even our writers don’t write that into their scripts most times. You shouldn’t tell a story in the north and the atmosphere looks like Lagos. Even all our Lagos films hardly capture the things that make Lagos, Lagos. Watch your favorite Hollywood films. There’s the Chicago look, the Texas look, the New York look.They even think about it in color grading. I know it takes some time and money but while at TIFF this year, I saw movies with same story ideas like ours but atmosphere in production made a huge difference.
7. MAKE UP AND PROSTHETICS
Come… isn’t there any of you who have studied special effects make up abroad back home to show us how its done. Abi una no pass for the school. It’s a damn shame because we are still far behind on this.
I haven’t seen any special effect I am particularly proud of yet in our films. This is why we will be stuck with slapstick comedies for the most part. Some of the things needed to pull off some really cool ideas require good effects make up. I made this part of my wish list last year but it still hasn’t happened.We still haven’t figured out aging, old wound/scars; things that are crucial to character development. Please, if you are in diaspora trained in this kind of things, please come home. You will make plenty money. The whole industry has like one of two people they call when they need a broken head. Haba…wazzdat.
8. TIME TO BUILD THAT FILM LOT WITH SOUND STAGES
So we don’t have to start with film village. That’s too much frapapa. Most of the filming happens in Lagos sef so no land. Last year, I advised a producer friend of mine who makes a lot of drama and TV series to rent a very big duplex close to my office and constantly tweak for her films. I’m glad she took the advice.
She’s saved a lot of money and has had better control of things like lighting and props. This is a small start but we can scale it up. You don’t need a duplex. Most of our films for now are 70% indoor drama yet we still have sound problems. It is time to start thinking about building large warehouses fully soundproofed where we can design to fit production needs. You don’t need to be a filmmaker to invest in this. Don’t use all that your Ibeju Lekki land to build house for yeye tenants. You will make plenty money with film people. Thank me later.
9. MONETIZING DOCUMENTARIES AND SHORTS
We need more documentaries and short form filmmaking but I know people aren’t making them because…soup wey sweet…na money kill am. If I had to value what was spent on making the short film ROOM315, it would be about 2.5m. That’s a lot of dough to achieve that quality.
Also, nothing says we can’t have a documentary in cinemas and get people to pay for it…it seems like a crazy idea but it might work. I don’t have any solutions here but its something worth thinking about. We need more documentaries and short films and people should be able to make money from them. Any ideas…anyone?
10. MORE FREE KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGES:
Emphasis is on the word free. Especially from my ogas and veterans in the industry. I know we are all busy and times are hard but lets create time to mentor young people in this industry.
My blog is open to anyone who wants to share free info, advice or training. Lets also have more meet-ups in cool places where the new can meet the old and exchange ideas. The only times we meet are in premieres or whatsapp groups. Those aren’t effective. I implore all the egbons. This year, create time out of your busy schedules to exchange. People don’t need to learn the same things by experience. It makes no sense.
I’m excited and ready for 2017. Are you?