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



I think that Niyi just wants actors to dislike me more than they already do, that’s why he asked me to write this post. Well, here I am ready to be crucified.

I won’t speak for others but for myself so here are a few reasons I won’t be hiring you, again.


Before filmmaking, I spent a great deal of time in the corporate world. You don’t stroll into the office late because you couldn’t find the other leg of your shoe or because you ran out of foundation. My previous jobs made lateness impossible. As a cabin crew, would I dare keep a plane waiting? As an executive assistant, should my boss arrive before me? Or at the call centre where your log on time was your log on time. I remember once we were late, it had rained heavily and the traffic in VI was crazy but that’s not my supervisor’s business, so we came down from the staff bus, rolled up our trousers and waded through the floods of VI just so we could log on on time.

This is what I know, what I’ve always known so when actors stroll on to my set hours after the call time, Uduak does not understand it.

People argue that with celebrities, one has to expect these things; that they behave worse in Hollywood. Well we’re not in Hollywood are we? We’re in a country with a high unemployment rate, a country where the minimum wage is 18k and where many people can barely afford to eat so if you have a job, you better give it your best shot.

Interestingly, the A listers are a lot more disciplined. We filmed OkonLagos on the mainland, only Monalisa Chinda was coming from the island but she was almost always the first to arrive on set. I don’t remember Uche Jombo ever being late or uploading selfies when she didn’t have her lines.

If you spend half the time on your phone, time you should have spent studying your script, we won’t be hiring you again

Filmmaking requires discipline. lots of it

Filmmaking requires discipline. lots of it


We do the best we can to provide everything for actors but under the budgets we work with, it’s almost impossible to provide everything. On my last set, the director, Chris Eneagi didn’t like the lamps provided by the property manager, he brought his. He also threw in a few of his equipment for free. Another director, Ikechukwu Onyeka always had a loaded trunk. If he needed something the production didn’t make an arrangement for, he’d whip it out of his trunk. That man is the most stress free director ever. And No, this doesn’t happen only in Nigeria. I attended a directing course at Raindance, UK, a couple of years ago. The teacher mentioned that he always had some equipment with him and even some random costumes should the need ever arise, because in the UK, most of the jobs are in TV and time is key. He didn’t want to risk losing a job because he didn’t meet the deadline. My costumier was surprised when Chioma Akpotha arrived our set with a suitcase of clothes. We didn’t need it but we appreciated it. If you make bringing even boxers a big deal, we won’t be hiring you again.

You’re always going to run into problems while filming in Nigeria no matter how prepared you think you are. Even if there’s nothing you can do about the situation or you don’t give two hoots, at least pretend. On one of my sets, we had paid crazy money for a location. We had a scene left and an actor said he had to leave. A crew member asked if he should secretly deflate his tyres, lol.

Filmmaking requires every hand on deck...including the actor's

Filmmaking requires every hand on deck…including the actor’s


Actors who don’t grow will definitely make little or no progress. You can’t be taken seriously if its the same kind of delivery every time. The industry is evolving and so must we all. If you have a speech issue, please find a way to deal with it (a lot of actors actually have speech issues). If your vocabulary is limited, improve on it. Otherwise when someone else comes into the scene, and they will, I’ll be switching to the person.

And lastly, if I call you for a job and you ask me ‘is it a cinema movie’? You won’t be getting a call back!


Uduak Oguamanam, One of Nollywood's top producers

Uduak Oguamanam, One of Nollywood’s top producers

Uduak Oguamanam is star maker. She has been pivotal to the careers of nollywood stars like Imeh bishop Umoh and Adesua Etomi. As a writer and producer, she is responsible for some of nollywood’s big hits including The Okon films, the award winning “Falling” and this year’s big comedy, “Lost in London”. Her new film “Put a Ring on it” is now showing on IrokoTV.

check One of Uduak's film out on IrokoTV

check One of Uduak’s film out on Iroko

Categories:   Uncategorized


  • Posted: September 3, 2017 16:38


    Waoh... Awesome piece
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 16:49


    Quite succinct !
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 16:56


    Waoo! I love this... Very blunt!
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 17:26

    Nnamdi Kanaga

    Very insightful especially in the area of discipline. That's one of the benefits of theatre training too. The last part tho, "cinema movie" lmaooooo! Thank you ma'am for these great words and thanks Oga Niyi....
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 18:06

    Barnabas Emordi

    Apt. Thanks Ma'am. This also applies to each and every member of the production crew and definitely not limited to actors alone. We should all be disciplined, our team spirit should be sky high and we should develop our craft consistently. Dear Production crew members, we have a lot to learn From this piece. Thank you Mr Niyi. Thank you Aunty Uduak
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 18:56

    Ijeoma Oriahi

    Learning everyday. Need I add just be stress free, production itself is already stressful as it is.
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 19:45

    Enimus West

    Awesome, This Aint Just A Piece Of Word, I'm Taking As An Advice... Tanks Aunty UDUAK For Ur Great Influencial Write Up... Kudos To Oga NIYI AKINMOLAYAN
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 20:09

    Deyemi Olowa

    This is a brilliant piece. Every practitioner should read especially aspiring actors.
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 20:25

    Esther Ekeoma

    Aunty Uduak, thank you very much... Have been following ur advices and although I want to be a movie star in my nearest future... I fink I need the lessons... Uncle Niyi, thanks alot
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 21:29


    Aptly said. In one of my productions last year ,an A-listed actor who was playing crucial role walk out of set saying he was told by the director that he was only going to spend 4 days on set. For a feature film o,after he left,at night this guy still drives from wherever he was to Ajah to pick girls who were working on set too. Another actress,also joined him and left,saying she had sore thoat and almost cost us the production. I had to rework my story as a writer/producer. I am also waiting for them. That is the last time ,I will ever hear their names when I am planing any production...thanks Uduak for sharing.
    • Posted: September 4, 2017 08:15


      That's not totally fair on that actor. If truly he was promised to be working for 4 days only, someone else has a bigger responsibility in this incident. Like I said before, Honesty goes a long way in our dealings. #myopinion
    • Posted: January 4, 2018 23:52

      Kayode O

      This might sound ignorant but don't actors sign a contract before appearing on set? I work with actors in the UK and we have a binding contract before work starts, if the breach that contract our production company can withhold payment.
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 22:20

    Waliu fagbemi

    Nice post... wish it was longer though.
  • Posted: September 3, 2017 23:26

    Tunde Raphael

  • Posted: September 4, 2017 07:20


    😅😅😅I had to stop here first "uploading selfies when you don't have your lines" lol. God is regrettably true. One think I don't understand though, no pictures of the set should be share online when promotion on the film hasn't started. Some shouldn't even been out until after the film is out. The pic of a set on social media should be one chosen by production. A professional picture. That will sell the upcoming film in the way production decides. I think producer should thing on putting such in contracts. #myopinion
  • Posted: September 4, 2017 07:48


    Ok part 2: In my opinion, i don't totally agree with that. Yes an actor can help with a tie, a pair of shoes, a dress, etc... In a once in a blue moon kind of basic on a set. Unfortunately, in our industry, when you generously give your hand, they tend to take your whole body with it. Which is why some actors go to the extreme and refuse to help completely (that's unfortunate, yes. but everyone can understand) The thing is when you are negotiating they will tell u all sort of good things for u to accept the little amount of money. E.g your costumes will be all taken care of. And then u get on set and the first day u r already being ask to help with a pair shoes. The next day they ask for a dress. Etc... See in cases like this, Honesty is the best. Tell your actors from day one what you might need of them. Let them say yes or no right there so you will know how to move forward from there. Suggestions: in Cameroon we have what u call "indemnité de costume" they will tell the actors to bring a certain amount of costumes and in exchange she will be paid an amount in compensation for her costumes. I think This will work and it will be cheaper than if a costumer made it or hired it. #myopinion
    • Posted: September 7, 2017 10:23

      Bechem Bisong BB

      Kocabelle u just got fired. I know her well. She wldnt be calling you again
    • Posted: September 15, 2017 03:32


      And neither will I! Be speaking English there!
  • Posted: September 4, 2017 08:08


    Part 3: 😅😅😅 "if you ask me is a cinema movie I won't be..." That's funny. But very instructive. Thank you with this part I know what not to do or to do to get more jobs. Thank you for this piece. Thank you for the insight.
  • Posted: September 4, 2017 15:42


    Great read. I agree and disagree, but I'm not actor Sha. I don't think there is anything wrong in asking if it's a cinema movie? Maybe I'm an actor and I've been doing DVD or streaming films, and I want to do a cinema movie, push my career u know? nothing wrong in asking.
  • Posted: September 5, 2017 02:10


    Yes I agree to the three things but this is not all. They are a lot of them. Thanks anyway
  • Posted: September 5, 2017 07:30


    Very insightful ma...God bless
  • Posted: September 5, 2017 15:16


    great piece.
  • Posted: September 6, 2017 12:28


    Very informative and educative!!!
  • Posted: September 7, 2017 01:41


    Great piece and quite insightful. Thanks for sharing.
  • Posted: September 7, 2017 08:21

    Akuro Raphael Tekoh

    Wooooow this is excellent I love every point penciled down, keep on with the positive vibrations... right behind you great minds
  • Posted: September 7, 2017 10:21

    Bechem Bisong BB

    Cameroonian actors are discipline
  • Posted: September 7, 2017 13:43

    film buff

    Hi, thanks a million for this insightful article. I have a question that's not directly related to acting. What's the procedure for submitting films to airlines, svod platforms and tv stations? How does one ensure that the content is not broadcast without permission
  • Posted: September 9, 2017 02:09


    I don't know about u guys but this right here is 'gold' for me.
  • Posted: September 12, 2017 04:28


    I'm not an actor but I wish this list was longer. Thank you .
  • Posted: September 14, 2017 05:42

    savior villageWriter

    Thanks you dear sister, you gives me what to tell my crew. Many of these outlines hinder the growth of our industry. Especially __is it cinema movie, who and who are you featuring? ___such question provoke me to the highest order. Thanks __Sister.
  • Posted: September 14, 2017 21:31

    Mstilii (African Movie Reviewer)

    Out of curiousity can you tell me this, are actors/actresses suppose to sign contracts just as it is in USA where there is stipulation stating though you are booked for 4 hrs due to unforseen circumstances it could be for 6 hrs , in that case if they walk away at 4hrs not being considerate of say power outtage or whatever you can tell them they have breached on their contract. I am just curious how it works. Uduak thank you for such an excellent post and write up. This is the same thing i been saying since 2008 on my blog yet was called a hater cos in nollywood you CANNOT critique anybody, they will call you a hater in a heart beat. I am glad this is coming from you - maybe they will listen because you are a movie maker. All movie makers should institute zero tolerance for nonsense - even if they are an A lister.
  • Posted: September 14, 2017 21:33

    Mstilii (African Movie Reviewer)

    yes i wish this list was longer too. I hope this urges all producers to speak up and tell it just like Uduak has here.
  • Posted: September 17, 2017 11:32

    Mstilii The Movie Critic

    Ok then. I get it Niyi
  • Posted: September 18, 2017 02:40

    Bored on a Sunday night...

    Hello Uduak. I agree with the majority of what you shared. Discipline in the workplace i.e being punctual, having a team spirit, getting the work done (i.e your lines learnt) before having fun, developing your core skills (for an actor; speech, vocabulary), and giving much more that what is required of you, are all very important and foundational principles that every professional must imbibe to succeed. Thank you for these. All aspiring and working actors, "Hear Ye." Now, i'll move on to the tiny part I do not share the same opinion with. An actor asking, is it a cinema movie? An actor is a the same way you advise an actor to develop their speech and vocabulary, that same actor must also look for ways to develop their personal brand/image (what they would like to act or not act in, or what their next career move should be)....without the threat of "not being called back again". They are already being paid very poorly (yes, I think so), so why not make the best use of every production to get you to where you can bill more cause you're now worth more. Well, since we are dealing with our beloved Naija and its massive unemployment rate like you mentioned, I guess that option flies out the in.."If I'm giving you bread, don't ask me what kind, just take it and eat it...or i'll give it to the next hungrier person." Sad, but the reality. Also, there should be labor laws to protect actors...don't worry,I know my stating this fact will not get us any closer to it....but since my laptop is fully charged, and I have completed other more important things I had to do today...I'll just put it out there. It's needed, some kind of protection that can help draw the line between an actor putting in 101%, and just being down right abused. I'm now realizing this response is way too long. I'll stop now. But to any actor reading this, you may agree all you want with me, but since it's boss woman that's cutting your cheque when all's said and done, do what will make her go on that pay run. The End :)....I need to find a hobby....writing this "comment" was too much fun. Uduak, I love your work. All the way from Philly...You are "Da Bomb"
  • Posted: October 9, 2017 04:48


    Niyi, this blog is BOMB! I love you so much for this because you help us man! I'm a screenwriter trying to break into Nollywood and of course, like you have already said before, one of the major problems we have in Nollywood is the lack of information and data out here for us newbies. God bless you for providing us with that. I live for your blog & videos. Aunty Uduak, biko kuku come and adopt me oh! Take me under your wings, teach me your ways. I love your work so much. I really hope one day there will be another screenwriting contest because I had not yet discovered this gem at the time of the competition - I for show una something, lol. In all seriousness, thank you for all that you do Niyi. Thanks to everyone who contributes to this website. God bless you all. Hopefully one day I get to meet and amen oh, WORK with you all. I have so much to learn and I am so ready so thank you and please never stop posting. You are doing God's work! Thanks!
  • Posted: November 4, 2017 17:11


    Great read. The last line tho'.
  • Posted: November 6, 2017 01:45

    Desire maxwell Short horror film
  • Posted: November 29, 2017 20:39


    Loved reading this.
  • Posted: December 21, 2017 22:55


    So engulfing as your reading it
  • Posted: January 1, 2018 20:40

    Ola Lawal

    Words of wisdom , I am a newbie and I am here to learn ,thank you Sister Uduak and Uncle Niyi .
  • Posted: January 2, 2018 00:33

    Nwafor Joan

    Wow, thank you so much for this
  • Posted: January 2, 2018 15:04

    Peter Oladeji

    Insightful! Loved reading it (plus the comments).
  • Posted: January 4, 2018 23:48

    Kayode O

    Actors come later to set? Wow...
  • Posted: March 12, 2018 17:41

    Bernie Wills

    Thank you Uduak. I'm glad you spoke your mind
  • Posted: January 31, 2019 16:37

    Tsofac sharon

    These are really great tips for upcoming actors like us😊😊
  • Posted: February 7, 2019 13:43

    Draper Munyuki

    Beautiful work of art,I love ❤ this keep it up👌...... I've always wanted to be an actress,but I never gotten a chance to do so.....Please I need your help