The Nigerian movie industry is one of the biggest if not the biggest in Africa, so by extension Nollywood practitioners especially the actors can be said to be big as well. Some of them have featured in international productions thereby expanding their fan base and creating a niche for themselves in the industry. We see their acting prowess on screen and we applaud, but just how much do we know about their attitude and character on set? We at bonggis have decided to talk about real issues facing the industry, we want things to be done better so Nollywood can be seen as an industry championed by professionals.
In light of this, I recently had a chat with one of the industry’s experts, she’s a producer and she prefers to stay anonymous for now, I’m just going to highlight a few challenges she and many of her colleagues face in the hands of Nollywood celebrity actors.
“I once had a shoot with a very popular actress in the industry, we had settled her fees and all; she was supposed to come early for her scene and you know we use hotels sometimes for these shoots. I had paid for the day and we were expected to shoot, can you believe that the actress came on set 5 hours late, with no apology she just wanted to jump right into it? When I complained she just told me she was busy, because of that we couldn’t do much because time had gone, so my money for that day was wasted” This was what she started with and she said this has happened with other actors as well. For her, producers have to carry actors like eggs so they don’t break just because they can put in their best in the production, it’s highly unprofessional.
When I asked about the attitude of some actors on set, how they relate with the crew she had this to say. “A few of them are very nice, they mingle with the crew and play on set but I wouldn’t want to mention names. You have fun with these guys and you also build a working relationship with them. Others are just difficult to work with, they make unnecessary demands and we have to provide or try to pacify them, massage their ego until the movie is shot. And these guys request for full payment before coming to your set, I had one like that who said he only stays in a certain kind of hotel and requested for certain kind of food, and these things are sometimes out of our budget but we have to make them happy so we go out of our way to get their requests. There’s a lot to tell, the things we go through in the hands of celebrities. And it’s not just them o, even editors, cameramen and others. I had an editor who did a shabby job after paying him so much, had to hire another one to re-edit, spent more cash. It’s all good o, but we sure have many things we contend with as producers”
The conversation went on for long, she poured out a lot about the industry and how things are done. It goes to show that Nollywood is due for a makeover, from the inside. We need to start with those who are actively involved in making things happen in the industry. I know a lot of you may say we have to talk with other people in the industry too and not just producers, indeed we should and we will. We have to get different sides/views, this means I’ll have to have a chat with a cameraman, editor, light and sound personnel, etc. Stay glued to this platform, you never know when I might just do that.