In the beginning, God created Nollywood, it grew and grew till the operator and stakeholders lost focus of the real thing and started chasing shadows.
Yes, there was piracy that almost drove everyone out of the industry. But, we had perfected a system of film making that had the world’s attention, we just needed to align this with international industry best practice.

Out of the ashes, a Phoenix rises, a new set of Nollywood film makers that are challenging the status quo and individually pushing the envelope.
We are slowly getting a lot of things right, but so much still needs to be done.

What are those things that endear you to the Hollywood film industry and movies that are still missing in our neck of the wood?

Film funding
International co-production agreements
Film industry infrastructure

The storyline?
Movie Soundtrack and score?
Emotions and nuances in a scene?
Cinematic styles?
High concept?

My good friend Cinemanuel Kalasuwe says “it is all encompassing, one aspect does not make a good film, but everything together, they comprise the ‘mise en scène’. It a French word that means the arrangement of every little detail that makes up a whole.

He says we lack details! It takes detailing to make an art compelling, and detailing in filmmaking doesn’t come cheap.

Otega Ododoru thinks this is very true, however from his experience in Nollywood, we are not at that point budget wise where we can truly be as detailed as our Hollywood counterpart.
Hollywood preproduction budgets alone will wow you. The big budget also affords them the opportunity to get the best human resources. Just look at how large their crew are and everyone playing important roles in making that one movie.

He concludes by saying at the moment we are not doing too bad with what we have.

Ayọ̀ Adénẹ́ says it’s all of the above and more, like believability. He thinks actors/actresses often look like they’re actually acting, on the one hand over dramatization is in our blood, on the other hand, academic aspects of film realism need improving.

But Jahneral Blak Spirit thinks otherwise, we are PICKING imageries from the foreign scenarios… A typical African is LOUD, CELEBRATES to attract neighbors and other nuances typical but not stereotyped.

Now genre of movie- determines the emotional purgation externalized…

Tyna Ezenma has this to say, ‘I read an average of 10 scripts in a week and I can comfortably say that I know about script analysis, do you know that any time I read a script from a Nigerian and give notes they always want to start defending their choices and don’t take corrections’.

She has this to say about our stories: We can’t be better than Hollywood in their game. We have a lot of stories but the problem is the storytelling aspect.

she says she went to watch a stage play sometime last year about 10 Obas of Benin, that was too much boring information on a stage it was like being forced to be in a history class.

Take a story of one of the Obas and treat a part of his life, which could be how he got to become an Oba, his love story, the wars he won, his failures, his demons.
Now that will be an interesting angle and you get 10 stories or more from same one stage play.

Tony Abulu takes it a notch higher with his submission:

‘Now folks, note that the genre of film requires large viewership to be “successful” especially since the medium is capital intensive.
The major bane of Nollywood is the presentation of elementary stories. Baseless rote religious understandings on the part of the general population is a major albatross. Fear to explore “anti” religious ingrained beliefs leaves the Nigerian film industry totally elementary. Good example is Marvel’s “Black Panther” which explored non-Christian and Islamic tenets. Their God “Bast” was revered and approached several times in the piece.

But it flew over the Nigerian audience heads. Probably because of the razzmatazz and SFX in the movie. Also, our writers dare not explore deep African concepts for fear of being labelled “fetish” and rejected even by the EP who are 99% Christian. So, we end up with mediocre stories of boy meets girl and the mother doesn’t like the girl because she’s diabolic, but thank God for the Pastor’s intervention, spiritual disaster was averted!!! Or we have the “wannabes” fake versions of contemporary African-American stories. Not daring to step out of the Box in Nigeria is a recipe for “failure”‘.

We shouldn’t forget that it’s all about apples and oranges, and Hollywood makes both types of films. They have both low and high IQ audiences in very large numbers. Our high IQ audience are less than 1%. First, you have to understand the monetization structure of film in different locations.

If you make movies, you will appreciate Nigerian distributors and Executive Producers influence on the quality of art. A Nigerian young man is “bewitched” by his girlfriend or worse his mother, then she subjugates him and then relegates him to washing dishes, clothes, cooking and so on, until a Pastor breaks the spell by pontificating Bible verses.

Majority of the Nigerians or Africans for that matter never question the reality of such actions because most have been brainwashed to believe by (you know who) that this is the Modus Operandi of Satan.

Of course, there are more enlightened Nigerians but trust me they are very few. And few don’t make films viable. In the US, the filmmaker will tell the same story, but will go the distance to delve into the source of influence of the purported evil including cause, time line, instrument and others. Like in the case of the “Exorcist” where even the priests had to face their own frailties to confront evil and die in the battle to save the child.

I once shot a small budget movie in Nigeria and titled it “Bewitched” my theatrical release distributors insisted I change the title to something else, simply because the pretty girl antagonist emerged from the ocean shore and preyed psychologically on the male protagonists.

They all claimed the girl is mammi water, meanwhile the girl was only a psycho who had escaped from the nearby asylum. Only visiting the ocean regularly reminiscing about the love of her life who jilted her after their spending so much loving time together at the beach.

Mike Biose thinks we are not shooting films yet, film is all about action, dialogue only comes in when action cannot be described!
But in Nollywood, our style of writing is opposite, here in Nigeria, our screen and film evolved from stage, I am a playwright and a screenwriter, I can tell you the difference, but we had gotten it right before we diverted.

Kindly checkout these films, ‘Bisi, daughter of the river’ starring Patti Boulaye and produced by Jab Adu, and ‘Death of a Black President (1984) by Eddy Ugbomah’.

Watch these films and compare with what we have now. We need a total overhauling of the film industry, trainings, trainings and more training!

The truth is we have not touched or explored 0.00001 percent of the stories in Nigeria. I was supposed to be in charge of the narration, but my friends are more exposed than me, so am just listening and learning.

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