It’s said that “Imagination is the greatest nation on earth” So Ladies and Gentlemen I ask you to take a journey of imagination with me.
Imagine a time, where films from Nigeria are reckoned with on the same level as Hollywood and World Cinema in ALL categories;Cinematography,Performance,Screenplays,Editing,Sound Design,Score and the general entertainment value.
Imagine a time where the work of Nigerian born directors are as unique and recognised as their global counterparts. As distinctive as a Kubrick,Hitchcock,Scorcese,Kurosawa etc
Directors that pioneer ground breaking things in their movies, starting trends and creating cinematic benchmarks that inspire and awe.
A time where the work of our directors influence the next generation of film makers on a global level. Making generation and decade defining films. Remember, “The Matrix”,”Fight Club”,”Star Wars” and how they affected their respective generations?
Imagine a Time that, when the worlds most influencial film makers are mentioned, Naija directors are regularly listed because of an undeniable contribution to the world of cinema.
Imagine a time where funding is not the nightmare it is today. Where there are numerous mega studios that commision and see projects from screen development to the red carpet premiere and eventual global distribution.
Such a move could make Nigeria the film making capital of the continent. And like Hollywood, draw actors within Africa and other continents,causing a massive influx of skill and talent and investment to the industry.
A time where our films are stocked in video stores all over the world. Where HMV,Blockbusters,NetFlix,Love Films carry our movies right next to Hollywood and Bollywood films. Where on Rotten tomatoes there are rave reviews, high ranking on imdb and millions of downloads on i-tunes.
Imagine a time where like the British ,Spanish and Australian actors and directors that work in Hollywood, our own stars and directors are sought after. Delivering such great performances that they contend in the same category as their European and American colleagues for Best Actor award.
A time when African Americans are no longer called to play roles of Africans or historic African figures, but they come straight to us to cast. WHY, because of our home based actors are so impressive that they know this is the best place to come to find world class thespians.
Professionals so masterful of their craft that producers and directors refuse to green light without them on-board, not for marketing reasons but because they know that their contribution would take the movie to a higher level.
Picture a time where we have proper sets, locations, consummate professional cast and crew, that Hollywood comes calling for collaborations and co productions.
Similar to the way they go to shoot in Canada for location and tax purposes,so also when they require a tropical,exotic or African setting this would be their first port of call. Where they come on a regular basis to shoot and work alongside us.
Imagine a time where distributors from Europe and America are running after us for the rights to our films to put in cinemas and sell on Blu Ray. Where international producers clamour over themselves to option the scripts of our writers because of their amazing stories and unique voices. Where like Sorkin. Mamet and Alan Ball who are known for their distinct writing voices , so would the names of our masterful wordsmiths and scribes.
Imagine a time where Nollywood rivals and even dwarfs the oil industry in terms of employment in a very formal and traceable manner.
Can’t picture it? Doubt it? Wondering HOW!!!??
Ok look at it this way. Outside cast and the usual suspect crew members there are a monumental number of roles.
Formal and structured Nollywood would be a massive employer . With mega studios, production/ post production houses, these are just some of the career opportunities
Blue Collar jobs: Electricians,Carpenters,Tailors,Caterers,Cooks,Plumbers.Drivers,Transportcoordinators,Painters,Tillers,Cobblers,Security,Gardners
White Collar jobs; Accountants,Marketers,Public Relations,Business Managers,Human Resources,Agents,Talent Managers,Administration,IT Dept,Tech Support,Programmers etc
Creative Jobs; Designers,Graphic artists,Web Designers,Story Board artists,Art Director,Set Designer,Set Decorator,Still Photographer,Orchestra,Music Supervisors and many artistic roles Clothing designers.Costume Makers etc
In post production there are Editors(on line and offline)Sound Effect,Colorists,Graders,Editors,Foley Artists,Sound Mixers,Sound Designers,ADR Mixers
At the tail end, there would be more cinemas countrywide as a result of industry growth at least one in each LGA. These cinemas will employ people to sell tickets, sell snacks and drinks,Ushers to manage the viewing halls. Agents to acquire the films. Managers to run the business. Loaders to maintain and run the projectors .Custodians to clean the facility. Accountants to manage the finances.
A structured industry like this will create jobs in other industries that work with directly or indirectly and service the film industry
Imagine the number of Banks and account managers needed by those employed in the studios,production houses,distribution companies.
The accounting firms needed to manage the money,personal and coorporate.
The phone bills they would rack up on deal making calls vendors that need to sell them credit, customer service workers that need to attend to them?
The number of hotels they would book for cast, crew and management.
The transportation companies that would be hired to ferry people around?
It’s influential tentacles would spread far and wide.
The fashions designers,photographers,magazine editors,crew members,caterers,event organisers,interior decorators,party planners,equipment hire that would all be getting paid,as a result of the industry growing to a level that there need to be more than one major movie award night annually just so everyone gets a shot of acknowledgement.
Are you getting the picture?
In a Nollywood like this the employment opportunities are so numerous,diverse and encompassing of various skillset, that it would be a large contributor to the National GDP as it covers so many fields.
I dream I dream and I hope and pray that one day all this would the reality.
However with what’s currently on ground some could say it’s a pipe dream perhaps a psychedelic hallucinations ,some may already be calling the men in White Coats.
Hollywood was not brought down from Mount Olympus and assembled like a celestial lego set.It started from scratch by some people with a vision and passion. Bollywood to, a place a lot of post pro jobs are being outsourced.
There are a gazzillion hurdles to leap to get there,it may take a decade ,5 or even 9. All depending on vision,commitment and passion, but it is possible.
A lot of roles need to be approached more professionally. Access granted based on skill,proven record or evidence of immense passion and potential and not “my brother,my town person”.
The establishment of schools and training facilities to prepare people for roles in this industry or apprentice/under study roles if school is unavailable.
The industry needs to stop being a refugee camp for failures from other industries,or people with no training or knowledge that think they can just wing it with claims of ‘natural talent’ without any training or education(formal/informal).
When we treat the industry as seriously and as professionally as Lawyers and Doctors treat their profession, then we have commenced the journey. By imbibing professionalism and a creating a road map toward the promised land maybe unlike the Israelites we can shorten our journey and not rigmarole in circles for the next few decades