The Life of an Indie filmMaker…the 9th wonder of the world

LOVE THIS VIDEO, very encouraging. Often times in Naija we think we are the only ones that have difficulty financing, making and distributing our films. But the reality is , everyone that is not being financed by the studio system has all those same issues. Even for those financed by the studios, sometimes there is so much interference from the suits, that you cant make the movie you set out to make, and they take it off your hands in post pro and do what they want.

Ultimately, are you making films SOLEY for profit? Soley to make an obscene amount of money?

Or are you making films because you cant see yourself doing anything else but telling those stories, and you just enjoy that privilege and are satisfied with it paying the bills and allowing you to make another film, and the next , and the next.

Will you be satisfied with just enough people seeing it to make it profitable to finance the next film but not getting mainstream distribution or name recognition?

Your reasons for being in the business will determine how you deal with delay, rejection, not getting recognition and even affect the kind of films you make etc

There are many great indie filmMakers out there whose films never cross the shores of their country for one reason or the other, some that are only seen in selected theatres. Not everyone would become a household name. The sooner we learn that the sooner we can move on.

So for all Indie FilmMaker, hope you are as encouraged from this as i am, we may have our down times,be broke, discouraged and maybe even depressed at times, but the satisfaction of making our films and getting a great response, certainly beats doing a “secure” job and living the rest of our lives with “shoulda coulda”




There’s something about a feature debut that affects a directors career, sometimes that brilliant debut is what launches a director to getting any sort of project he wants to do. He’s given the keys to the city and it becomes his play ground. People like Tarantino and Soderberg experienced this when they arrived on the scene in the early 90’s. A brilliant feature debut, kinda says, look at what this guy achieved first time out, what else can he do? Let’s give him some money.

The thing about young film makers, the real hungry ones, that live and breath film, they are really eager to come out with something. Sometimes , it’s literally a painful experience for them, when they see some films come out, and they feel, i can do this, i could do better, or they just beat themselves up for not having made a feature to show the world what they can do. This tends to lead to making a film for the sake of making a film, just to have something in the festival circuit, just to have something to show, even if, it’s not what they really wanted to make, but a mix of desperation, anxiety and maybe a little insecurity leads to such a decision. While for the most part, it’s a desire to launch their career and have a calling card to show potential investors or clients,sometimes it doesn’t end in the result they so desperately desired. 

Thinking about that scenario made the quote below all the more poignant

This is my own personal philosophy about first films. I think first-time filmmakers should make a film when they’re ready to make a film and when they have a film that they’re dying to make. I think the worst reason to make a film is just to go out and make one—or because you want to go to Sundance, or you want to be like Quentin Tarantino. The reason to make a film is because you have a story you want to tell, you have something you really, really want to say. – GREGG ARAKI

What do you guys think? What do you think of making a movie just for the sake of getting something out there ? Pls leave a comment. Cheers 


Martin Scorcese on Citizen Kane

My Previous post talked about watching cinema of all era, and studying them, doing this would not only make you appreciate the role of a director but also learn techniques from those that have gone ahead of you. Peak performance coach Tony Robbins ususally say “Success leaves clues”, find someone that has done what you want to do and follow it, like you would a reciepe.

Here is one of the most respected and admired directors of the past 40 years, talking about what he learned from the classic and legendary “Citizen Kane”. If you are farmiliar with Marty’s work, you’d notice what he picked up and infused into his own work

Iconic Characters- In the Performance or Writing that is the Question

A few weeks ago I’m on FaceBook and I come across a question on my time line

Film:Characterisation vs Character interpreters.

Exactly what goes into
creating a memorably remarkable character?”

That question got me googling my brain for answers. I sifted through the archive of movies I had seen and analysed them.

The analysis raised some questions of it’s own.

Was it the way the character was written that was great?

Was it the specific actor that interpreted the character that made it great?

Or was it a perfect blend of both a well written character and a great actor that embodies the role.

Now during the googling process several names came to mind. One of them was Al Pacino.

Between 1972 and 1995 he gave some of the most memorable performances in cinema history. There were several in that decade and Pacino alone has about 4 iconic cinema characters. Michael Corleone(The Godfather),Lefty(Donnie Brasco) ,Sonny(Dog Day Afternoon),Tony Montana(Scarface). And that’s excluding his performancs in “Scent of a Woman”,”Heat” and “The Devil’s Advocate”.

In my opinion the tour de force performances in “The Godfather” & “Scarface” were enough to cement him in the annals of cinema. Cos few actors will ever play larger than life characters like that in their entire life time much less two .

Both characters have become ingrained in pop culture and their lines are instantly recognisable. Even some people that haven’t actually seen the films are still able to recognize the references and quotes. Some fans,or shall I say disciples go as far as adopting the philosophy of these characters ,dressing like them and even copying their speaking style.

So what makes Michael Corleone,Dirty Harry,Braveheart,Maximus,Morpheous,Hannibal Lecter,Jason Bourne,Marty McFly,Keyser Soze memorable characters that penetrate pop culture. Yet other characters played by the same actors make no blip on the radar.

Now, a lot of it has to do with the actor interpreting the role, and what he adds to the character that is not on the page. I remember seeing a screen test in which James Caan read for the part of Michael Corleone. Now, James Caan is a great actor and he was PERFECT in the role of older brother Sonny. But if he had played Michael, the role would not be the iconic role it is today. In that screen test he did not bring the gravitas ,quiet strength and charisma that Pacino brought to the role.

The director working with the actor is also essential to a memorable performance.The layers one director will add to the script, another director would not see and just shoot as it is on the page.The way David Fincher would work with an actor is different from the way Michael Bay would work with an actor.

Some directors have a track record for directing actors to Oscar winning performances, others have never done that in a career that spans decades.

However for the sake of brevity I’ll only focus on scripts.

It all starts with the script which is the foundation upon which everything else stands; and for a character to be memorable. They either have to be extraordinary in form or presentation(Robocop,Terminator) in ability; physical(Batman) intellectual(Sherlock Holmes), valor (Robin Hood,The Three Musketeers),or personality/appeal(Tyler Durden).

The other option is to make them fully formed with philosophies,creeds,and capabilities that facinate us. They are smarter,faster and more capable than us in all they do. Other times they can be normal like anyone one of us but going through a life changing journey we can vicariously engage in and enjoy their victory.

-The underdog that overcomes the odds(Rocky)

-The precocious and gobby teenage girl that gets pregnant(Juno),

-The mother that has to make a choice between her kids(Sophie’s Choice).

Characters that engage us in their life journey.

In creating real characters that aren’t cardboard cutouts/caricatures it starts from conception and construction of the character by the writer.Like a real human being there ought to be a biography, a life they have lived before we saw them on screen.

Everyone of us has nuances and idiosyncracies,likes and dislikes. So should fictional characters for the screen.

They ought to have a favorite food,first kiss,Mother’s Maiden name,Color of his childhood bike. Are they pro choice or pro life. What is their politics?,Religion,Profession? Did they go to a public or private school. Are they working class or middle class? What are their hobbies etc.

A writer armed with the knowledge of these little things would determine what his character would and would not do.Their speech patterns,View of the world and so much more..

The Sensei of Cinema, the Legendary Japanese Director Akira Kurosawa, who influenced George Lucas,Coppola,Scorcese,Sergio Leone and other succesful and respected directors was known to say

“With a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece. But with a bad script, one can’t possibly make a good film”

Sydney Pollack director also said

“A great script is absolutely essential, perhaps THE essential thing for a movie to succeed”

If get the foundation right, then we have a solid base to build the others aspects of casting,directing upon.

I’m sure most of us have heard the story of the two men that embarked on a building project. The one that built his house on the sand and the man that built his house on the rock and we know the end result of each endeavor.