In the last 2 years combined, Nollywood has made N3.5 billion ($11.5 million) with 30% of ticket sales generated by local movies according to the box office. From VHS to digital, from budget to blockbusters, improvement is what we’ve apparently seen in Nollywood. Movies like ‘The wedding party’ has grossed over $1.3million (making it the first movie to surpass the N400million mark in Nigeria), serving as a wake-up-call to the ‘New Nollywood’ –a term used in describing rising producers. The competition to retain a spot as a top rated movie producer has become extremely difficult but not impossible.
However this success may seem, it takes strategic planning to be able to reach the height. You may be wondering what goes on behind the scene of every successful movie. Well, producers have to take a few decisions -business and otherwise, in other to be successful. Blewe Ghost caught up with Prince Peter Akinfolarin, a Nollywood actor and movie producer who has been in the business for quite some time. Read through as he shares information about the life of a movie producer in a question and answer format.
How do you earn a living and sustain a career doing what you love –movie production?
Thank you very much. First you must develop yourself to understand and know everything about the business. That means that the more you develop yourself, the more you get jobs in respective of the area of film making you do e.g. Acting, Directing, Makeup, Production Management, Scripting, Lighting, Sound Engineering, Costume, Props & Set etc.
Also importantly, as a film maker you must have a backup carrier (that is to say you must have a business you do aside film making).
Why will someone choose to collaborate on a project?
Well I will say if the person sees the prospect of the project.
What do you want from a partner?
All we really want from a partner is their finance and them believing in your project.
How do you make people want to see a film you’ve produced?
For people to see your film, you have to do a lot of publicity, the story line must be captivating & the choice of Actors you use also really matters because most people watch movies because of:
1) The actors
2) The story line like I said earlier and
3) The kind of publicity you give the movie
How do you encourage people and processes to achieve the best?
By doing your things your ways and being the best you can be
How do you not waste time? AKA how do you get everything you need to get done, done?
Movie production is a process and when the process is done that is to say everything is in place for production to kick off, it runs smoothly… you must put everything in perspective e.g. Money, Actors, Locations etc. before hitting the location.
How do you encourage people and processes to move faster?
I make them see reasons for developing themselves to be the most sought after in the industry.
Why will someone invest in a film?
Film making is a very lucrative business. And we understand that Nigerian movies already dominate TV screens all over West Africa and even going as far as Central and Southern Africa. There is also a Western dimension to this export market. According to Film maker’s cooperative of Nigeria, every film in Nigeria has a potential audience of 15 million people within the country and about 5 million outside.
These statistics may be somewhat conservative considering that half of West African’s 280 million populations are Nigerians and according to the World Bank, slightly over 7million Nigerians are scattered around the world, most of them in the developed economies. The Nigerian experience with the video culture has shown that without piracy, there is a huge potential for making money in the Industry. So if a lot of people get this statistics right, they will rush into investing in films.
How do you estimate the value of any given film?
You only estimate the value of a film through the script. That is to say you know how much you will be spending to produce that particular movie when the script is fully ready for production.
Through the script you know the total number of actors, the locations to be used, how many production crew members to use, the makeup artiste, the costumes etc.
During production, what is money well spent (and what isn’t)?
Money well spent is when everything comes out well as planned or scheduled.
What ‘isn’t’ is when you don’t get a good production and you over-shoot your production schedule.
With so many factors shaping a film’s success or failure, and so much required going into a film just to make it, and even more to make it well, what can be done so it does not ever feel not worth the effort?
Give it your best. Make sure the cast give it their best too. Even if it’ll take shooting one particular scene ten times to get it right, do it. Treat your actors like professionals. Make sure they are in good health when they are on set. Make sure they are stable mentally and physically. Help them see the goal, and make them understand that the goal can be reached if they bring on their A-game. Don’t be afraid to spend money shooting a movie. The industry has so much evolved that people no longer waste time watching low quality productions..lol..your movie will be turned to a meme. Moreover, if you want to be featured on the cinema, make it worth the feature. Also, put pride aside and seek for advice and support where necessary. Get the right team etc.
How do you not shoot materials that won’t end up in the film?
When you know something will not be part of the film, you don’t have to shoot it.
How do you make sure you don’t need more material after you finish principal photography?
That is why we have what we call production schedule. Production schedule is the guide line of the day-to-day production activities. But in some cases one can decide to take a shot out of the script so as to compliment the story.
In doing work in this industry, how do you not grow jaded and make sure to maintain a sense of wonder, a joy of discovery, an appreciation of mystery, and love of simply doing?
That is why I said earlier that you must keep developing yourself through seminars, books, watching films directed & produced by other people and learning from others and also take advice from people that are above you and below you.
What won’t you do or ask others to do in making a film?
What I will not do and advice others to do is sleeping with your actresses. This is one of the things killing the industry and that is why people like us are fighting it hard to see that there is a stop to it. Most times they sleep with these girls, then record them acting and when the film is out they will not see themselves in the said film. So for me this is what I don’t do
Prince Peter Akinfolarin of Wiseone productionz is an African/Nigerian film producer who has been in the Nigerian movies industry for many years. Peters understands that there is a vacuum in the industry that needs to be filled, and that with hard work and consistency, Nollywood is sure to rock the boat.
(Facebook page: Wiseone Productionz)
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