Nigeria’s and Africa’s largest movie industry, Nollywood, is on the rise. It is a product of the creative and innovative spirit of the Nigerian people. Without government’s subsidy or support, the industry grew in both quality and quantity of movies produced yearly. Our actors became superstars and their place in Africa and the world were elevated. As their popularity and influence increased, they carried the country along. They sold the Nigerian brand to the rest of the world, projecting what our ailing governments battered. The marketers were not left out too. They worked with these actors to create direct and indirect jobs for the people of Nigeria and the World. We are not at the zenith yet but we’ve done well considering the government began to pay attention to the industry only four years ago. We created big names like Nkem Owoh(Osuofia), Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalaide, Ramsey Noah, Patience Ozokwor, Amaechi Munago, Justus Esiri, John Okafor(Mr Ibu) Mercy Johnson, Tonto Dike, Nkiru Slyvanus, Stephanie Okoreke-Linus, and many others who carry with them, the power of our people with each progress they make. Nollywood is a testament to the creative power of the Nigerian mind and touched the lives of the people in geometric progressions. But we have flaws. And these flaws are often the result of some poor directors we have in the system now. While appreciating the creativity of the industry, we will be doing it and the country a disservice if we fail to point out areas that need improvement. We need constructive criticism to get better and this is just one of such positive criticism.
On The Issue Of Ghosts and Spirits
First, I’d like to say, this is not a diss. Why do some Nollywood directors allow ghosts to sit comfortably on chairs and do other contradicting things like their garments moving in response to breeze? Why are Nollywood spirits always on white garments? Why do spirits and ghosts in some films put on the clothe they wore when they were murdered? By definition, ghosts are immaterial and not physical and whatever is immaterial and without weight is not under the laws of gravity. That means that it is impossible for a ghost to sit on a chair. It is also impossible for the weather or temperature to affect it. A ghost can’t feel heat or cold but so many times we’ve portrayed a ghost sitting comfortably on a chair or doing other physical things. Because a ghost is immaterial, unseen and without weight, the movements of anything they wear as portrayed in our movies is a contradiction and lowers the thought behind that film. As a director, better directors won’t take you serious for directing such magic. Another thing I don’t understand is why your ghosts put on white garments. Where did you get this? And the ones you adorn with black garments are the evil ones. If you did this in a comedy play it would have been tolerable and understandable but a serious movie? Come on! When a human being dies, his body decays but in your movie he or she still appears in that same decayed appearance. If your intention was symbolism I wouldn’t be worried but from how it usually ends, it seems you believe this to be so. So, adjust your ways. Think up more creative ways.
Comedy and Poverty
Why are almost every Nollywood comedy shot in a poor environment? I mean, why does it seem like you are saying that only poor people are funny? Why are the lines also about cusses upon cusses to illicit laughter in the viewers? Can’t we be more creative then using swear words to make people smile? Doesn’t this have an effect on the minds of adults and children who watch such comedies rated 13? Except for new productions from the Comedian AY, all other Nigerian comedy producers shoot movies where the actors are poor and wretched. One begins to wonder whether the rich and those who live in fine houses have a bad sense of humour. This is something the producers need to work on. Poverty isn’t the criteria for having a sound sense of humour. Rich people are not that serious and lack humour too to reverse-cast them in that light. We also need an improvement on the comedy lines. There are good scriptwriters in Nigeria begging for roles to develop. There are many people who are funny and capable of creating funny storylines. Get good scriptwriters. Use beautiful settings. Get more people like Nkem Owoh who speak proper English and still funny, to improve your oversea fan base.
Part 1, 2, 3, 4..
These days, while some directors and producers are working hard to positively change the way movies are shot in Nollywood, there are some who are only after the money and allow the quest to turn the movie into a joke. Having the Part One, Two, Three and four of a particular film is not bad. What is not healthy and bad for your viewers is to run a 15 minutes advertisement in an eighty(80) minutes film, play soundtracks and action-less scenes, just to kill time, for a combined 15 minutes, do a play of forty(40) minutes, and wrap up with a list of casts for the last ten(10) minutes. You then go back to do a Part 2 of the film with all the characteristics of the first part, but this time, an addition 5-10 minutes is chopped off by showing one or two of the last scenes in Part 1. To be honest, this is a joke. To worsen the badly prepared film, the Part 3 and 4 are released bearing different names. If this is a marketing strategy, it is bad. Films like Phone Swap, IJE, Last Flight To Abuja, 67′, October 1st and Figurine, with just one part have more substance and quality than all these films that run into Part 4.
Please, which people are responsible for the subtitling of our Yoruba movies? Who edits some of the movies? A situation where translations differ from what is been said, strangers to the language are confused. Most times it turns out as comic relief and even persons who understand the Yoruba language have learned to follow the subtitle just to have fun. This is another area that should be worked on. If the directors and movie producers are interested in going further they would need pay attention to this errors. If translating a local Nigerian language to English, the Lingua Franca of the country, is difficult, how then is translation to foreign languages like German, French, Mandarin and Arabic possible?
Binding and Praying
I can predict, correctly, how any Nollywood movie involving an occult group and the Christians or a Christian, will end. When it comes to movies where the forces of darkness and that of the good battle, every Nigerian’s gift of clairvoyance never fails. A Pastor, Priest or Man of God is called by the attacked to destroy the evil ones. The exact time he set outs to pray is the exact time the forces of darkness are having the final ritual in their coven to destroy their target. The Man Of God wins and the cult group is destroyed. When a movie or person becomes too predictable, the surprise factor is lost and the desire to see it again is lost. When a person hears a joke many times it no longer becomes funny. That is the state of these sort of movies. We need something more creative. Something more mind uplifting but repeating the same lines over and over again doesn’t help anyone in the long run. Not the producer or director or viewers. Why do people also run mad immediately they are done confessing their sins? Does this happen in real life? All these lines should be discarded and replaced with more creative scenes.
What is an MTN Logo doing in a 1992 setting? Was MTN or any of Glo or Airtel in Nigeria in 1992? Why are Kings in our movies extremely rich? Not just rich but extremely rich? Why does a Television go off immediately the particular news the director wants broadcasted is done with? What about going back to past scenes in the name of remembrance by the characters? What is all these? I admire the quality of work you all put in but you can do better. You can build a strong editing team before, during and after the film. I am tired of defending some of these poor scripts. I am tired of watching movies with Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 without content. I am tired of seeing Ghosts look both sides before they cross the road. Seriously, what are they scared of?