A 2-step guide to understanding the Nollywood movie trailer


If, like me, you have been countlessly perplexed by a Nollywood movie trailer and have asked yourself this question, “WTF did I just watch?”- then you are in the right place. As Nollywood keeps churning out movies, trailers become a much needed tool for promotion and anticipation. More often than not, they are haphazardly constructed to the point that the glimpse of the story is lost in absurdly high drama and batshit development. Other times, being absently engrossed in these trailers might subsequently have you question your sanity.

Occasionally, my intelligence has been insulted and we demand better from these filmmakers. But before the sweeping dawn of better-made trailers arrives, here’s how to try to make sense of this difficult, under-discussed malaise in Nollywood.

Look up the movie’s plot synopsis

A movie’s synopsis can offer a world of information, depending on what that has been chosen to be revealed. In Hollywood, upcoming movies usually have a dedicated Wikipedia page, or at least an IMDb profile. In that way, one can read on plot details and have an understanding of what the movie is about before watching a trailer. By contrast, however, Nollywood is seriously deficient. If you are lucky to find an upcoming movie on IMDb, the page is often woefully scanty, with blank cast profiles.

Some Nollywood filmmakers and studios choose to be deliberately mute on plot information, releasing a trailer and leaving viewers to decipher the mess. It’s just wickedness. Again, if you are lucky to find a synopsis circulated during a film’s press cycle, read it and thank the Lord because some aren’t that fortunate.

Kill the volume temporarily

This is paramount. Because the trailer will come screaming at you like a locomotive, you need to tune out the chaotic sound effects to increase your chances of comprehension. I have tried it. Have you seen the 2018 horror film A Quiet Place? The characters barely speak in such a volatile environment. Then imagine what the trailer of the film would have looked like.

If after these, the trailer is still incomprehensible, then it’s not your fault. Just wait for the movie premiere date and you will be fine.


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