On Sunday the 4th of December, somewhere in Ikeja, Victor Sanchez Aghahowa hosted a bunch of young writers (or aspiring writers) to a day-long session. The purpose? To share knowledge, period. Knowledge about the actual craft of screenwriting. Knowledge about the Nigerian film and television industry, and insights necessary for anyone looking to break in.
The event, called Baking Bread (a play on ‘The Agege Bakery,’ an unofficial screenwriting collective Aghahowa put together) started at 10 am and didn’t end till 6 pm.
But why does any of this matter? Well there’s the obvious fact that, as many of us have been crying, storytelling is one of the most oft-overlooked aspects of the industry, and Aghahowa is one of the few writers worth his salt in this country – in other words, if anyone is qualified to talk about writing, it’s him. But it’s also of special significance considering that the man himself isn’t exactly at his peak yet. He’s still on his way up, and clearly zero qualms about bringing people along for the ride.
Now, no one knows what will happen now that this event is done. It’s doubtful anyone can learn all there is to know about an industry (especially one as idiosyncratic as Nollywood) in a day, but what’s important here is, for an entire day, free of charge, a successful Nigerian writer, director and producer gave his time and knowledge to 30 industry hopefuls, all of his own accord. In an industry where it’s typically every man for himself, and the concept of collaboration is anathema, things like this matter. Because this is the only way any genuine growth or progress can be made.
So maybe some people should take notes, and realize that the point of any growing industry is to see those who come after improve upon the work of their forebearers. As opposed to, you know, crying about “old” versus “new” Nollywood.