Nollywood has come a long way since low-budget, era-defining films like Living in Bondage and Nneka the Pretty Serpent. But today’s filmmaking is all about the box office and sequels, pop corn and red carpet premieres. It’s a flashy Nollywood system engineered to keep you returning to the cinemas, even without you realising it. Studios are spending big, and also fabricating numbers to lure investors into financing subsequent film projects. However, this won’t be possible if the right ingredients weren’t present in the first place. To “make it” in the industry as a director or producer, your film must have the trappings of the zeitgeist. Move with the times, people. Below is a helpful list, full of pointers and tried-and-true formulas. You won’t find this anywhere else.
1. Put All The Stars
Look, you need to be on top of your star game. Have you seen any of AY Makun’s schlocky travel comedies? He puts A-listers in his movies and they always turn out to be box office hits. The Wedding Party is there as a reference point, but we have Toyin Abraham’s Alakada Reloaded and Banana Island Ghost. You have a movie script? Make sure it has multiple star voices. The more, the merrier.
2. Have The Actors Overemote
You can’t afford to let your cast talk or even whisper to each other. What do you think this is? Romeo and Juliet? This is a movie, dammit. Don’t be a novice. It has always been on trend to over-emote. It shows that the actor is serious and intimately knows his or her role. Every award-winning movie in Nollywood has a strain of overreacting. You can’t go wrong with this, I assure you.
3. Make Sure The Genre Is Comedy
Audiences want to laugh. Like, LOOOOOOOOOL. Don’t write scripts that deal with heavy, social issues. Just don’t. Nobody would watch it, seriously. Stephanie Linus’ Dry was just, well…dry. By contrast, Omoni Oboli’s Wives on Strike effectively calibrated its domestic violence preachiness with humour. The film was also star-studded. Nigeria is a hard, frustrating country and people need purely escapist entertainment to cope. More than half of Nollywood films released last year were hewed towards comedy. Comedy is the future so give people what they want, OK?
4. Don’t Forget The Romance/Marriage Theme
You can’t even be serious as a filmmaker if your leading female protagonist isn’t constantly thinking of marriage. What???? She has to end up with a man because it’s the way things are. Don’t pretend you don’t know this. And don’t try to change or subvert this narrative. Romance and love is powerful and sweet, which is why The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is still showing in cinemas for God knows how long, raking in the money. The 2018 romantic drama June features the excellent Michelle Dede but what happens in the end? She marries the man of her dreams. Scratch that. She marries the man who’s available. Dakore Akande and Rita Dominic are in Isoken and Bound respectively, films sensible enough to talk about marriage. Even the forthcoming Olumilani Oluyinka-directed Just Before I Do, from the trailer, has a kind of love triangle thing going on. Smart.
5. Put Beautiful, Pretty Women As Actresses
This you already know.
6. Rinse and Repeat