Film Networking in Nigeria
Written by Dick Williams Azibagir
This article is mainly for young filmmakers who find it challenging to breed a crew or network of people to help in their film production processes. Film networking is simply helping out your colleagues or film friends with their film shoot activities, so, you could get helped too. Like mmm, you gh & ph. Lol.
With the increasing task of making standard shorts and cinema movies in Nollywood, young filmmakers may have challenges in renting equipment, not to mention hiring of capable crew personnel to operate the equipment, owing to the high cost of hiring professional crew.
For example, a filmmaker who struggles to rent a 5D Mark lll camera, LED lights and audio card, may be faced with the problem of hiring a professional cinematographer, gaffer and sound man respectively. The question is, how does he raise money to hire the crew?
With the few film schools in Nigeria, a filmmaker who doesn’t have money to attend film school but is still passionate has nobody to help him apart from few friends on the streets like him or friends who are novices in film making. How does he convince these friends to be part of his film crew without paying them much? The challenge of winning SERIOUS crew members had turned many filmmakers into skit makers. Let’s deviate a little, since, skit making is less cost intensive, involves less technicalities. A filmmaker may just order his younger brother to “video” him as he displays anything comic. Couple with the fact that Nigerians laugh over everything.
The skit making industry is gradually cutting down the population of creative filmmakers, thereby depreciating technical prowess in film making and amplifying ONLY comic prowess. What then happens to a filmmaker who’s not funny? He will do bunkery business abi?
I will love to suggest a solution to the winning of team mates for making of your film or short. Do simple networking. Help other filmmakers on their projects and get them to help you too. It’s give and take. It’s not free services. Before you get so excited to help colleagues, so they could later help you in your own projects; please take into consideration these following factors.
In trying to build a network of filmmakers you have to consider the costliest and cheapest asset, time. Carefully examine your scheduling and the task of your colleagues job. Some colleagues would love you to spend a lot of time on their sets without considering what you be may be loosing out. Avoid helping colleagues who will want to consume all your time with delays and laxity in work. In pleasing others, don’t be too busy helping that you rarely have time to intentionally build your own brand.
2. CREATIVE SPIRIT
I personally will consider this factor before others. There are different kinds of filmmakers in Nollywood, who draw inspiration from different sources. Some are totally off the hook and are not ready to make improvements. I won’t say more than this. Know your type, and work with creative persons who can challenge your mind to think. The industry is evolving, and this requires you only work with people who dish out what the market needs, and not some backward folks who hold grudges against the spirit of excellence.
3. RESPECT FOR PEOPLE
Don’t work with dishonest cast and crew, who don’t respect even the tiniest drops of your opinions. Avoid working with cast who destroys sets in the middle of a shoot, when they feel like God mama or papa. Shun disrespectful actresses, yes, actresses. Don’t allow this category of men come close to your set- the ones who must make passes at the under aged daughters of your location lenders. I worked in location sometime ago, where the CCTV cameras in the house recorded some promiscuous activities by some cast. That made us almost lost that beautiful location we got for free. When working with people, drop your ugly side (everyone has that ugly side) and be ready to learn like a child.
4. LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT
It’s always relevant to state your level of involvement in a colleagues project. Are you only rendering services, supporting financially or you’re just helping. Stating clearly your level of commitment helps the both of you to know what to expect. Is the project for film festivals, online platforms or for sales via agents? Do you have any financial expectation from the success of the project? Express yourself. Don’t say, they’ll think you love money too much. Before nko? Don’t say, I’m not interested in the money. It’s a lie. When money comes from the project, won’t you say you contributed your efforts and you are now neglected. Thank you! You better make concrete agreements of future profits with your colleagues before you start doing free work for them.
You shouldn’t involve in film projects that contradicts your spiritual and natural beliefs. Only involve yourself in projects your spirit man (https://azibagir.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/new-the-spirit-man-quick-story/) is comfortable with. Your beliefs unconsciously proceeds your career decisions.
Concluding on this subject of film networking; I want to let you know that I’m tired of writing. Consider every factor that comes to mind before networking with film colleagues, but remember there isn’t a perfect timing, persons and quantifiable services (to be offered) before getting help in your film projects. Filmmakers networking will help you learn and appreciate your craft better.
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