In this guide, I will show you how you can join Nigerian Movie Industry (NOLLYWOOD) either as an actor, actress, writer, producer, or as a marketer.
In the twenty-first century entertainment has become big business, whether it is in the music industry, movies, showbiz (which involves the fashion industry and modeling), or written literature. Technology has made it much easier for people to market their talents and works to an increasing target audience at record speed for high profits. However, only those that are really gifted and talented go far in the entertainment industry.
Being successful in the entertainment industry comes with huge benefits such wealth, fame, coupled with all the glitter and glamour that comes it. This is what makes the industry very attractive, especially to young people, which is why most of the current stars, especially music stars we have today are below the age of thirty, or in their early thirties.
That is also why there has been an influx of wannabe artistes, music artistes, movie artistes, models etc. The movie industry seems a little bit more difficult for upcoming artistes to breakthrough, especially in the Nigerian movie industry due to a number of factors such as how connected you are. In this article I will be outlining a number of things that those interested in a career in the movie business can do to increase their chances of becoming successful in the business.
The Nigerian movie industry, popularly called Nollywood, is the third largest in the world. For a movie industry that large one can imagine the benefits that a successful career in the industry can actually bring. Coupled with the fact that only Bollywood in India actually produces more movies than Nollywood. So an established actor/actress in Nigeria stands to earn a lot from roles in movies, not taking into account other endorsement deals they stand to gain. An average actor/actress in Nigeria earns around N200,000 to N500,000 per role, while the top actor/actress earn between N1 million to N5 million depending on the role and the movie production budget.
As a newbie in the industry, you could earn about N100,000 to N400,000 per role, and if you are really good you could get about ten roles in a year, which will amount to about N1,000,000 to N4,000,000. The lifestyle of top actors/actresses is one of glamour, filled with enjoyment and ease, so to say. They also have the opportunity to attend some of the finest red carpet events in the country, travel to exotic places.
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Many celebrities also are able to get political appointments in their states or at the national level due to the popularity acquired through the entertainment industry. This is enough incentive for any young and up-coming a actor/actress.
There are a number of things that those who desire to join the movie business need to do, and qualities they need to possess to increase their chances of becoming successful in the movie business in Nigeria.
1. You Must Be Talented
First and foremost you need to be really talented, even though acting can be learnt, those with that raw talent and potential for the craft of acting will always have an edge ahead of others. It is this edge that sets the star actors and actresses apart from the mediocre ones. It also ensures your longevity in the industry, and they tend to be given more lead roles which translates to a higher renumeration, that is more money in the bank.
A very good example in Nollywood is Patience Ozokwor, who after so many years has not lost her shine. So to join the movie business you need to recognise that you have the talent, or better still you would need others to recognise that you have the talent too, someone who isn’t biased preferably an acting coach or professional actor.
In Nigeria, there are a number of aspiring actresses who are very willing to sell their bodies and actors who are
willing to bribe their way into the industry or pay “in kind” to directors and producers to be fixed in somewhere as per acting role.
In the long-run, only raw talent will be able to sustain the career of any actor/actress because you cannot buy acceptance and appreciation from the viewers who buy the movies, who are the ones that actually pay the bills of the actors/actresses. However, its also all too easy to live in self-deception, believing or thinking you’ve have the talent when you really do not. The next tip explains how you can get a realistic evaluation.
2. Develop Your Talent Through Further Training
It’s not enough to have the raw talent, but you need to develop the talent, to smoothen any rough edges that you might have. An aspiring artiste can join an academy or an acting school to develop his or her talent. In Nigeria, there are so many film academies and acting schools that exist for this purpose.
These academies also serve as a form of evaluation to check if you are really talented, and have what it takes to succeed in Nollywood. You can research about an academy that best suits you and enroll in one. Acting schools also connects you with proper coaching from professional acting coaches, and also help you overcome stage fright.
Academies will really help to hone your acting skills, skills such as learning how to memorise lines, and add finesse to your acting. Acting schools and academies can also benefit actors and actresses in the following ways: you acquire more training and professionalism; you get a professional certificate; you could get acting roles through them; you can easily see the competition firsthand and build yourself to perfection.
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However, if you still find it difficult coping with academy roles after twelve months of enrolling with one, then apparently you are not as talented as you thought you were and you might need to choose another career path. You may also want to get a degree in theatre arts also. It is not a requirement though, but if you have a desire to be an actress you may put in for a degree in theatre arts and get exposed to the theoretical and practical aspect of film and theatre. This could serve as an added advantage.
So if you’re naturally talented, an academy and other like training institutions will assist you to a large extent in developing your career the more, you begin to see if your acting dream and aspiration is actually viable. Unfortunately, not all organisations that claim be academies are genuine, some of them actually exist for the purpose of ripping off unsuspecting victims.
As such aspiring actors and actresses must be cautious as they pursue their careers. Many girls have been subjected, against their will, to inhuman sexual activities and manhandled by perverts who promised to assist them. Many guys have also been subjected to gay activities and scams from miscreants who take advantage of their naivety and ambitions.
As such aspiring actors and actresses need to confirm the authenticity and credibility of these acting schools or academies before applying. Some organisations such as your local church, or schools may have a drama group, which you can take advantage of to learn the basics of acting and also do some practising. Many actors and actresses started off with acting in church plays, school plays and the likes.
3. Build Your Networks
In the entertainment industry you cannot do without networks or contacts, you can not do it all alone, you need the assistance of those who have gone before you or on the same path as you are. You can get your networks by building relationships with serious and focused actors and actresses, people who have the same goals as you.
Building networks in the movie industry helps you get access to important information that may not be available on mainstream media, information such as when auditions are too be held, which roles are available, and when acting jobs become available.
However, aspiring actors and actresses need to be careful not to fall into the hands of fraudsters. Also, in a bid to build contacts and get roles you should not put yourself in compromising situations, such as acting questionable roles because of a promise of better roles in the future. This always has a way of backfiring in the face if the actor/actress.
Another way of building networks is by joining a credible and supportive organisation for actors, or better still an agency if you can afford it. Credible agencies that have a good track record over a period of time. There are such agencies in Nigeria who can provide contract jobs from movie companies or who outsource actors and actresses for such companies.
Most agencies normally charge some service fees, while others might charge a certain percentage of what you earn from the jobs they provide for you. This depends on the agreement that you have with them. The job of the agency is to help get you auditions which could lead to acting jobs.The first jobs your agent may get you, may be small roles but with time, bigger roles will come up.
4. Go for Auditions
You could also increase your chances of getting roles by going for auditions whenever they are available. This is one of the importance of being part of an agency, as they will help you get information on when auditions become available. Most of the movie stars we have today got their breakthrough through auditions.
To get access to as many auditions as possible you need to be at the right place at the right time. This is dependent on location, so an aspiring actor or actress must be based at the right location. For example, in Nigeria the headquarters of Nollywood is located in Lagos, as such aspiring actors/actresses would need to be based in Lagos to maximise their chances of hearing about and going for auditions, which in turn increases their chances of getting roles in movies.
In conclusion I would like to state categorically that the journey to joining Nollywood will definitely not be a rosy one, just as nothing in life is a bed of roses. It is bound to filled with ups and downs. So apart from being talented, any aspiring actor or actress needs to be very hardworking, resolute, tenacious, determined and not easily discouraged, this is because there is bound to be disappointments along the way.
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But if one is able to stay focused, and keep improving on his or her talent, the sky will definitely be the limit. Also, it is necessary for any such upcoming actor or actress to find other temporary jobs they can engage to keep body and soul together, while trying to find their footing in the movie industry.
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