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Production & Manufacturing

How to Start Film Production and Movie Directing Business in Nigeria

The emergence of film in Nigeria which dates back to the late 19th century and into the colonial era in the 20th century, has brought about the development of various industries which contributes in one way or the other, to the sustenance and continuous production of high quality films in Nigeria.

Some of these industries or companies include the various film academies, movie theatres, cinemas, and film production firms.

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Film academies are present in several states across the country while majority of the popular ones are located in major industrial cities such as Lagos and Abuja.

Read Also: Film Production Companies in Nigeria

How to Start Film Production and Movie Directing Business in Nigeria
Production and Movie Directing Business in Nigeria – Photo Source: http://venturesafrica.com

One interesting fact about these movie acting schools is that most of them are owned and run by pioneer and popular Nollywood actors and actresses.

For example; Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts (LAPA) was founded by Joke Silva and Olu Jacobs and is accredited by the National Board of Technical Education of Nigeria (NBTE).

Read Also: History of Films in Nigeria

They have produced several movie stars since they came into existence. Notable alumi of the academy include Abiodun KassimOmoye ‘Brownie’ UzamereAyobami Ajike and Orji Ibe.

Another example is Yul Edochie Academy which is a subsidiary of Yul Edochie Arts World, a reputable and redefined academy for acting, and a training ground for actors/actresses with visions of training the next generation of actors owned by our very own Yu Edochie, son of the reputable and legendary actor – Pete Edochie.

The main focus of this article will be on how to start your own film production and movie directing business in Nigeria.

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In order to start film production, you must have the following things in place

  1. Capital
  2. Script
  3. Equipments
  4. Staffs or crew members
  5. Actors and actress etc.

The budget for film production varies depending on the type of film one has in mind.

In this article, I’ll also state some examples of low budget movies and high budget movies.

According to Niyi Akinmolayan, there are four types of Nollywood budgets:

1. Very Low Budget

These budgets fall within 2-3million naira. They are the films mostly called Asaba; which should never be used derogatorily. Films made solely for DVDs and VCDs will fall under this category.

They are also likely to make it to some streaming websites like irokoTV or a cable TV like African Magic Igbo or AFMAG yoruba for a small price.

What they lack in production value, they compensate for in excessive melodrama and comedy which people love. Most of the marketing is via posters. For example, “The Champion” is a very low budget film.

Read Also: History of Nollywood Film Industry

2. Low Budget

These will fall within 4-6million. Usually they would never exceed 5million except the producer wants to spend a little on marketing and publicity.

These films target Web streaming platforms and Cable channels mostly.  They would usually try to make good looking family dramas or comedy that can earn some good money on those platforms.

They are able to use at least one popular face amongst other upcoming ones. They would most likely sell DVDs too. For example, “Clueless” is a low budget film loved on IrokoTV.

3. High Budget

This usually will range from 7-15million. 90% of all the films in Nigerian cinema were made at this budget range. For now, this is the Cinema safe zone for optimal profitability.

These films can get good cinema time slots and if the marketing is well done, coupled with a good story, can last up to 4 weeks in cinema.

Some have even managed to cross 6 weeks. After the cinema run, the producer can bargain for good deals with cable TV stations and web platforms, even NETFLIX.

The films can also make it to festivals abroad because most festivals would consider them art-house type films. For example, “Out of Luck” is a high budget film.

4. Very High Budget

Any film above 30million is a very high budget Nollywood film. It’s very risky but if done right, can be very profitable.

These films would usually have high production values, A-list cast, maybe even some international cast and crew members, multi-platform marketing and publicity and even international premieres. For example, “76” is a very high budget movie. $2m!

Now that you’ve known the various budgets from which you can build your movie with, let’s proceed to the business part of it.

Read Also: 10 Challenges Facing Nigeria Film Industry and Possible Solutions

Film production is like every other business, so, you’ll have to set up your own company by:

1. Choosing a business name and registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC (do a quick Google and IMDB search to make sure no one else has already grabbed it. If they have, you need to change it).

2. Getting a company bank account

3. Getting a website – which should preferably have the company name as its URL

4. Registering your social media profiles: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Making sure these profiles are available in your company’s name too. Also, start getting followers and likes.

5. Creating your own YouTube channel where you’ll be uploading trailers and start getting subscribers.

6. Getting a filmmaking team

Any production company of note has 4 key personnel. When you are starting your own film company you are in start-up phase.

You will deliver many if not all of these key roles yourself. As you grow and develop, and as your social media profiles kick into gear, you will start getting swamped with work, and you will need help.

Head of development – to find and assess scripts.

Head of production – to make sure the films are created on time and on budget.

Head of post-production – someone to navigate the technical thrills and spills of the edit, and make sure the long list of film deliverables are met.

Head of film sales and distribution – an increasingly key role. This person will supervise crowd-funding and self-distribution in addition to the traditional sales routes.

Actual filmmaking is divided into three stages namely:

  • Preproduction stage
  • Production stage
  • Postproduction stage

Read Also: How to Become a Movie Director in Nigeria

Pre-production Stage

This is where plans for the main movie production are made. It is in this stage that scripts are chosen. This stage is the longest of the trio since many things will be considered and plans on cutting cost will also be made too.

It is a known fact that every film production begins with a story idea, which may be either fictitious or based on real-life events.

A writer puts the story into script form. The script, also called the screenplay, may be revised numerous times before the final version called a shooting scripts is produced during this stage.

The shooting script contains the dialogue of the film as well as a brief description of the action that will take place. It also provides guidance for technical details, such as camera direction and transitions between scenes.

Another aspect of preproduction is storyboarding. A storyboard is a series of sketches depicting various sequences of the film, particularly those that involve action. Serving as a blueprint for the cinematographer, the storyboard saves much time during filming.

As director and screenwriter Frank Darabont says, “There’s nothing worse than standing around on the set wasting your shooting day trying to figure out where to put the camera.”

Many other issues must be settled during preproduction. For example, what locations will be used for filming? Will travel be required? How will interior sets be built and designed? Will costumes be needed?

Who will handle lighting, makeup, and hair? What about sound, special effects, and stunt work? These are just a sampling of the many aspects of movie making that need to be considered before a single frame of film is shot.

Read Also: 15 Best Movie Acting Schools in Nigeria

Production Stage

this is the stage where the main movie production takes place. It is a tedious, tiring and expensive stage. It requires a lot of dedication and seriousness and regardless of how serious or dedicated the crew are, it takes weeks to months to complete a film shoot.

Lighting crew, hairdressers, and makeup artists are among the first to arrive on the movie set. Each day of filming, stars may spend several hours being made ready for the camera. Then a long day of filming begins.

The director closely supervises the filming of each scene. Even a relatively simple scene can take all day to film. Most scenes in a movie are filmed with a single camera, and as a result, the scene will be done over and over again for each camera angle.

Additionally, each shot may need to be done repeatedly to get the best performance or to correct a technical problem.

Each of these attempts at filming is called a take. For bigger scenes, 50 or more takes may be required! Later—usually at the end of each shooting day—the director views all the takes and decides which ones should be saved

Post-production Stage

This is the stage where film footage is edited to form a cohesive motion picture. First, the audio track is synchronized with the film. Then, the editor assembles the raw footage into a preliminary version of the film production, called a rough cut.

Sound effects and visual effects are also added at this stage. Special-effects cinematography—one of the most complex elements of film making—is sometimes accomplished with the help of computer graphics. Also music or soundtracks are added and finally set for release to movie theatres, cinemas and for sale.

For the movie directing part of the business, movie producers can contact you through your contact details on your company website or any other means which you made available.

Also, you can get yourself an agent who will serve as the middleman and will also step in on your behalf and secure most of your directing jobs for you.

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Patrick Okon

Patrick Okon is a content developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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