You love movies. You’re passionate about capturing magical moments. You saw Phone Swap not for Wale Ojo’s good looks or eloquence but for its interesting picture quality.
If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider becoming a film maker (if you haven’t already). As a matter of fact, you might already have a couple of great ideas rolling around in your head, just waiting to be executed. But how do you get started?
The professional world of film-makiing can be pretty tough, especially in Nigeria – ask Kemi Adetiba. But like every career path, there’s no tried-and-true path to success. However, the good news is that there are many, many ways to break into the film world. Here are just a few to get you started.
Take some classes
Movie plots—at least Nollywood plots—have a particular format and structure that people in the industry expect to see, and it’s important that you’re aware of these expectations. The best way to learn is to take a film-making course, which you can often find at film academies or arts centers.
If you know without a doubt that film-making is your destiny, definitely consider taking courses and some training. Del-York Creative Academy, PEFTI Film Institute, HD Film Academy are some of the great places in Nigeria get practical and professional training.
Join a film-makers’ group
Even if you feel like you’re churning out short clips of a soon-to-be-AMA-winning film, a group can do you a lot of good—especially when you look at those same clips a few days later and determine that they’re not as genius as you’d thought.
A group can provide feedback on various elements of your film. Perhaps the biggest bonus: Sharing your work with a group can give you some advance insight into the ways an audience will interpret your work.
Become an Insider
As in many professions, film makers rely on already established networks to get their work out there. This is great if you’re already well connected, but let’s face it: most starters aren’t, especially in such a hard-to-break-into Nigerian industry. So, if you’re one of the connectionless ones, you need to start meeting people in the entertainment world.
The good news is, this isn’t limited to just producers and directors like the Kunle Afolayans. Try taking on an internship or a job in an entertainment-related field— film production studios and talent agencies. In return, you will learn more about the film world than you ever imagined. More importantly, get to know the people you work with.
Start putting your stuff out there
Maybe it’s time to start sending those clips or documentaries out into the world. There are well-known film-making competitions, like the African International Film Festival, Afronolly Short Film Competition, iREPRESENT (iREP) International Documentary Film Festival that will allow you to enter your film. And reaching a high level in such competitions can be a great way to get you industry notice.
Or, if you know a trusted person at a talent agency or management firm, send your work over for a review. If they like it, they may offer to represent you—and having an agent or manager can make your life much easier.
Another good option is taking your work into your own hands—gathering your friends and producing your film yourself. Hey, a lot of interesting things can be done these days with a cheap camera, some dedicated actors, and a YouTube channel!
Best of luck, and happy filming!