No. 3, December 28, 2015 All Rights Reserved
Every end of year, all the truth benders rush out with their top ten “this and that” to appear like we keep and publish transparent records in this part of the world when in fact WE DO NOT. Most if not all end of year top listings rely heavily on the writer or publishers’ opinions, not on any verifiable numbers or records for the industry. This is no credible way to conduct serious business and Nollywood must come to terms with the fact that the film industry will not thrive without accurate and transparent records. Any film industry that is unable to keep and publish accurate records will never reach its true growth potential.
The end of year lists have become a dangerous trend perpetuated by people either looking to be relevant or seeking to genuinely make sense of the disorder in the Nigerian entertainment industry. The danger is that investors and even some foreign press have started relying on lists with the bogus belief that writers have carried out due diligence before publishing. Truthfully, any discerning investor can immediately see through these highfalutin lists because none is based on any quantifiable and/or identifiable formula. Even worse are the five to ten-sentence meaningless blurbs written to justify inclusion in such lists.
For example, what qualifies a film to be included on Deoye Falade’s 2015 Top Nollywood films? In my humble opinion, even the writer does not know so we are all left guessing why Franklyn Ogar’s Soldier’s Story is not included in the list but Stanley Ohikuare’s Common Man, a film that barely made it off the pages of the Internet is. Frankly, these lists are cosmetic at best and a serious-minded producer or person cannot rely on them to make decisions regarding how much to invest in a film, which actors to hire or how much to pay cast or crew.
To fully understand my gripe, check out this site to see how much work other industries put in before making such lists public. http://www.the-numbers.com/bankability. It is systematic, time-consuming and labour intensive. To begin to reach these goals for our industry, it is important that the Buhari government quickly embark on instituting a law that requires cinemas and distributors to publish the gross earnings of Nigeria films without the consent of producers. The law should even be retroactive to include all Nigerian films from 10 years ago. Making the records public will not only enable proper analysis, it will also protect the public from the constant barrage of lies by industry practitioners.
The guilds can and should push this agenda both at Senate and Assembly levels but I doubt they will. Through the years, guilds have for the most part lacked leaders who truly understand the importance of the numbers game in an industry such as Nollywood. This lack of vision has contributed to the stagnation in the industry and I don’t know how electing Ralph Nwadike as President of the Association of Movie Producers is going to change the trend. Real money will only enter Nollywood when “ndi feem” start keeping proper records. Till then, there is no official way of knowing what film earned what and which actors are the top actors.
Goodbye to 2015 and may we have a better 2016! Happy holidays.