I went for a reading for a small budget feature film for a foundation.
(Meanwhile, every movie here is “small budget” o. I guess all producers go to the same production school where they are taught that that is the most valuable line when negotiating with talents.)
The minute I accepted to do the job, I realized I had to accept the frustrations that come with “abeg work”…
The first day for me would have been annoying. But I’ve been here long enough to also arrange myself. I had been told that my bits, which were only in three different locations, would be rounded up in three days.
Please ehn, make I digress small. My dear producers, I beg you with Jehovah, if you have done your script breakdown, with designated time at every location, always give an extra three days for safety. One for acts of God, the second for acts of humans and the third for acts of witches. If you truly fear God sef, you could even throw in a fourth for “Acts of the apostles.” The “apostles” are those you truly believe to be on your side, they have your back, they keep your secrets and mean well.
Please take note that I said ” …those you TRULY BELIEVE to be…”
When you vehemently assure an actor or crew member that you would round up at such a time, based on that, he could accept another job to start a day after the agreed date.
Back to the matter. Three locations drastically cuts down problems associated with logistics while filming. So honestly, three/four days should suffice if the pre-production is well thought through. But as a God fearing somebody, I gave them seven days.
DAY 1: I resumed at 7am. We didn’t start prepping to shoot until 3:10pm: 8 hours later. Shebi UN regulates 8 hours as a full working day?
(As part of arranging myself, I learnt from Uncle Zach Orji to give 12 full hours to allow for the aforementioned “acts”. So, if I resume at 6 am, I close at 6pm. If I resume at 12 noon, I close at midnight.)
As I just try to complain small the PM responded “Ah mama. Even if we no shoot today, we still get six days nah” I’m almost sure I staggered where I was sat. Are they serious? Do they truly intend to use up the seven days?
I have enter one chance be that.
Worse still he says, “I’m glad you gave your word for seven days. I really appreciate mama.”
On a certain day, it rained cats and dogs. The sound engineer was not comfortably without interior shoot. Alas, we also could not shoot exteriors nor establishments either as the downpour was heavy. ACT OF GOD, abi?
On another day, we had “area boys” wahala. The touts in the vicinity had formed a gang and insisted that shoot wouldn’t go on until they were settled. We all began to scream at the Production Manager to do something about it so work could continue, only to hear that the “oga” had been settled but refused to give some to his boys. We had to change location. ACTS OF WITCHES, ba?
The last day was allocated for the hospital shots and one of the actors didn’t turn up for work. She was a child actor and so relied on her mom or sister to bring her to work. We tried without success to reach her mom by phone. It was switched off. Her “sister” finally got in touch at about 4pm to say she thought we were done with filming, as wrong information was passed either by the Production Manager or the coordinator. She apologized and promised to bring her tomorrow: When we could no longer shoot at that hospital. ACTS OF HUMANS, you say?
By the 12th day into production, virtually every actor (myself inclusive) and crewmember had had a running with the Producer who was new to the job. I mean new to the industry. While he relied rather heavily on the PM to handle the whole production, he felt there were areas where money needed to be saved.
He cut down food to about N80 a plate, (and it still never arrived on time, and when it did, they complained about how horrible it was), moved the crew to a small run down hotel that had more mosquitoes than a swamp and insisted that everyone work the overtime without recourse to renegotiations. That didn’t go down well and cause a bit of a stir.
By the 21st day, I rounded up my own scenes and the movie was not yet completed. No one felt covered and so everyone refused to cover for other departments, as is the norm. Even the director, who hired the producer, had had enough and was no longer “top form”. He was fired and granted associate producer credit.
That there, is an ACT OF THE APOSTLES.