BY ANDREW OKE
The Nollywood Interweb has been blowing up for the past few days over a case of suspected plagiarism. As most people already know, Niyi Akinmolayan (The Arbitration, Falling) is in the process of making a short film; Room 315. He has been streaming table readings and making the whole creative process a very public one, claiming that he is making history.
The script for the film is written by Abosi Ogba and it tells the story of a psychiatrist, his patients and the incidents and situations that link all of them.
Not long after word of the short began spreading, word of a possible case of plagiarism with respect to its story and script started making the rounds on social media and the blogosphere. The work of art that was allegedly “stolen” and turned into Room 315 is the 2015 web series created, written and directed by Wana Udobang coincidentally titled Room 313. Even more of a coincidence is the fact that Room 313 also takes place in the office of a psychiatrist and shows different patients during their therapy sessions.
Now all the internets are burning to the ground and people have split into two factions; The Finger Waggers who believe that Niyi Akinmolayan plagiarised the story/script & The Voltrons who come to the defence of Niyi Akinmolayan, claiming he did no wrong and believe that Wana Udobang (along with the other finger waggers) should take several seats.
Since the accusations started flying around, there have been a number of blog posts and Twitter threads arguing for both sides and causing a lot of pandemonium, making it difficult for most people to sieve through the irrelevant nonsense, to come to rational conclusions and form reasonable opinions on the matter. I decided to read the script by Abosi Ogba and watch the web series by Wana Udobang to create my own opinion, and after doing that, I have come to the conclusion that the entire issue is a complete and utter waste of time as both works of art are completely different.
Saying that the two are completely different does not mean that they do not have some similarities; namely their eerily similar titles and the fact that they are both set in a psychiatrist’s office. However, save for those minute similarities, absolutely nothing about the two projects are in anyway similar. The characters are completely different. The stories are completely different. They don’t even have the same premise. So this really makes me wonder how anyone would think that Room 315 is just a knock off of Room 313. Maybe it’s a different Room 313 I watched by some other Wana Udobang, because it is shocking how any tangible/important similarities can be seen.
The fact that two films/works of art are set in the same location and have similar names does not mean that there has been foul play. Armageddon and Deep Impact were both released in 1998. Both films have similar settings and almost the same premises, but they could not be any more different in terms of story, characters, tone and style. The same can be said of two hugely popular sitcoms who have the exact same premise, but could not be any more different; Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Both are about 20-somethings navigating life and love in New York City, but both are completely different, because of the characters, stories and tone.
Yes, both titles are rather similar, but that doesn’t matter either, to be honest. White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen are almost practically the same title and both have similar premises, but both are two completely different movies.
What I’m trying to say is that all the talk of plagiarism is just a load of nonsense, because the stories and characters in Room 313 and Room 315 are in no way similar and it’s frustrating that so many people are arguing and slinging mud all over the internets because of this. Niyi Akinmolayan and Wana Udobang need to talk on the phone and resolve all this, because I’m just about done with seeing this non-issue clog up my timeline.