BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Somewhere. Sometime. Two people.
ME: Good afternoon sir.
PROFESSIONAL: Good day, how are you?
ME: I’m very well, thank you.
PROFESSIONAL: What can I do for you?
ME: My name is ‘Segun Odejimi. I’m with True Nollywood Stories. TNS.
PROFESSIONAL: [changes countenance] Oh… that Segun…? I know you, you are the trouble maker from that trouble making platform. I read all the rubbish you people write.
ME: Well… we try to fulfil our mandate the best way…
PROFESSIONAL: And your mandate is to look for trouble, abi? And to say this film and that film is bad. And say this person did not walk well? You people are just constituting a nuisance to the industry. We don’t have the time for you people yet. Let’s finish this MOPICON thing first…
ME: That’s why I’m here sir. I see that you have been silent on this issue on social media even though you were quoted as saying somewhere that “those boys will see when we’re done with them.”
PROFESSIONAL: Of course, I said it and I mean it. You think I will deny because you’re TNS?
ME: No sir, I actually wanted to find out where you stand in all this.
PROFESSIONAL: Isn’t it clear? We need to rid the industry of miscreants and all those ones that call themselves filmmakers because they know how to use YouTube and Instagram. And MOPICON will help us.
ME: What do you mean by miscreants? Do you imply that there are thugs in Nollywood?
PROFESSIONAL: Yes! They are social media thugs. Facebook, Twitter, everywhere. Oh, they think we don’t see? Because they are young abi? Because their films go for festivals? Where were they when we were toiling for Nollywood without social media? Where were they when piracy was killing us with no cinema? Ehn? Now, because everything has become easy, they open their mouths up and down and shout filmmakers! We made the real films!
ME: Sir, your last film was made before Boko Haram started troubling Nigeria…
PROFESSIONAL: Meaning? Do you want me to be doing films every year? Or every two months?
ME: Well, I think it says a lot that it’s been a while.
PROFESSIONAL: My friend, look here. What do you know? At the point I realized that this industry needed to be sanitized, I stopped making films. I’m a professional. It is not just about posting photos on internet and going to red carpets.
ME: But at least, they are making films and the people love them.
PROFESSIONAL: That is why the industry needs regulation. They force what they do on the people. Do you see what they make films about these days? I even hear one made one about vampires and scarecrows. What nonsense!
ME: Have you seen it sir? It’s been getting some recognition.
PROFESSIONAL: Why should I? It’s an insult to what we worked for. See, I have been in this industry for almost two decades if not more and we have never had it this bad. Just because they read books, they think they can make films. It is not like that. How many people have they served? None. They do not belong to any guilds. They lack respect. They come to events and drag front seats with us. Everybody must belong to MOPICON and let’s see.
PROFESSIONAL: Oh what?
ME: Well, I think I see where this is coming from sir. You think they don’t regard you and your ilk enough. You want attention.
PROFESSIONAL: I don’t want attention. I want things to be done properly. All these kids. They just come with their America and Hollywood orientation. They don’t do things properly. They just know how to beg for votes on the internet to win awards.
ME: Well, they have the right to. The awards are voting-based.
PROFESSIONAL: Rubbish! Those yeye films that they do and win awards for.
ME: I think they try to do the films the right way. They are moving with the demands of technology. They are breaking boundaries. Trying things that were not previously considered possible by your filmmaking generation.
PROFESSIONAL: That’s why they are being more explicit in the films they make? They waste money on extravagant premieres. I hear one of them wants to premiere his film in the air. Waste of money! Where did he get the money from? The government needs to intervene. That’s what I told Lai Mohammed the other day.
ME: But sir…
PROFESSIONAL: MOPICON is here to stay. If they like, let them take their NO TO MOPICON to the moon. We will ensure the MOPICON bill is passed.
ME: I just think you’re bitter sir. And probably looking for some retirement benefit.
PROFESSIONAL: Who told you I’m about to retire? I’m a professional filmmaker.
ME: Then, make a film sir. A good one.
PROFESSIONAL: [storms off, Omawumi style]
ME: Well, this conversation didn’t end the way we hoped but…