I consider myself a very “homey” person.
My idea of fun could be wake up in the morning and do nothing…don’t even take a bath, just laze around on the couch watching TV and old classic movies while someone waits on you.
Abeg ehn, if you nor get money, this thing I write for up cannot pertain to you at all o. Go work! LOL
But seriously, for as long as I have known me, I have always liked to be back home. No matter how long an event or even shoot drags on.
The first thing I always wanted to find out was where the primary shoot location would be so I could plan my route back home to my family house in Gbagada. I didn’t have a car back then.
I remember once I was filming alongside Zack Orji in Victoria Island. We had shot late into the night and the producer; Kingsley Ukegbu had arranged for a room in a nearby hotel so I could sleep over. Ernest Obi; my very good friend who was directing laughed hard at him, insinuating he had wasted his time as he knew I would prefer to go home. Kingsley, soon realizing I never camp during his productions, then arranged for a cab instead. Luckily for me, Uncle Zack dropped me home on his way to Surulere that night.
Same happened once when I was filming with Rita and Neville Ossai was directing. I guess you could say I was building a known pattern so that whatever production I worked on, I was either released on time or given the taxi fare to get me back home.
So, I was to play a lead role in a certain movie. After I sat with the producer to negotiate fee, I had to object to his method of a 50% up front payment.
Normally, depending on your growth and credibility within the industry, a 100% is paid to your account before you even get on set.Here I was with a story I liked and had potentials to do well. But I was sat before it’s producer who was swearing by all the gods he knew that the budget was tight. If I get 50% now and 50% later, I figured it would not give me the full value of the money’s worth.
Let me ask you dear reader, did your mother ever advise you against rejecting a meal when you are angry? Well, it is the same principle with money.
Always collect your money whenever and however you can! Even if in tit-bits. If you are given a cheque, cash it or pay it in asap! Money fit finish for the account before you decided to go collect am.
If you are offered a 50 or whatever percent upfront, as long as you accept to do the work, collect your money o… Argue, protest, but collect your money. Well, that is if you hate to hear stories that touch! I cannot recount how many balances I am owed in this industry.
Against the producer’s insistence, I refused.
We began work. He had been advised that I wouldn’t camp so the producer didn’t bother with hotel booking.
All through productions, I watched the spending. In my mind, I was trying to protect my artiste fee which had not been collected.
A few hitches here and there as expected, work dragged but moved on.
On what was to be my last day on set, I informed the Producer to ensure that he had my money ready so that once I finished, I’d get paid and head home. Alas! The day dragged and by the time I shot my last scene it was well past 10pm. I took off my costume and was good to go.
The producer handed me my pay 100% complete. I smiled. It wasn’t much, but it was complete. The producer looked at me.
“Just stay in camp for tonight. You can leave first thing tomorrow”. I sighed. “Nah. If you are worried about paying for my taxi, don’t bother yourself”
“Not at all. Here is your cab fare. I just assume it’s safer”
I blew everyone kisses as I walked to the road to get a taxi, hopped in one and I was gone.
Less than 20 minutes later, my cab pulled back to the same spot. Luckily for me, they were still filming there.
I was beside myself with fear. I was shaking.
“What happened”? the producer asked me, surprised to see me again.
“I just got robbed. I have nothing. Phone, money, house keys. All gone!”
He rubbed his head in confusion and disbelief as he turned to the cabman who was by now nodding pretty much like a lizard.
“Ufuoma! Ahhhh!” He expression suddenly turned to anger.
“Sometimes ehn, make you dey hear word”.
As I opened my mouth to protest that I always preferred to be back home, he said
“Your whole artiste fee is gone!”