When I joined this industry over a decade ago, I set certain goals for myself- something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone unless you promise to keep setting new goals each time you achieve one. That’s the way it should be. Conquer one, set your sights on another. With good direction and advice, I proposed to work with certain directors and actors and as I did, I think I became complacent. Yep. It weakened my strength and watered down my drive. I didn’t do it right. One by one, I ticked their names out as they entered my log book. Some I even worked with over and over again. In my mind I had been there, done that… well, a few still eluded me and because I had achieved the many, I rested on my oars.
Years later, as I got wiser and was able to rekindle my drive, I had set my sights on new goals. Some were a “spin off” of those that had eluded me. In fact this was particularly the case. Having looked forward to working with this person, years later when I had come into my own, I got a call then a script. It was beautiful. .. We had issues with the end, but it wasn’t anything that could not be worked on. I met with the director who particularly liked the fact that I had a pure undiluted Nigerian accent- one of my very proud talents which I wear boldly. Anyway, we had an awesome reading and I had the role. The only thing left was remuneration. ..or so I thought. Negotiations went back and forth with my Abuja based management quite unhappy but I wanted to play this role!
Finally, the producer called to sincerely apologize. I couldn’t get what we agreed on because “budget was tight”. Please remind me to tell you a story about tight budget later. Anyway, the offer had dropped slightly. I immediately opted to drop out.
A year later, the movie was out. I saw it in the theatre. It was a good one. I called to congratulate the producer. Few months later I got a call and an offer. We went back and forth about schedule and remuneration. It fell dead again!
See, as someone who had managed to re arouse my mojo and set new targets on choice of filmmakers and choice of scripts to work on, I should have felt something was wrong. Maybe I should lower on payment demanded. Maybe I should just keep saying yes. But I felt nothing of the sort. Even more surprising, I still had tons of respect for this producer. We once again nicely said our goodbyes. A month later I get a call, this time from the oga kpata kpata at the top. Lol. A well grounded, professional and highly successful producer who called to apologize on behalf of the other producer and re open negotiations.
Brothers and sisters in the Lord, we didn’t even need to talk on phone. We already had an idea of fees and so a few SMSes sealed the deal. Working was as seamless as ever with mutual respect for each other and the job at hand. It was then I learned that money had not quite been the issue in the past. There were too many other “things” and so even if I had called back to say I was accepting the lower offer, I would have been turned down! Can you beat that?!
At some point, I even needed to jet out to another set during the production. It was all arranged favorably. It’s true after all. When the time is right, it’s right and it will happen when it should happen. Don’t force it. Please don’t try to manipulate it. Don’t get me wrong, this is just a sample story. I have tried the other approach and it bit me hard in the behind. I have since learnt.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…. abeg be desperate and pushy when you have to be o. But know when to draw the line. You nor come count bridge for Lagos.