BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Do you want your career to last long in this industry? Do you see the long and amazing careers of the likes of Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic or Mercy Johnson and hope to have something that good?
Good. Oya read.
1. DON’T START OUT TRYING TO BE A SOCIAL MEDIA SENSATION.
It’s easy to get carried away with the social media hype – especially Instagram and Twitter. But as a starter, don’t concentrate your efforts on becoming the biggest thing on social media. Work hard, build your career – one brick at a time – and the social media heavyweight title will come.
The good thing about Richard Mofe Damijo and the superstars of his ilk is that they started out when there wasn’t the distraction of social media. They faced their work and put in the hustle. Social media can make you lazy at times and also make you think you’re better and more popular than you are.
Mercy Johnson joined Genevieve Nnaji in the over 1 million social media followers club and one thing similar to both superstar actresses is that they started out building their iconic statuses when social media wasn’t a thing. Now, they are one of the very few actors who have mammoth followership on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
If you want to be a Bobrisky, face being a Bobrisky. If you want to emulate RMD or Genevieve Nnaji, get your head out of the social media cloud and grow your acting craft.
2. HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.
Yes, you are a fantastic actor. When you stand in front of the mirror, the world stops to watch you. You are the best after Thespis.
But hey, hear, nobody wants to work with an actor whose attitude sucks. Be humble. Be approachable. Be open to learning. Never, at any point, think you have learnt all the things you need to learn. Remember that a film needs over 200 professions. It is a collaborative endeavour and every person (element) is just as important.
If your attitude sucks, you might be able to gather some followership here and there, but you will never become a legend.
3. Get the right MANAGEMENT TEAM OR GO SOLO.
How far you will go in your career depends, not only on your talent, but also on who you entrust your talent to. Put it in the hands of the wrong person or set of people and your career will die an unnatural death.
If you cannot find the right guys, go solo. There’s no rule book that says you cannot be great being on your own. Our industry has not reached a point where an actor will struggle by being on their own.
Rumour has it that a popular actor was approached for AM Hush but he told them to speak with his manager. And due to the history that manager has with clients, the Hush people just went ahead to approach other people. If this is by any chance true, I’m pretty certain that the actor is harbouring secret regrets.
Thing is, most of these so-called managers/management teams need management themselves. Many of them don’t know how the industry works. They need to learn some manners and some sense too. A lot of them are yer das.
4. NEVER LET AWARDS FOOL YOU.
It’s easy to get fooled after the your first award. You start to tell yourself that you have arrived. On your next job, you are not compelled to give 100%. “After all, I am the current best actor in Africa,” you tell yourself.
RMD won an AMAA in 2005 but you will agree with me that he has produced even more brilliant performances since then. He didn’t hesitate to lose weight for his portrayal of Gunpowder in the Oloibiri.
5. YOU’RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST WORK.
Your performance in a film that was made four years ago was exceptional. But in the three that have come after, you have been quite mediocre. The fault, my friend, is yours and no one else’s. Don’t get it twisted, what you are at the moment is what you put in on the last job. Take a look at your last performance and seek to do better.
6. YOU ARE A PRODUCT, EVOLVE WITH TIME.
See yourself as a product. Ask yourself regularly, “What do my customers want?” Discover it, give it to them and you will remain a fan favourite for a long time. Don’t be stuck in the ways of the past.
RMD staged a grand entrance into the filmmaking scene about three decades ago. He has evolved. When he took a seven-year break from the scene, he came back and continued as if he never left. Seven years is a long time to be absent in Nollywood. In fact, his absence coincided with when the filmmaking-for-cinema movement was becoming a thing.
But he has comeback to not only reclaim a strong spot on the big screens but also on TV.
7. NEVER BECOME TOO ARROGANT FOR YOUR FANS.
Considering their levels of stardom, it’s easy for RMD, Genevieve Nnaji, Mercy Johnson or Rita Dominic to believe that they can get themselves into unnecessary clapbacks and social media wars and get away with it. But he consciously avoids putting on the garment of a keyboard warrior.
Granted, being a celebrity in Nigeria is not a funny something. Your patience and home-training will be tested. But never fall into that trap. There might be no coming back from that abyss.
Fans make a star, and it may shock you to know, most of them are not even that active on social media.