Isaac Ayodeji

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Skinny Girl in Transit writer Lani Aisida talks Screenwriting in Nigeria 2

Lani Aisida has been a part of prominent shows like Unbroken, Battleground, Skinny Girl in Transit, Phases and Rumour Has It. He also behind the African Stories Untold platform on YouTube and the goal is to break the culture of silence prominent in this part of the world.  This is the concluding part of an hour long conversation with him on screenwriting within the Nigerian context. The first part of the interview which focused primarily on his experiences writing on the hit show Skinny Girl in Transit can be read here. Filmkaku: What makes a good story? I know there’s the regular response of great dialogue, character, tone and so on. But is there a particularity to your definition?  Lani Aisida:  First, I’d say that at the heart of any good story is conflict. Without conflict, there’s no story at all. But taking into consideration the Nigerian context, the definition becomes a…

Skinny Girl in Transit Writer Lani Aisida talks Screenwriting

An inspired poet would probably describe the screenwriting process as a journey that starts with a pulsing flicker in the darker depths of the mind, later presenting as a chaotic lake of fire for long spells, before settling as an impressionable piece of art deserving of appreciation. The screenwriting process will forever continue to generate conversations and varying schools of thought because the uncontested  truth is that the screenplay is the soul of any movie.  Legendary filmmaker Sydney Lumet (Network, The Verdict) was famous for his visceral interest in the writing process of all his films. He sat with his writers and asked questions he’d also riddled his mind with for weeks: What is the story about? What did you see? What was your intention? Ideally, if we do this well, what do you hope the audience will feel, think, sense? In what mode do you want them to leave…

The Lost Okoroshi Co-Writer Discusses Storytelling and Masquerades Part 3

The concluding segment of the interview sees Africa Ukoh zone in further and harder on the need to take training seriously in our industry. It’s amazing to think conversations about his play, his critically acclaimed screenplays and craft as a whole has spawned over three weeks of weighty tips, opinions, advice and ideas. You can catch up on the first two parts of the interview here and here before moving on to read the fitting end to the interview: Filmkaku: One thing that’s obvious from your posts on social media is your strong advocacy for training for not just writers, but every department in the filmmaking craft. You are strongly opposed to shortcuts and gambling past barriers. Are these views coming from a place of dissatisfaction with the quality of writing in the industry or it’s just you trying to teach? Africa Ukoh:  One reason why I’m insistent on the…

The Lost Okoroshi Co-writer discusses Storytelling and Masquerades Part 2

Last week, FilmKaku began an interview with Africa Ukoh, talking about his journey as a writer and the screenwriting craft as a whole. We waded past 54 silhouettes to Green White Green to Masquerades to Lost Okoroshi before pulling up at his complete indifference to labels easily branded on filmmakers these days. You can read that here.  This week, we dive deeper into the craft. Enjoy. FilmKaku: You have worked with Abba Makama twice? Does that suggest a chemistry, shared sensibilities? Do you have to share sensibilities with a collaborator to create something good? Africa Ukoh: Once the scenario is boxed into the ideal then yes, shared sensibilities is just perfect. The more interesting scenario is outside the ideal. FK: What’s your stance outside the ideal? Let’s say you have to work with a director or producer who isn’t as invested in the holistic storytelling process, how do you handle…

The Lost Okoroshi Co-Writer discusses Storytelling and Masquerades Part 1

Who’s looking forward to catching The Lost Okoroshi soon? For years, a good number of film lovers in Nigeria have continually asked for two things: increased global acclaim for our movies and artistic expressions beyond lighthearted fare. The Lost Okoroshi provided both. The impressive BFI London Film Festival 2019 selection was followed by its viral trailer that easily communicated its premise: a regular city jobber wakes up one morning garbed as a Traditional Igbo masquerade and must survive. That wasn’t all that stood out. There was the trademark surrealism of Director Abba Makama, the grittiness that spoke to the soul of the typical Nigerian city and the artistic sensibility obvious through the music, mood and colour scheme. The minds behind the scripts are Director Abba Makama and critically acclaimed screenwriter Africa Ukoh. This same duo was behind Green White Green, a coming of age satirical comedy that screened at the Toronto International…

What these Screenwriters think about Nigerian Sitcoms

Situational Comedies (Sitcoms) used to be built around small communities of unilateral characters embroiled in everyday situations, employing slapstick actions and reactions to evoke laughter from the audience (or laugh tracks). But over the years, there’s been an expansion to accommodate more nuanced characters, less cartoonish contexts and subtle social commentary that has seen the genre expand into something more than half an hour of laughing exercise.  This evolution isn’t as defined in the Nigerian context but it is there. A study of comic tentpoles over the years like Papa Ajasco, Fuji house of commotion, Face to Face, Jenifa’s Diary and The Johnsons illustrate the gradual nuancing of characters, situations and contexts that’s consistent with what gives these days. To dive deeper into the state of sitcoms in Nigeria, Filmkaku interviewed Africa Ukoh, Anthony Kehinde Joseph, Debola Ogunshina and Taiwo Egunjobi for their views on what is and isn’t working for…

Dami Orimogunje reveals his favourite films

With films like Family, Mo and Losing my Religion, Dami Orimogunje has shown his fine taste in cinema, referencing obvious influences in his personal project from a diverse appreciation of global cinema. When Filmkaku spoke with him about his work, he expectedly punctuated some of his points with references to his favourite films listed below. The cumulative total reflects a deep interest in foreign language dramas, usually about couples facing external and internal crises. Amour by Michael Haneke This German film tells the story of an Octogenarian couple, George and Anne grappling with a debilitating stroke. Slated as a painful and personal drama, Orimogunje references this film more than any other film as an example of simple but powerful storytelling. Check our trailer here Ida by Pawel Pawlikoski Set in 1962 Poland, Ida is about a young woman about to take vows as a nun when she learns from her…

Six Fundraising Tips for Young Filmmakers from the Director of Payday

The year was 2018. Nollywood finally got wind of the impending arrival of Payday, a different kind of comedy, after winning big at the International Festival of Detective Films and Television in Moscow, Russia. Even more striking was that the director, Cheta Chukwu, was a relative unknown at the time of the film’s release. Critics praised the fresh attempt at humour, the cinematography, the creatively arrogant use of colours and a timely introduction into a relatively new world. Cheta’s sudden ascent into mainstream Nigerian cinema is one of many good examples available for upcoming filmmakers to study.  Prior to the big break, Cheta was the archetypal young filmmaker: passionate, energetic and swelling with big ideas to stun the industry.  All that prevented an actualization of his big dreams was money. He’d gone from door to door, armed with his ideas and infectious energy, pitching ideas endlessly but it mostly ended…

Six Filmmaking Tips from Imoh Umoren

At a special BAFTA: A Life in Pictures Event, Ridley Scott told filmmakers present that they had no excuses not to go out and make a movie. He cited the availability of modern technologies as 70% of previously daunting barriers eliminated. Typical of the average Nigerian filmmaker, it is easy to assume that the context over there is different from ours by pointing out to the familiar mitigating factors, but the truth remains that there has never been a better time for the Nigerian filmmaker to make a film. Cameras of different types are available just about everywhere. Even better, the average smart phone can conveniently shoot and as well edit films. Film Kaku recently had an interview with Nigerian Filmmaker, Imoh Umoren, where his filmmaking journey was discussed. The director of Children of Mud, The Herbert Macaulay Affair and Dear Bayo certainly knows a lot about working your way…

What Yemi Amodu’s Owo Eje teaches us about Storytelling

It’s common knowledge that the whodunit-mystery genre is undergoing a low-key revival on big screens lately. First there was Kenneth Branagh’s Murder On the Orient Express (2017) followed by Kyle Newacheck’s Murder Mystery (2019) on Netflix, Rian Johnson’s critically acclaimed crowd pleaser Knives out (2019) and a forthcoming Death on the Nile (2020) adaptation. Back home, we had Catch.er by Walt Banger released in 2017 to favourable reviews. Even within our indigenous movie circuits, Yoruba especially, there’s been an interesting resurgence of uniformed policemen with coloured character traits trying to make sense of mysterious murder cases. But before all these (the mysterious demise of the genre and the gradual resurgence), there was Owo Eje, a murder mystery movie directed by Yemi Amodu and released in 2005, that caused quite a stir within the Yoruba audience. Adapted from a Kola Akinlade novel published in 1976, Owo Eje retains elements fans of…

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