Taiwo Egunjobi

10 Posts Back Home

Learning from failure in Nollywood

Everyone loves stories. They are basic to our survival as a people, regardless of culture and nationality. But eeking a career out of telling stories can be a thankless task. Most people fail; a reality that hits even harder in the chronically volatile Nigerian film industry teeming with the young and old, eager and passionate, most of whom are, sadly, broke. It is easy to fail and many stop after a few attempts at battling the tide. Nobody sets out to fail, and while that grim eventuality is nothing anybody wants to be rooted in,  the truth is we can learn from failure and actually become better versions of ourselves. The greatest people in history were failures at some point in their journeys. Different fields are rife with stories of inspiring comebacks from setbacks that we can always check out to glean some  confidence and encouragement at low moments. Nollywood…

Isioma Osaje: 7 Ways To Producing Nollywood Blockbusters

While it’s no easy task producing movies anywhere in the world, making them in Nigeria remains an especially different prospect. The myriad structural and systemic problems producers and other players in the craft have to grapple with, somehow, continues to coexist with the reality that Nollywood remains one of the largest film industries in the world. It’s indeed a testament to the durability and tenacity of Nigerian producers who, despite the odds, continue to churn out quality. One of the many fighters against the tide is Isioma Osaje, a producer who has managed the rare feat of being involved in different capacities in nearly all the highest grossing Nollywood films in the past decade.  Familiar titles include, The Set Up, Your Excellency, Up North, New Money, Castle & Castle and much more. Consistency has been said to be the ability to be dependable, durable and reliable with already acquired skills.…

Covid 19 and Nollywood

The Nigerian film industry is facing a serious financial shock with cinemas shut and productions halted. I consider some of the implications of the COVID- 19 pandemic on Nollywood Cinema Releases With cinemas closed, the Nigerian cinema industry is likely to lose about 2.1 billion naira in ticket sales from March-June as cinema goers stay home, based on equivalent figures from 2019. Closed cinema doors means mass layoff of cinema staff, with even more service staff affected indirectly. On Post Lock-down Cinema Attendances For most industry insiders, it remains to be seen how comfortable consumers will be sitting together in cinemas even when the lock-down is lifted. Cinema houses will need to maintain strict codes of public hygiene. However, I’m punting that Nigerian cinema goers will have no problems returning to the cinemas. Television Audiences The mandatory lock-downs have pushed television audience numbers up, with both cable and streaming platforms…

Micheal AMA Psalmist wants you to stop talking and start shooting

Micheal ‘AMA Psalmist’ Akinrogunde first burst onto the scene after emerging as one of the winners of the 2017 Accelerate Filmmaker’s Project with his short film, Penance. A stunning win as the best short film at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards was quickly followed by a Film Gala award win organized by Filmhouse cinemas in collaboration with Moet and Chandon. The rest, they say, is history. Michael’s story is an example for young, aspiring filmmakers in Nigeria to look to for encouragement and inspiration . Festivals, awards, training platforms and labs are viable pathways to fame and relevance.  The young filmmaker must look to exploit opportunities as they continue to show up. Filmkaku got a chance to chat with Michael after a bit of ‘hounding’, thanks to his busy schedule. Do read the conversation: Filmkaku: Can you share how and why you got into filmmaking? Micheal AMA Psalmist: I…

Adapt and Overcome: Daniel Ehimen Will Change How You Shoot and Edit Films.

In a crowded market of Directors of Photography(DP), Daniel Ehimen stands alone. Daniel Ehimen has lensed some of the most visually stunning commercials and films in the mainstream. These include titles like Countdown, Coming From Insanity, When Love Happens Again and others. His directorial credits include films like Sergeant Tutu and In The Name of Love. Also an assured colourist, Daniel Ehimen has shown a predilection for sharing knowledge freely on social media and is slowly gathering a following. Filmkaku sat down with him to discuss his work, his approach to cinematography, cameras and every other thing. FilmKaku: How did you get into shooting films? Daniel Ehimen: I was fascinated with cameras as a child. I’m one of those kids that had “still” cameras growing up. My dad gave me a Yashica or Kodak still camera when I was in secondary school and I used them to take cool pictures…

How C.J. Obasi Conquered Nollywood conventions with a Zero Budget Film

C.J. Obasi has built a reputation in the film industry for his total commitment to the New Nollywood aesthetic, bound by the bold manifesto of his collective, the Surreal 16. He is also prominent writer, sharing writing credits in Living In Bondage and Lionheart respectively. With his Mami Wata project securing funding from international partners, getting representation from the global talent  CAA and most recently, getting signed up to the Netflix Original African series slate of directors, Obasi is surely one of the most exciting filmmakers out of Africa in recent times. His films include Ojuju, O Town and Hello Rain. A film festival favourite, his zero budget Zombie film “Ojuju” won the Best film award at the African International Film Festival (Afriff) and got him the Trailblazer of the Year award in March 2015, at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA). It is also regarded as one of…

Four Quick Tips on Data Science for Filmmakers: Dolapo Amusat

Dolapo Amusat is a data scientist and a self-styled hip hop connoisseur at the intersection of technology and creativity. Currently leading the popular online music community “WeTalkSound” community, he is also the creative director at WTXtra. He sat down with Filmkaku and offered a treasure trove on data science and what creatives should know:

  1. Artists must understand how to analyse and use data.
  2. Social media is a great tool for storytellers
  3. Avoid missing lurking variables
  4. Film reviews data is important

Read the full interview:

Filmkaku (FK): How did you get into data science?

Dolapo Amusat (DA): First off, I dabbled into music and entertainment before getting into data science. I run a music community called We talk sound and a creative agency called We Talk Xtra. So I started using data for music, through digital marketing. This is basically about aggregating platforms that allow you advertise to people on the internet, targeting consumers using demographics and stuff basically. That’s how I got into that. Right now, we are looking at digitalization in music. As you know, music and general media consumption has almost completely shifted from analogue to digital so we study how these changes affect consumer behaviour and try to create and sustain engagement with consumers on our content.

So I’m always asking questions like what kind of music are people listening to, where, what platforms are they using and using all these data to make informed decisions, for ourselves and for clients.

FK: How artists should approach data?

DA: Artists should realize that their careers are on the line and should do the most to understand how data works. The mindset should be ownership. Even if you can’t understand the mathematical or statistical jargon, try to get the layman idea of how to use data sets

FK: How you used data on the LOFN project?

DA: So in the creation process, while we were selecting songs for the collection, we used both the quality of the music and also some data to make the selections. For example we looked at the social media engagement of the artists. It wasn’t the ultimate factor but it helped us to decide when we were stuck on two songs. This same concept can work in casting especially for popular market films.

Competence is supreme but metrics like high social media engagement and following can help to solidify choices going forward. The selection of the day the project dropped was data driven. We were aware that web searches for love songs and related content would tick at the period we dropped it. This calculated approach to release has also been utilized in film with releases tied to holidays or events.

Is there Really A Nollywood Post Parasite Discussion?

Measuring the success of “Parasite” from Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho is a task that will continue for ages.  Made for a relatively low Budget of 11 million dollars, it is the latest success story of the foreign language film like Enter The Dragon, Pan’s Labyrinth, Amelie, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Life is Beautiful. It also finds veritable company with America indie films like Napoleon Dynamite Moonlight, Get out and so on for finding commercial and critical success despite the obvious art film sensibilities. Already hitting 167 million dollars at the global box office before going on to win big at the Oscars, it is easy to declare Parasite as one of the most successful subtitled film in ages.  For Nollywood, navigating a Post “Parasite” discussion depends on which ideological aisle of the industry you’re looking at. On one side, the success of this film is simply a product of…

The Artist that inspires Abba Makama

Director Abba Makama has created some of the most visually and thematically interesting films in Africa in recent times thanks in part to the art that inspires him. Dodorowsky, as he’s fondly called, is regarded as one of the freshest African voices, making a killing at major film festivals like Toronto International Film Festival(Tiff), twice now, with his films Green White Green and The Lost Okoroshi. Along with CJ Obasi and Michael Gouken of the Surreal 16 collective, his unique brand of storytelling combines elements of/from masquerades, dreamscapes, art, music, dance and more importantly, his greatest inspiration, Alejandro Jodorowksy, a Chilean-French Artist, who has worked as a screenwriter, a poet, a playwright, an essayist, a film and theater director and producer, an actor, a film editor, a comic writer, a musician and composer, a philosopher, a puppeteer, a mime, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, a draughtsman, a painter, a sculptor,…

What Dare Olaitan’s Ojukokoro can teach you about Storytelling

Ojukokoro, released in 2017, is an intricately plotted film with a lot of genius. Let’s take a closer look at it and take some lessons from it. 1. Resource Storytelling Dare Olaitan, the writer director, says he wrote Ojukokoro around the resources he already had: a prop gun, a filling station and a brief case. When you are a zero/low budget filmmaker, you can’t simply let your imagination run wild when you start writing your story. You have to start with your resources; basically, what you have access to. With budgetary and logistical concerns eliminated, you can actually focus on writing a great story that feels authentic, instead of being stuck trying to raise five million dollars for your Titanic remake. This only works if you’re ready to abandon convention to try out something else. However, be warned, you still have to be a good writer to make this work.…