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. But like Dare Olaitan, you can write a compelling tale and get your first film made.

2. Theme

Under the surface, a good movie has a theme(s). Theme provides layers of complex thought to average stories, unifying script elements such as plot, character arc, and dialogue. In Nollywood, filmmakers crank out films like machines and as a result, plots and themes suffer.

Ojukokoro is the Yoruba word for “Greed” and thus, we are introduced to the central idea of the film from the title. At its core, it is a satiric commentary on everyday greed with everyday people. Greedy characters creating chaos and getting their comeuppance.

When you get theme right, it is effectively communicated and satisfies audiences emotionally and logically.

3. Dialogue

Ojukokoro is a funny crime caper, with interesting characters bringing to fore their unique voices and distinct dialogue style. Dare Olaitan has an ear for dialogue, possibly a nod to his clear Tarantino influence. The dialogue is clever and fresh, retaining the diverse local flavours of Nigerian street lingua, something most aspiring writers lose as they attempt to copy their favourite Hollywood films.

As a general piece of advice, you won’t know what your screenplay’s dialogue sounds like until you hear it. Read your script out loud with friends. Keep practicing till you get  authentic and effective dialogue.

Did you learn any other thing in Ojukokoro? Share in the comments.

Go make that film!

Check out the trailer of Ojukokoro here. 


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