To say that Nollywood film Industry has gained grounds and is now becoming widely accepted in Africa and some microscopic part of the western world is an understatement. It actually has. But to Hype it that it is the third largest? Well, I beg to differ.

Speaking from the view of someone who lives abroad, I would say that we are far from what we have been portrayed to be. We still lack the technical knowhow, the drive, originality and creativity that can put us on that platform. I am not trying to be negative and please do not get me wrong, we are trying. However, we need to call a spade a spade.

We are Africans for goodness sake and we have the wherewithal to produce both Epic and Contemporary movies that would compete with the Bolly and Hollywoods of this world. They are yearning to learn from us, our culture and tradition fascinate them. Let us drop all the foreign culture and concentrate on ours and see how far we would go. I am positive of that and the truth is, they are craving for that knowledge.

Can you honestly tell me that we have what it takes to compete with Hollywood or Bollywood? No, not yet and Please, do not tell me that Rome was not built in a day. I know that. However, Rome was built with financial backing of its people and Government. Rome was built by upwardly mobile intellectuals. And so are Hollywood and Bollywood.

Why do you think they are where they are today ? I’ll tell you. It’s because they gave all they had. Time, Money, Dedication, Respect and most of all, endorsement, encouragement and advertisement. They gave themselves time to develop good scripts, enough capital and manpower to produce the films, dedication to what they did, respect to their production cast and crew and made sure that their products are promoted extensively. They have structure and control of their products and respect professionalism.

Why do you think it’s difficult to compete with Holly and Bolly? I blame Nollywood on lack of stability and structure in the industry, arrogance and failure of the marketers’ union, constant neglect by government and its agencies as well as other corporate bodies. We lack contents to be able to command the respect and envy of its global competitors like Hollywood and Bollywood and have no financial backing of the government, other corporate bodies, rich Aristos who have no clue that the entertainment industry can generate more revenue for them or the country.

The opportunities in the film industry are massive and require the tactical partnership of both the private sectors and the government to fully connect. I don’t see why we cannot have soap series on terrestrial TV’s abroad. Bollywood, Nollywood, Australia, South Africans and the likes have them. Yet, we call ourselves the third largest.

Do you know how many of our Nollywood artistes are languishing here in the Diaspora in search of greener pastures? Well, I can tell you, Many. It is not fair that we should allow our talents to die away like this. Artistes are paid meagre stipends as against their counterparts abroad. Marketers who have no knowledge or professionalism dictate the tunes to professionals in Nigeria just because they have the money. They have become overnight executive producers and nothing has been done to curb this.

Some of the marketers would even tell you the faces and which artiste to use in your production regardless of their talents or even if the role suits them, otherwise the film would not sell. They are after all, the pipers, hence they dictate the tunes. No wonder a lot of our veterans have taken the back seats and a lot of what we now see and have are second-rated. We have grossly embraced mediocrity.

Some of our brilliant artistes cannot even feed or pay their children’s school fees. They do not have their own homes and become depressed and complacent due to their efforts not being appreciated monetarily. Some of our stars embrace drugs, alcohol, adultery, fornication and a few professionally prostitute due to hopelessness. Do you blame them?

They don’t just want to be called Nollywood stars. What is in a name without cash? What is in a starving star? Just popularity and nothing more. Many Nigerians do not even respect artistes because we do not have what it takes financially to boost what we strive so hard to achieve.

As a Nigerian abroad and an Actress/ Producer/Director, I weep for us.

Third Largest, Yes, we can be. But not yet. Let us set right our blunders in-house first and then we can be what we should be.

I rest my case.

Lady TJ
UK Based Producer/Director