I was going to write something on Nollywood(hate that name) but remembered that a friend of mine had forwarded this to me a while ago and summed up everything I could have said far more eloquently.
My wife and I are keen watchers of Nigerian films and are always tickled by the inescapable similarities that seem to spring up in virtually every other movie. So here is your very own blueprint to making a Naija film. Follow these golden rules and you too can tap in to an estimated £120 million industry.
1.It is unthinkable that your protagonist goes through this film without some kind of family intervention. Even if he is currently without a family, he has either lost them at an early age or will magically acquire a new one during the course of the film. If I'm watching a movie with Russell Crowe in it, I am not concerned about his relationship with his mother nor do I particularly care if he is regularly sending money to his brother in the village. Too much information!
2.When a character is deported/returns from America, he will immediately adopt an incomprehensible dialect This dialect is unique to Nigerian films and contains a disproportionate number of Rs , every other sentence ends in 'men' and affords a liberal use of expletives. This clearly means you have been to America. The character will also be decked up in a variety of tank tops or equally skimpy outfits. There is obviously not enough cloth in Yankee to make complete outfits.
3.Every polygamous family is doomed. Stepmothers in particular are to be avoided of you want to survive in a Naija film. The minute you hear stepm.... fade, just fade. She will kill your ass.
4. Jazz, Jazz and more jazz. If in doubt, the obligatory 'Baba Alawo' scene will answer many plot holes and keep our movie ticking along. Jazz is also an invaluable tool in explaining any irrational behaviour. Oh that madman? Na jazz. Oh he started beating his wife? Na jazz. Impregnated his sister's cousin's youngest daughter? Jazz, Jazz Jazz. For mental disorders in Hollywood, read Jazz in Nollywood.
5.No matter how rich or succesful a character is, their office must not exceed 12 X 9 ft in dimension. The decor is something straigth out of Carpenter's monthly with square edges everywhere. During the course of the movie, that same office will also double up as the bank manager's office, baba alawo's shrine any indeed any other interior location you can think of.
6. Stella Damascus Aboderin must cry in any movie she is cast in. If you do not include this in her contract, then you are wasting the woman's talents and you might as well cast someone else.
7. Similarly Ramsey Noah must have facial hair in all his films. No Ramsey I don't care if it makes you look fine, the part requires you to be a Tibetan Monk godammit!
8. Every flashback must be in either black and white or sepia, preferably with a dream like effect. Without this we are obviously too dumb to differentiate past events with current ones.
9. No one ever loses or gains any weight in Naija films. 20 years later abi?...abeg just pour small powder for my head. My diet is exactly the same and I have not succumbed to middle age spread. I now have six kids but not the waistline to show for it.
10. Do NOT under any circumstance try and incorporate special effects of any kind. They will fail miserably. If you want to make a movie about a man who flies or shoots thunderbolts from the tips of his fingers, think again or move to Hollywood. Don't forget to close the door behind you.
11. And finally whatever you do, NEVER NEVER cast Nigerian children in your film. Child actors are notoriously bad but Nigerian child actors deliver lines in a manner that makes you just want to slap them and curse their parents.