The Insider, is one of the movies I wrote in the earlier stages of my career. It tells the story of a man who is a member of a church committee and was aware of all the inside happenings of that committee but was at the same time busy organising armed robbers to rob members of the church who were in charge of the finances of the church. The role was played by Ejike Asiegbu,(The GodFather) as he is fondly addressed in Nollywood. I still wonder though how he got that name but that is a story for another day, maybe his school mates at the University of Port Harcourt will find time to tell us someday. The movie was a big hit in those heady days of Nollywood’s infancy and fetched the producer quite a tidy sum. It was directed by my very good friend and colleague Launcelot Odua Imasuen, the Benin Boy who enchanted Ibo Marketers and Executive producers those days. A man I still duff my cap for.
I mentioned the Insider because I have always been a "Nollywood Insider", albeit a quiet one, not in the mould of the Ejike Asiegbu in the movie. I was part of the earliest stages of growth and have stayed true to the dream as much as is within my power to do. Somewhere along the line however, I pushed out to explore other options. I ended up in Television as Head of Production and a Channel Manager for the nascent Infinity Television. It was a gamble that really did not work too well but one I have no regrets about. The only down part of that adventure was that it took me away from mainstream Nollywood for all of four years.
|Launcelot Odua Imasuen|
So now it is April 2013, I decided in March to step back into the fray that is Nigeria’s movie Industry. But I find that there is no longer one Nollywood but two. No I am not talking about the Hausa or Yoruba arms of the Industry or even the Ghanain part which is now referred to as Ghollywood but the high class, low intensity, pretentious and professional(by Hollywood standards) cinema Industry, based In Lagos. Then the low class high intensity, high volume, “down to the brass tacks” bare knuckles industry based In Asaba. And there lies my dilemma; which part of the Industry to rejoin. All through my career I have always been one for excellence. I was known to make arty movies that adhered strictly to the traditional values of movie making. I have realised however that art for art’s sake will never make money for anybody. So, I have made great films even if I have to say so myself but my bank account has remained relatively empty. But like the Ibo boy I am, I have come to my senses. Now I want to make all the money I can before my strength fails.
Honestly I’d wanted to make one grand cinema film, with a grand premiere and national release to mark my full return into Nollywood. And I’d set to work to do that. Bearing in mind that the last movie I shot, “THE KING AND THE PRIEST” was shot in October 2011, I was like a footballer who had sat on the bench for a whole season in a second division team and had suddenly been called to the national team for the World Cup. I set about doing the perfect script. But while I was writing, I got to ruminating. All my friends who had gone the cinema route in the past few years of the rebirth of the cinema culture in Nigeria had only tears of woe to cry. Apart from block busters like IJE and the phenomenal JENIFA and its sequel plus a few others, the rest have failed to even break even in the cinemas. It looked as if we were just making movies for the owners of the cinemas to make money off us. The percentage sharing is skewed to favour the cinema franchises. Not contributing anything to the production of the movie nor to the publicity of the product they have been walking away with the bulk of the profits. It has been like the legendary Aneke who washed her hands only to break the kernel for the squirrel to carry away.
Somewhere along the line I stopped writing that perfect Cinema script and decided to do ten “Asaba” scripts. Now you don't have to think to hard to write one of those and I know that I can quickly sell off those scripts to some quick thinking Ibo boy like me who is looking for how to make the fast buck and take one Infinity or Murano jeep home for next Christmas. I mean what is the point of having over a hundred and fifty movie credits to ones name and not having up to one hundred and fifty thousand Naira in your account.
So for all those who have been asking when will a new Reginald Ebere movie drop into the market hang in there, you don’t have too long to wait. I am on my way to Asaba. The first Nollywood has finally won. Yes I like the perfect movie but I am also a fan of the perfect bank account. Who doesn’t want to die a rich man! And for all the producers who are looking for scripts, I have well over twenty scripts in the different genre you like. Genre’s like Royal, Action, Ibu, Nkem Owoh lol. Yeah those are no longer actors but movie genres. We even have genres like Mercy Johnson paired with Yul Edochie, Mike Ezuruonye paired with Tontoh Dike or Chika Ike. Don’t worry we are very reasonably priced. Only a hundred thousand for part one to four. Asaba here I come.
REACTIONS ARE WELCOME.