Advice for Newbie Producers Out There

I have noticed there are a lot of new producers who want to come into the Film/TV industry with new stuff. Unfortunately many of them get discouraged when they meet the realities of the Nigerian film industry and run away like gazelles. If you want to stick around for a long time here is some word of advice I have collected from my personal experiences on the field as an actor, screenwriter, production manager/coordinator and a producer.

1. Make sure that the film you are producing isn’t expensive. Start with the script. (This is the most important as this sets the tone for the rest of your production) Forget the fancy cars and houses and trim down your cast to less than 10-15. Do the same for locations. I understand how this can restrict your creativity as I am doing a rewrite of a script to fit into the financial realities but as a starter you got to be careful of spending too much money. Look for concepts that will not involve too much expenses but NOTE this is not an excuse for producing trash. Check YouTube and Wikipedia for examples of well shot low budget films.

2. Forget about using a star name because they can consume your budget especially with prima-donna wants not included in the artiste fee. I know that everybody thinks u need a star name to make it in the industry but I would advice that u use good unknown actors and focus on the story and it’s flow. If you need some star power look at artistes whose faces are becoming prominent and negotiate with them. Also consider the possibilities of giving them a share of the revenues so that you can reduce their upfront fees.

3.About the rush for cinemas, let me give you a reality check. Forget those turnover figures you hear about. The producer only gets at most 20-30 percent of the gate takings as the cinemas take the majority(Silver bird takes 60% while the distributor which all cinemas insist that producers go through take 10% and the state takes a 10% tax) so look back at number 1 above and follow it. In the marketing side I am not advocating for the alaba marketers so try and find a way that u can screen your movies yourself (location viewing) as that is what most producers do now.

4. The foreign cinema markets look like a good option but before a British based cinema distributor will take your work u must have sold at least 15 million in the Nigerian box office. Also most Nigerian films are shown after 10 pm in Britain (That’s what I heard If u are in the UK can u confirm or deny this?) and they hardly make money as the Hollywood marketing machine is given preference so if u gotta go abroad have a plan B just in case as most films hardly make money there.

5. It’s very important that you put a lot of effort into publicity for your movie BUT forget about TV! Their reach and cost effectiveness is not as good as social media and the internet. With the internet you can reach your target audience very quickly and effectively through Facebook, Twitter, Linda ikeji, Nairaland and Bella naija and you don’t need to break the bank as you can tailor your publicity to your budget. This part is very important as publicity is what can make or mar your film but most producers don’t pay attention to it. Expect an article soon on this.

6. Consider the use of video on demand (VOD) platforms to get some revenue for your film. The partnership program on YouTube is also a good start and many short film makers are using it to make money. Fine it won’t get you that duplex in Lekki but it will cover your expenses.

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