Sometime ago, a colleague and i argued that an actor should not be seen in every movie location. I told him that an actor who wants to be seen at the pinnacle of his profession should not be seen in all productions in order to set standard for themselves and to give room for personal development. These days, we see actors who could hardly construct a simple sentence in English moving from one location to the other, such people could only be attracted to what we call “Konja” productions which will never be seen or distributed in the market. A film maker is supposed to learn everyday, any production that wouldn’t add value to you or improve your skills should be avoided. Go to few productions and then improve yourself by attending trainings, seminars and of course self learning practices via YouTube, udemy and other free learning platforms. You can’t be in 100 films yet you keep playing a scene probably as an extra cast or waka pass in these films because the director wants to use you to fill up the set, yet you keep posting picture with artist every week with nothing to show for it. This will cripple your talent and implode your creativity.
For instance, I was called to direct a film last month, after going through the script, the budget and their choice of artist, I knew it would be a “Konja” production and would not add any knowledge or credit to my portfolio, I declined. Instead, I attended a webinar organized by IFH. IFH is a film making workshop comprising of Hollywood and Bollywood directors, I lost the money I would have been paid, but I grabbed knowledge that worth more than the money I missed, that’s personal development.
If I had gone for that shooting, the following things would happened:
i) I would have used some of the money to fuel my car
ii) A significant amount of the money for feeding because I later learnt that there was no welfare
iii) The film will not come out (I could endure the first 2 if the film would come out, but unfortunately not)
Alternatively, I was called for another job as an assistant director, the money I would be paid in this job is lesser than what I would have been paid in the Konja job, but here are the reasons in choose to go.
i) I will be working with a director who has reached a certain milestone in his profession (Of course to learn)
ii) There is adequate preparation (My welfare inclusive)
iii) I will be meeting with successful film makers and the distribution of the film is already sealed.
From those two illustrations, you would discover that personal development is the key thing here, I choose the second because it will help me improve in my profession, the first production will not add anything to what I already know, the second will.
I did not say money isn’t important, but you can keep earning that change every month for 5 years and still remain poor and irrelevant while someone who choose to work just 5 times a year while developing him or herself will always be sort for.
I keep getting questions from some of my colleagues which says “How do you achieve this”, “What is the secrete” etc, the simple answer is Personal development.
I do some research weekly, I watch YouTube videos and webinars, I buy courses online, I shun Konja, I dedicate time for reading and thinking. Because, Aristotle said “What keeps you at the apex of every being is reasoning, when you can no longer reason, you become a vegetable”, Rene Descartes a French philosopher said “Cogito ergo sum” which means “I think therefore I exist”.
If you want to be an actor, work on yourself, make sure you give the best when called upon, improve your talent and add value to yourself.
If you find out you are not good in acting, learn a crew work, be good in it, improve in whatever you do and do it well.
By Uzoma Sunday Logicman(Film Director)