Behind the scene | 2 July 2007 13:02 CET


The first thing that elicited my interest in this discourse was the contradictory nature of the industry at the moment after carrying out a critical “On the spot” overview of the industry. Hence, the need for the poser that should provide a direct lead to the topic of this discourse “Nollywood Movies: An Internatio-nal Ape or A Truly Nigerian Brand Signature.”

reason being that the current realities in the industry is a total reflection of the Hollywood, Bollywood or South African mantra fashioned after the American, Indian, South African film industry models whereas brands are supposed to as a matter of first rule pass the litmus test of “originality” Consequently, that is the very element that makes the topic of this lecture quite interesting.

Creativity is breathtaking and the greatest concern today is that I do not think Nollywood is drawing enough on the assets of Nigeria. Looking at the lot, the industry is trying to be Hollywood, Bollywood or South Africa.

I think part of the challenge for the industry here is to throw in its own language – that is visual language, music language and street language.

I believe there is a huge amount of opportunity to create the Nollywood brand signature by exploring its repertoire of talents, design elements, the models, actors & actresses, cultural artefacts, plotting, sceneries, the architecture, the interior and exterior décor, the graphic design the rich colour and the sounds of Nigeria.

A strong basis for any communication is to have a perfect understanding of the audience of its communication efforts.

What do these people find familiar?

What will they find inspirational?

What will they find aspirational?

I think if we really probe all these, we will get:

- The right ideas,

- The right music,

- Use the right language,

Use the right mode in castings, models, as well as some design elements,

The right hues and tones,

The right humour and glamour

The right and bright colours in a bit more subtle way to create sensitivity to what is Nigerian that the audience can connect and relate to.

Closely related to the right mix methodology is the need for templating the Nollywood code via the right images and archetypes.

By this, I mean, creating a recognizable brand identity and awareness that is uncluttered and communicating same to the Nollywood stakeholders and ultimately stressing the acceptance of this coding.

This coding can be summarized under two thrusts:

Creating the images and the typology that determines the archetypes [prototypes], The Afro-centric images. However, let me stress here that this process requires some discipline.

For an impactful result there is the need for researches with our TA to really find out their background history before concepts and designs can be developed.

It will require more of pre-testing researches to evaluate the right mixes earlier mentioned.

These pre-tests will be sampled with the TA. It is based on the feedbacks received that any shooting and recording will eventually be implemented.

Such coding will be localized in the major local languages, folklores, tales, history, traditions, cultural heritages and beliefs, cultural iconography and all of that.

These insights are to be the bench mark for the gauge of the authencity of Nollywood productions.

It is amazing to find out that a lot of the Nollywood actors fail the test of creativity and originality.

They prefer to don the toga of imperialism and foreign artistes under the guise of being aspirational.

While there is no crime in being aspirational, sure, one wants to aspire to beautiful looking people and international models but there are beautiful looking & world-class Nigerian Actors/ actresses in the league of Mrs. Joke Silva, Elegant Stallion – Onyeka Onwenu, Richard Mofe-Damijo to mention but a few.

The relevance of mandatory training and continuous development for practitioners and core stakeholders can not be over-looked as it concerns the industry.

The Nigerian Movie Industry can be a genuine local Nigerian signature brand for Nollywood devoid of the current Hollywood and Bollywood trappings.

Talk delivered by Charles O'Tudor, Principal Consultant of Adstrat, Axle and Stratis.

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