July 30, 2010

Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes of a Nollywood video shoot:

Day 1, a white kid shows up on set to investigate. He hears about five “Oyibo!”s as he walks in.

The producer asks him, “Have you ever been in a Nollywood movie before?” The white kid shakes his head.

“Oh, we’ll put you in the film then.” She turns to the scriptwriter, her sister. “We can fit him in somewhere, right?”

The director, an industry heavyweight, shows up late to make sure everyone knows who’s boss. He sizes up the oyibo. “Is this guy acting in the movie?”

“Yes,” says the producer. “But we’re not sure where to put him yet.”

“Make him Gary’s friend from America. He’ll bring him along to Nigeria when he comes for his brother’s wedding.” And it’s decided. They’ll figure out some lines for him when it’s time to shoot.

Incidentally, the actor playing Gary is a newbie to the biz, and he got the role by having a friend call the producer and put in a good word. He has yet to prove himself though, and after a day of filming, it’s clear his acting skills aren’t going to cut it. A simple dinner scene featuring him and the Executive Producer (cf. below) just about drives the director berserk. The one saving grace is the white kid’s line, “Mmm, these plantains sure are delicious,” which, he is told, he delivered sufficiently.

Without any time to recast, the director steps into Gary’s shoes. This will cause its own complications, since Gary plays the crucial role in the story of accidentally impregnating his brother’s fiancée. This gives Gary considerable screentime, such as a scene in which his irate brother, learning the cruel truth, knocks the living daylights out of him.

The house we’ve stumbled upon (thanks to a 16-year-old guitarist whose parents are out, cf. below) has a swimming pool out back, and so it’s decided the brothers’ fistfight should send them into the water. And before the engaged brother can drown poor Gary in his rage, Gary’s American friend had better jump into the pool too to pull them apart.

Each actor has only one costume (the white kid has no other clothes but the ones he came in), so we’ve really only got one chance to get this right. There's not even time for a quick rehearsal. The real pressure is on the crewmembers, who may have to suppress their laughter; the director and lead actor are both over 6’ tall and considerably hefty, and the scrawny white kid trying to yank them off each other may turn the movie into a comedy. I wish I could describe for you how it looked when the oyibo ran to the edge of the pool, started feebly yelling “Hey guys, get off! Cut it out! You stop that!” and jumped in to try nosing between them. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video surely worth so much more, you’ll just have to wait for the release to DVD.


insizlane said...

You had better bring back a copy!

Matt said...

I want to see this, too :)

kaikoa said...
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