JOHN Njamah, the elder brother of curvy actress , Empress Njamah is doing well for himself in the make believe world. As a film director and consultant, he has worked on numerous movies. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with him about his career, love life and sundry issues.
How would you describe your career in 2013?
2013 was a great year for me career wise because I know most of the works that I did were interesting and they all came out well. I spent most of the year 2013 on a project called Emerald, a new TV drama series and one or two documentaries and a few TV commercials and acted in some movies as well. Most important, I finally came about my company, Colourbar Media and it got quite a few clients and we would carry them over in 2014.
What I see as challenges are like springboards and encouragements. So, what you see as challenges are like springboard for me. But I would say, all my springboard challenges were the works that I did in 2013 because every work comes with a different challenge and I handle them differently.
In what ways were you able to overcome the challenges?
Basically, focus. In 2013, I was very focused because of my work. I was more determined and I said to myself, ‘John, you are at the top of what you do’, so no cutting corners and it has to be done right. Focus for me was my guiding principle.
In what new ways would you do things in 2014?
Since my guiding principle of 2013 which is focus was able to carry me through the year, then I would like to apply that principle in 2014 because by and large it’s now a template for success. By applying that same principle, I would do that with a more determined mind. Aside focus, I also want to grow spiritually, health wise, my career and in all endeavours that I find myself. I want success to be my watchword and also to surpass all I did in 2013.
It appears you have not been in movies in a while, what happened?
I am a film maker and have not stopped being one either as a director or a writer or as an actor.
What was the last movie you featured in and what year?
My last was The Cartel. It was a fantastic movie that ran in the cinemas and was well accepted. The movie had actors from Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria. It had a strong Pan African nature that made the movie really interesting. The movie was done in 2013.
Can you tell us about your role in the movie?
I played the character, Orlando. He happened to be a member of the cartel that was also working for the government that is unknown to the leader of the cartel played by Luclay Mesoya from South Africa. So, Orlando was working with the government to bring the cartel down. Mike Ezuruonye played Denzel, who was Orlando’s friend and went to jail because of Orlando and when he got back, he joined forces with Orlando to bring down the cartel when Orlando told him he was working with the government. It was an interesting role for me.
My adventure in the industry has been expanded to some areas, being an actor, a dancer, a director. Every level is always a challenge for growth. I explored certain levels to meet another level when I became a director. So, it has been fun because I enjoy what I do as a director. I’m passionate about it because being a director affords you the opportunity to create, interpret and to write movie scripts. Fun because I am an authority in what I do. Fun because eventually, my works come out well. My life as a director is just the same normal life of an individual.
What else do you do apart from film making?
Basically, everything I do now revolves around the entertainment industry. It involves being a film maker, a content producer and provider. Aside that, I run a programme called The Knowledge Pistol. It’s a programme where myself and other facilitators from Africa and in the States come together to train film makers, actors, directors, cinematographers, producers and so much more. We have been to Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Cameroun and a few times in Nigeria. That alone takes my time, if I am not in the field shooting or directing a movie. It is facilitated by Colorbar Media and of course, to continue that in 2014.
What is Colorbar Media all about?
Colorbar Media is a media house where content providers and content producers acquire content skills. It is a media house where we take your movie ideas from inception to production. We equally consult on media related issues, acquire and produce contents of different themes. We organize media training and workshops for different media and practitioners. We also have a casting department, which is more like a casting agency which is made up of seven well trained directors, film managers, producers, a few from the company and we contact few from outside. We also hire equipment for production. Basically, Colorbar Media is a consultant on media matters.
How did you come about the name, Colorbar Media?
A few years back, I was having a random talk with my friend, Alex Onome Eboye while editing a TV soap, Fuji House. Then I was thinking about running my own company and we started suggesting names and he eventually hammered on Colorbar. To me, the name sounded well and what I did was to merge it with what I would be doing in Colorbar. That was how Colorbar Media was formed.
How have you been able to stay off scandals and gossip in the industry over the years?
I really do not know how to answer this question but to give it a try, I think it’s because I know how to mind my own business. I’m not a proud person but I particularly take my time to be humble. It is something I do intentionally. For me, it pays me to be an authority in what I do and for me I am very particular about that because it is my work first before any other thing. I am not a nosy person as well. So, that has kept me this far. That made the press not attach any scandal or whatsoever to my name.
What should we expect from your stable, Colorbar Media?
At the moment, we have a few clients and a few commissioned works already and that would be for the better part of the first two quarters. On the other side, we have a few other commitments from last year that would be carried into this year, the scripts have already been written and are in their second draft. Plans are already on the way to start pre-production and God willing, we will attack two movies for the first part of the quarter. So, expect to see good works from Colorbar Media, we won’t relent in giving quality production.
Yes, I think we are improving the quality. There has been a growth and we have probably moved from A and B to C and I’m sure we would continue to move upwards because it is not easy. This is an industry that is being run by individuals with little or no backing from the government, with no checks and balances. We just draw, make our mistakes and we learn from them. It is very difficult because we don’t learn from nobody but we learn from ourselves and we move on. Aside the problems that we have had over the years, problems of piracy, distribution, that is, we do not have a distribution network that has to be looked into. We have grown in terms of quality production. The cinema culture is back. So, that makes a better quality and a better tomorrow.
What areas do you think need to be looked into?
Like I said, the fact that we need to improve on our distribution network, to check piracy and to check the contents of our themes. Although, there has been some sort of growth but a lot has to be done. Like the Europeans, they tell their story according to their environment and we enjoy them and that is a call for us to start telling our stories according to our environment. We have a particular way of life, so let’s cash in to our African way of life and expression, let us not import stories from other people’s way of life and impose it into our tradition. Another thing we need to look into is, let us begin to make use of new acts that is, there are auditions every now and then and we discover new talents. Let’s make use of those talents. Gone are the days where you want to use an old face to sell your movies. The time has come for us to sell our movies with good actors and not super stars. If you want a challenge get a good actor, train him and use him in your movie. After all, we all started from somewhere.
I can’t hide that. If I am getting married, definitely you would know. I don’t know when I’m getting married but quite soon, I must say.
Who is the beautiful lady rocking your world?
Like you mentioned, she is indeed beautiful so when that time comes to unveil her, you will definitely know her.
What do you have to say to your fans?
I think I have the best fans. I say that because they have been good to me and encouraging, supportive, understanding and anytime I want to do a work as a director or actor, I always have the mind of not letting them down. So, it’s been a mutual relationship between my fans and me. They should not stop believing in me, they should not stop encouraging me and I would continue to do what I know how to do best as a film maker. For those who want to come into the industry, you are highly welcome but when coming put on your armour because it is a battle field out there. Come with your discipline, your strong drive, be determined and whatever support you need, you can always find me on the social networks and I also run training services, so feel free to buzz me. I want to say a big thank you for their prayers and blessings.
– DOLAPO AMODENI