Cover Stories, Interviews

Top producers on how to make award-winning movies

1-Fullscreen capture 11122015 104400 AM

PRODUCING an award winning movie is no child’s play.  A lot of factors are to be considered – your budget, the cast, location, costumes and a whole lot.

We spoke with three award winning producers on how to make a movie that can clinch an award.


‘Award winning movie depends on the story’ – LANCELOT IMASUEN

Lancelot Oduwa Imasue

Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen

What are the major ingredients for producing an award winning movie?

The kind of story you want to tell. If the story is good enough to attract attention, then you have to do a thorough casting.  Get the actors that best suit the movie.  Roles should be given to each actor according to how he or she can fit into the role.

You have to consider the technical aspect too.  The picture quality.  The panel that will judge the movie is also important.  There is expectation from people about what Nigerian movie should look like.  You must surpass their expectations.

What are the challenges of producing an award winning movie?

The environment.  The finance to work on award winning movie is huge.  You need more than enough money.  You must not economise things.

Another factor is technical expertise.  You have to look for the right person to give you the right pictures and the quality you want.

How capital intensive is an award winning movie?

It depends on the story.  My films are usually capital intensive.  I have a cast of 76 in one of my movies.  You have to consider the location, costumes, make-up.  Those are the things that make up the expenses.

Do you always recoup the money invested in a movie?

There are some films that over the years you keep making money from them.  But as a movie producer, there are so many factors working against you.  Piracy, lack of structure, hostile economy.  These factors make it difficult to recoup all invested in a movie.  Unless you attract sponsorship, that will really be nice but it is difficult for a movie producer to recoup all he spent on a movie.


‘Look out for a proper and unique script’ – YOMI FABIYI

YOMI FABIYI 1-Fullscreen capture 11122015 103648 AMWhat are the major ingredients for producing an award winning movie?

It depends on your story.  Do you have an understanding of the script you want to make? Look out for the uniqueness of the storyline.  How will it be interpreted?  The costumes you are going to use, the picture quality.  The cast that will give you the proper interpretation.  If you have the wrong cast and a good movie, it cannot turn out well.

What are the challenges of producing an award winning movie?

Very enormous.  You have to look at how to get a proper script that is unique, the financial capability for such a movie.  You have to look for your cast.  If you wouldn’t do an audition, you have to table-cast.  You have to consider your budget and professionality.  The professionals who will handle the key aspect of the movie such as costumes and directing.

How capital intensive is an award winning movie?

It doesn’t really matter.  Though, the script determines if it will win an award or not.  You can spend a small amount on a movie, follow the basics and it will turn out an award winning movie.

Do you always recoup the money invested in a movie?

Of course, but it is usually small.  Movie making is passion driven.  You must not make money your priority when making a movie.


‘An award winning movie is costly’ – MILDRED  OKWO

MILDRED  OKWO 1-Fullscreen capture 11122015 103843 AMWhat are the major ingredients for producing an award winning movie?

The story, the script is what will drive what you do.  If the story is not right, you are never going to get an award.

What are the challenges of producing an award winning movie?

Most of the time, when you are starting off, you cannot determine if it’s an award winning movie or not.  You will just produce a movie that the audience will like.  The award is an icing on the cake.  An award winning film costs a lot of money.  In Nigeria, we have a peculiar thing.  We don’t have studios that are affordable for the average Nollywood film maker.  We have to work on location and so many things.  That is why a lot of people have bad sound.  To record sound on a location, you have to mix properly.

Even getting a location is very difficult.  For example, if you want to portray a very rich scene, maybe someone that is as rich as Dangote, you have to get a place that Dangote can live but we are not able to do that because some of the rich people will not give you their house to use. That is why in Nollywood films, we find a rich man in a three bedroom flat like any civil servant.  Being able to control your cast and crew.  You have to consider the terrible state of traffic so you have to schedule your shoot very well.  If you don’t, you will be in Oshodi one day and Lekki in another day.  You wouldn’t have a good time shooting.

We also don’t have enough fund, that is why when shooting, a lot of people will be at location that is why the sound quality of our films are poor.  It is so embarrassing that 20 years after, we are still battling with this.

How capital intensive is an award winning movie?

It depends on the storyline.  Every story has an amount it will cost.  Nothing is basic.  It changes every time you shoot.  If you have five actors, it will be different.  If you have 10 actors, it will be different. If you have three locations, it will be different.  If somebody should ask you how much a film would cost, how do we know, unless you read the script, so that you will know what you will do and how much it will cost.  Even when you do that, you might get favoured.  There are a lot of things that you will figure out. There are people who have shot an award winning movie for a very little money and some did it for a very big money.  I think the award in Nigeria is doubtful.  Some just give it hype. A lot of judges are not well trained in determining what a good movie is.  For example, when you say someone won a movie for the soundtrack, did you consider that so many things make up the sound track?

Do you always recoup the money invested in a movie?

I will be a failure if I don’t.  Anybody doing that, I find it very weird.  I know it is an artistic endeavour.  There are some films you will shoot and you will not recoup the money because they are message films.  If I want to tell a story about a certain thing that happened in a society, I might know that I wouldn’t recoup my money.  I am going for the message, I don’t care if I make my money back but you can’t do that often.  A commercial film maker should recoup his money.  If he does not, he is a failure.  If somebody makes a film of N2.5 million and you don’t make N1.5 million more than the money you invested in it, you are a failure. That is what obtains everywhere in the world.  You have to make your money back, when you don’t do that, it doesn’t give people confidence in the industry.  I feel a film maker should make his money back.  Another thing I ensure is my target market.  What target market am I going for?  Go for a very wide target audience.  I am not really interested in the rich.  They and their children watch American movies.  I make films that real fans of Nollywood enjoy.  I make it good enough that if you are not a fan of Nollywood, you will be interested in watching it as well.


Related Stories:



About the Author