Camera Rolling! Sound Rolling! ACTION!

The first time I heard, “Camera rolling, sound rolling, Action!”, was in 2018, during my youth service in Cross River state. I had joined a drama group and we were having our first film production where I was to play a shop girl. Prior to that, my experience had been on stage, so I honestly had no idea what “Action!” meant. I was just there sitting like a log of wood not knowing I was supposed to ACT. Then I heard, “Cut!”, and the director screaming at the top of his voice asking, “who be dis JJC?”

Fast forward to some months after, I had learnt some production terms and acting techniques and even became a pro in the group, so I believed I had what it takes to take over Nollywood. After my service year. I heard about the 2018 MTV Shuga audition. I was so excited about it that I rehearsed my monologue with family over 20 times. On the day of the audition, I took my 5×7 head shot pictures with me and left the house around 7:30a.m. since the audition was to start by 9:00a.m. I remember telling my aunt that I would be back before 12 noon.

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On getting to the audition venue, I was shocked at the number of people on the queue. I stood for few seconds, trying to understand why there were so many people. When I gathered myself together and got to pick a number, I was 876. I waited patiently for my turn and got it over with, but I was not chosen. That is a story for another day.

From that day, it has been a somewhat interesting journey. From learning to be at auditions as early as 4a.m. in order to be among the first set that will be auditioned, to having the right monologue and range of expressions that will impress the judges.

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As an upcoming actor the journey has not been all rosy – being underpaid, wrapping (or working?) late nights with no provision for accommodation, getting snubbed by A-list actors, being disrespected by crew members are only a few of the challenges. Despite the challenges I face, it is certainly a journey I will go on over and over again.

One of the experiences that stood out for me was my KOB 1 scene. Working with an A-list director and in an A-list movie was a game changer for me. People started to know me and associate themselves with me. Seeing the glee on my family and friends’ faces after they watched it, is always an ultimate satisfaction for me.

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In fact, anytime I audition and mention that I featured in KOB, the judges look at me and give me the “You go girl!” look.

I have also realized that just like every industry in the world, the film industry Is highly competitive. We have a lot of very skilled people vying for the same role. It is no longer a case of “may the best man win”, but a case of who is willing to believe in you and give you that shot. Knowing the right people has also helped me in some way.

I am not close to my goal, but I believe with God’s grace and constant working on my craft, the sky is the starting point.

Nollywood is booming and will continue to blossom into being an industry we will all be very proud of.

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