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DURUAKU, ABC: Nollywood Screen Drama for Tomorrow’s Marketplace: Issues for Engagement

Nollywood Screen Drama for Tomorrow’s Marketplace: Issues for Engagement


Theatre Heritage Network

Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria



The Nollywood screen drama industry has been acclaimed as a veritable revenue earner at the national, corporate and individual levels, making about 1.72 trillion naira (US$10 billion) in 2013. The Nigerian Ministry of Labour also admits that the industry is the second-largest employer of skilled and semi-skilled labour in the country, after agriculture. Arguably, it is the second largest film industry in the world, ahead of Hollywood and behind Bollywood (India), with an average of forty new movies every week and a fan base of more than one billion people across the world. This impressive statistic appears to have a deceptive worm. The hype of the industry could be cosmetic and temporary because of perceived structural weaknesses in artistic, design and commercial components that seem to have kept it literarily static, even if presently enjoying popularity. The industry must re-invent itself and find ways of sustaining its appeal in the global entertainment market. This paper investigates this perceived clay feet, looks into the future and proposes strategies that should be adopted if Nollywood is to take the leap into the future that promises fierce competition in the creative industries. Engagement schemes should include content digitalization, emerging media interactivity, creative adaptation, character animating, learning space application, folklore and history storage, design glitz, science fantasy, and dedicated scripting. These should ensure Nollywood’s competitiveness for tomorrow’s audience.

Key words: Content digitalization, creative adaptation, design glitz, dedicated scripting.


It is common knowledge that the movie industry in Nigeria is on a roll. In many homes, the attachment to watching the home video films is such that a rigorous check is put on teenagers and children who tend to watch these films at the expense of their studies. In public spaces, including office reception rooms, and relaxation arenas in Nigeria, one is most likely to be confronted with television sets on African Magic channels of the Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) Pay TV, a subsidiary of the media giant, MultiChoice. The demand for home video drama and film is such that MultiChoice has increased the African Magic channels to eight. Of these, three are devoted to local language drama: Hausa, Yoruba, and lately Igbo. All these channels show video drama and films in the Nollywood tradition. The first African Magic channel was launched in 2003 and more than 10 years later, the brand has expanded to include content dedicated to African movies, music, magazine and reality shows.

The recent African Magic Igbo channel launch emphasised the response to the need to showcase the rich Igbo culture of Nigeria. This 24-hour channel follows the success of the African Magic Hausa and Yoruba channels, and went on air 2nd of April, 2015. At the launch on 20th March, 2015, the Director of M-Net for West Africa, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, had said:

Igbo language entertainment content has always played a prominent role in the Nigerian film and television industry and we are glad to offer a platform where this rich content can be showcased... Popular Igbo language content like Living in Bondage’, ‘Nneka the Pretty Serpent’ and many others set the trend for the modern Nigerian film and television industry, or Nollywood as it’s called; it is thus only fitting that such content should be given a platform where it is easily accessible by audiences…” (http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/03/20/igbo-kwenu).

Of the eight African Magic channels, five are devoted to films dominated by Nigerian home video. But these stations/channels are not only for the Nollywood experience because Nollywood is not the entire film industry in Nigeria.

The Nollywood Screen Drama Revolution

Nollywood is a Nigerian variant of the American Hollywood and the Indian Bollywood. Some have erroneously termed Nollywood as the Nigerian Film industry. Even the popularly-consulted Wikipedia documents it as, “cinema of Nigeria (which), grew quickly in the 1990s and 2000s and became the second largest film industry in the world in number of annual film productions, placing it ahead of the United States and behind only India…”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Nigeria).

In reality, Nollywood is the name for the peculiar home video/film experience in Nigeria that was stimulated in the early 1990s in the Eastern part of Nigeria, and whose production was dictated from the electronics shops of Onitsha and Idumota markets, which are dominated by south easterners. The Western States (which actually stimulated the film industry in Nigeria), and the northern parts of Nigeria also produce video drama/films but are hardly considered a member of the Nollywood stable. In fact, recently, the Kano State group formed the Kannywood. Ukadike identifies three categories of Nigerian video-films which can be grouped geographically: those produced in the North reflecting the Hausa, Islamic and other dominant cultures of the northern states; the Igbo films produced in the southeast, which utilize the tradition of Igbo theatre culture; and the Yoruba films, produced in the southwest, which, like the others, mirror the ethnic tradition of the Yoruba travelling theatre (164).

It is revealing however that the boom in the film industry in Nigeria was ignited by the Eastern group which is today known as Nollywood. The speedy and convenient format of camera-to-video (tape, now compact disc), the liking for young, dashing actors, the inclination to relevant content, specific thematic interests, and the funding regimen, typify the Nollywood popularity. The fad of Nollywood began in 1992, with Living in Bondage, the path-finding 1992 NEK Videos Links production by Kenneth Nnebue, which was shot with standard VHS video camera. The storyline was so immediate and compelling that interest soared: ordinary work-a-day experience of young people using dodgy means to achieve their goals, usually wealth. These films were low-cost productions. Again, the timing was perfect for a visual entertainment revolution. There was rising unemployment which made bed-fellows with the crass competition in the East of Nigeria where the film is set. Living in Bondage caught attention; not because of its sophisticated plot, brilliant acting or distinguished set, but also because of the bold storyline, the engaging diction, and what Ukadike refers to as, “emergency directors and producers,” whose agenda was simply to make money (164).

Considering the evolution of the Nigerian film industry, Ayakoroma notes that the collapse of the cinema business paved way for experimentation in the video film format.

…Introduction of SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme), the economics of celluloid production, poor distribution and exhibition channels for film productions, the rise of urban crime after the Nigeria civil war, the dilapidation of cinema theatres and their becoming dens of robbers or at best taken over by new generation churches, and the rise and development of television drama as a source of family entertainment (46).

Clearly, home entertainment became preferred. The ‘oil boom’ of the 1970s which preceded SAP had provided families with enough money to buy television monitors and watch the programmes of the several new oil boom-inspired television stations. The boom had produced manufacturing industries which needed advertisement and therefore sponsored television drama. Also, third world countries were fascinated with modern technology (Shaka 41 cited by Imo 89) which the video/film activities provided.

The following economic decline of the 1980s however reversed commercial fortunes and led to closure of many manufacturing industries. Consequently, television drama could no longer enjoy corporate sponsorship. The emerging video drama was made with basic equipment, and there were the laid-off TV actors looking for jobs. When available personnel, poor-economy, business adventurers, and abundant mass-oriented themes merge, the product is cheaply-produced work, but with rabid followership.

Sans cinema, sans television drama, a void had been created in the visual entertainment sphere, and with imaginative people looking to ventilate their creative energies, the home video entertainment was inevitable. But were these factors enough? The Yoruba language movies had been running, yet had curiously failed to move beyond the boundaries of the western states where the language is predominantly spoken,and gain national attention. Nwafor notes that, “Nigerians had continued to make videos in different languages without much success until the 1992 release of Living in Bondage by Nek Videos” (144). Ukadike shares in this as he asserts that “…Yoruba celluloid films, though well received among the Yorubas, were shunned in other regions where the language is not spoken.” Cheap production was not enough. Interesting stories and themes were not enough. It was allure and glamour that did it for Nollywood in those early years. Kalu’s observation is telling:

… almost all these video-films display Nigerian contemporary living tinged with ostentatious allure. …current quest for wealth… high-profile upper class, middle class and lower middle class people… who have made it… displays of luxurious houses, … posh fast cars (instead of) the familiar dilapidated death-trap taxis plying the roads everywhere…. Expensive clothes and imported wines all supposedly emphasize misplaced priorities, materialism and the get-rich-quick mentality of the fast age. At first, this trend for showing the good life promoted mediocre acting and technical infirmities (numerous bad video-films are still abundant), but video practice is gradually developing into a sophisticated art of entertainment and information, even as the demand for fun and   the mad rush to get-rich-quick continues unabated (169).

The film, Living in Bondage tells the story of a man who joins a secret cult, kills his wife in a ritual sacrifice, gains enormous wealth as a reward, and is afterwards haunted by the wife's ghost. The television dramas that preceded it had mostly been polite over sexual relations and supernatural forces. In contrast, Living in Bondage was bold and gory, especially in the scenes of the ‘dibia’ or witchdoctor and the desperation of their clients. Therefore, Living in Bondage, portrayed this get-rich quick mentality of Nigerians, ritual practices and occult society members hungry for stupendous wealth (Ayakoroma 50). The film was shot in Igbo language with English subtitles, making it accessible to English-speaking countries. According to Kalu,

not only did it become Nigeria's first commercial film, it was also its first real entertainment film. With the creation of this film and the films that followed it, the rise of what is now the second largest film industry in the world, and the largest in Africa, came along … use of relatable themes that appeal to audiences from all walks of life… (165).

Living in Bondage, according to Nwafor, “introduced glamour like never before, … promoted the traditions and culture of Nigeria like never before and sold both the English and Igbo versions successfully.”

Success breeds interest. Many therefore invested in the video industry to make a killing. A series of films shot in the Igbo language followed (Ukadike 165). Although the country’s economy was regressing after the economic boom of the 1970s, there was still enough financial comfort of the upper and dwindling middle classes to afford video machines for watching the tapes. The glamour of the video drama industry is implicit in the entertainment industry and the star syndrome. This attracted the jobless youth further, and the interest of impresario, dilettantes and indeed, in the case of Nollywood, Onitsha electronics equipment dealers who saw good business opportunity here. The Onitsha electronics trader’s mentality is honed to perfection in identifying potentially lucrative business. The rash of purchase of electronic viewing equipment pointed to the interest in video, and the demand for a sequel to Living in Bondage were some of the indicators of a goldmine. These traders teamed up and began to fund the production of films along popular stories of the day, gleaned from gossips, urban legend, lifestyle, and commonplace events among others. They spiced this with the common mystique of rural beliefs and the colour of traditional events.

The factor of available small-time funding by a clever, business-minded trading class was critical. This, combined with poor economy, TV drama shut-down, desire for home entertainment, cheap recording, poorly paid actors, snap storyline, mystique, and glamour all share in creating the boom. Later on, more verve was added by the introduction of affordable digital filming and editing technologies.  

Some Outcomes of the Nollywood Screen Drama Explosion

Although Kalu recognizes that Igbo drama of the time possessed "a piece of art containing the mythical, the psychological desires and aspirations of the Igbo people in a contemporary setting,” he cautions against “parading mediocrity as genial art as the video boom proliferates” (119). With the favourable business and social climate, this explosion was inevitable. Clearly, Nigerian entrepreneurship and digital technology had helped pave a way for Nollywood to evolve. With the rush came half-baking, careless scripting, and other negatives that a production climate like the video industry should not contemplate. The business started growing into an industry without matching philosophy, monitoring and pacing that are necessary for proper maturation. Everybody became a producer. Even the untrained financiers, once Executive Producers became Directors and actors, anxious to mop up the money and soak in the accolades. Ayakoroma notes this commercial bent:

The films were also expected to come out in the shortest possible time. This development is understandable because, the EPs were predominantly traders who were involved in buying and selling, and have had to invest their savings on film productions. Since most of them pooled their sources together to produce a film, it was natural for them to presume that the quicker they got returns on investments, the better; and the profit could be put into yet another film project or job. …directors were hounded into guaranteeing that a production would be finished in just a few days… (53).

A lot of pressure was mounted on actors, directors and on the entire production line; and the EP started dictating who would act and who should not. They became star-struck and sincerely believed that the face makes the film, and so wanted “known faces” in the films. This led to the continual use of the same actors. The consequence was boredom, template stories, poor research, poor detailing, familiar sets, untidy endings, deux ex machina terminal device, and haste that sometimes misrepresented Nigerian culture. Although there seemed no direction that was defined for the industry and no regulations in place at the time, like the rebirth of theatre in medieval England, the industry took a life its own, and like a flood seeking exit points and finding none, carved its own path. Nollywood became a movement, unbridled and uncharted. What drove it was profit on low financial investment, appealing storyline, good looking actors with racy dialogue, wise cracks, stock acting, and street slang. Many people are also disturbed by the thin diversity of content some of which cannot be considered as wholesome.

Nollywood, in spite of its dazzle and the economic boom, may well be like a runaway train on clay tracks, and this might lead to an evitable regret if nothing is done now. Glamourized activity may well initiate presumptions and head into disaster because its shine blinds the sentimental observer. It is for this that suggestions are being made to prepare for a better future for the Nollywood industry. From its humble populist beginnings, the industry has grown in leaps and bounds in many areas including business and economic power, employment, public relations and international stature. It has also produced a class of rich people and encouraged Ghana and other neighbouring countries to delve into the industry. It has globalized Nigerian performing art and culture and by 2013 made over 1.72 trillion naira! According to statistics, Nollywood is the world's second-largest producer of feature films. In less than three decades, the industry has grown from almost nothing into a multi-million dollar-a-year industry that employs thousands of people. In 2009, UNESCO described Nollywood as being the second-biggest film industry in the world after Bollywood in output and is the second-largest employer in Nigeria behind agriculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Nigeria). These statistics are impressive.

Currently, some 300 producers churn out movies at an astonishing rate—somewhere between 500 and 1,000 a year. Nigerian directors adopt new technologies as soon as they become affordable. Bulky videotape cameras gave way to their digital descendants, which are now being replaced by HD cameras. Editing, music, and other post-production work is done with common computer-based systems. The films go straight to DVD and VCD disks.… Thirty new titles are delivered to Nigerian shops and market stalls every week, ...Nollywood settings are familiar. Nollywood plots depict situations that people understand and confront daily; romance, comedy, the occult, prostitution, and HIV/AIDS (http://www.thisisnollywood.com/nollywood.htm).

Nollywood films are popular all over the English-speaking world especially African Diaspora. According to Raymagnate, Nollywood is increasingly popular in America among African Americans, the Latin America and the Caribbean who share important religious and cultural similarities. (http://www.nairaland.com/1111330/nigerias-creative-industries). The use of English rather than the local languages expanded the market. Aggressive marketing with posters, trailers, and television advertising also played a role in Nollywood's success. Today, Nigerian filmmakers feature actors from other countries, and Nollywood actors have featured on the international stage, winning laurels and further globalizing the Nollywood brand. Orya also buttresses this:

With the rising funding profile (of Nollywood), several Nigerian actors and actresses have starred in international films. Some  Nigerian films have been shot in exotic locations outside the country.… This has internationalised the Nigerian experience and made the actors world stars (http:/sunnewaonline.com/new%3Fp%3D55491).

The Fears for the future of Nollywood

The Nollywood industry has in less than three decades, done what many other enterprises cannot match. The employment it has offered to a large youth population, the wealth it has provided very many, the public relations advantages to Nigeria, and the fast-growing corpus of critical writing on Nollywood films, are good indices of the extraordinary success of the industry. But there seems to be some kind of haste that has been occasioned perhaps by the populism and the mercantile origins of the industry. The glossy giant could well be standing on feet of clay that should be strengthened to ensure a sturdy industry that will remain, not go into decline; an industry which can evolve into other areas that can be seen as tangential development rather than new art. In spite of the unregulated haste that are leading to fissures in the industry, there are still many producers that are doing excellent work, and as Adeyanju notes, are “packaging serious and socio-developmental oriented movies….” Today, the more creative Nollywood practitioners have ventured into the following genres: Crime detection, Spy, Adventure, and so on, with compelling stories, impressive stunts, and creative manoeuvres.

Although the abundance of storylines portraying the get-rich-quick mentality of Nigerians, in a society where “socialites' affluence and ostentatious living were applauded, while tight budgetary spending by an individual was seen derogatorily” jeered at has diminished, some have engaged in new thematic areas (Ayakoroma 87). However, there are recurrent, aberrant features and infractions that should have been eradicated by now: anachronistic over-costuming, lavish / opulent designs and locales, scene–stretching, flagrant nudity, and ‘forced’ romance scenes, which “assault the psyche of the African as they violate all known rules of decency and nobility within their culture…glamourizing aspects of (traditional) immorality”(Animasaun 46). There are also issues of improper lighting, unharmonious set/prop-actor relationship, cultural disinformation, simplistic stories, predictable outcomes, and so forth. These issues make it sometimes difficult to tell a 2014 or 2015 film from a 2005 release. Yet, an index of development is an improvement on the old which should make the new product better, sharper, clearer, tighter, and more exciting. This is not the case with much of Nollywood today.

The Clay Feet of Nollywood

As a business grows, there is a need for a review of the structure and operations of the sector in order to make the necessary adjustments and respond to the shifting grounds of the business sector to outstrip competition, maintain interest and increase demand to ensure growing profits and better advantageous growth. These are not only in economic terms of returns on investment but also social arena of employment derivatives and (in the case of corrective programmes/themes) more impact on private and public conduct. The industry, like theatre and the other commitment is designed to pass comments on personal and private behaviour. Nollywood has presented these in the movies– a desire to publish societal behaviour with a lesson on moral rectitude, local crime, ostentation, greed, aberrant customs and traditions, as well as other social vices. The movies also portray the consequences of these ills and canvas virtues. Unlike some Western movies that may not dwell on vice and virtue and decline being judgemental, Nollywood movies are largely satirical. But that is changing. Today, a good number of Nollywood movies do not instruct but in fact post what many traditionalists would consider social aberration. Society evolution must be guided in order to retain genuine domestic flavour and not erode fundamental truths of the society: a society that guides its art on the corrective path most of the time; a society that is judgemental, questions sources of wealth and queries unacceptable conduct that are inconsistent with the norm of the people.

without seeming to advertise, some Nollywood films are really exceptional work that would be well-received anywhere in the world. Ije, Ijele, 30 Days in Atlanta, Queen of Hasso Rock, and several others belong here. Still many of the mediocre films are presently ‘enjoyed’ due to fad, intellectual laziness of the majority, nostalgia, (especially for the Diaspora), and what Kalu says is a combination of the sustained “loyalty of the core cinema …and new audiences from the middle class nouveaux riches”(170). But how many of these thousands of movies would a film buff want to see a second time or watch a second time only to notice what he had missed in a previous viewing. Yet a hallmark of a well-made film includes the desire to watch a second time, and still enjoy it. Other parameters according to LaSalle include but are not limited to topicality, timeless human values, great performance, a memorable scene, (http://blog.dolby.com/2014/08/six-qualities-of-great-movies/) and a complex ending, which is not to be confused with ambiguity. Also of critical import are technique, self-realising plot, sustained mental impression, and bold statements.

Art is dynamic and responds to changing environments and circumstances- racial mingling, and non-domestic influences and experiences; urban living and the freedom of the time that demolishes structures imposed by traditional forms. But the peculiarity of a people dictates the principle of individualism and identity. It creates variety and should, in spite of globalization, which does not mean sameness, retain its traditional flavour that sets it apart and in the African case, creates an engaging mystique. Why, for instance would someone from beyond the shores of Africa, be impressed with a digital manoeuvring of an Africa movie? What will engage an African if an Australian portrays urban life of Melbourne, or a German the workaday events in his country replicated in a Nigerian home movie. Akande asks a worrying question:

Can one watch a Nigerian movie with the audio turned off and still be able to decipher what is going on? Isn't the camera supposed to tell a great degree of the story? Isn't the other name for film 'motion picture'? Why should it be a problem even if our movies are made in Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa, or Ibibio?... (10).

His warning is ominous:

…the agony of Nollywood, the supposedly multi billion naira industry, is like a derailed train which continues to attract the interest of people who desire not just to get it back on track but who are also canvassing urgent rescue operations for it (11).

Ogunsuyi is also bothered by the “uncinematic tendencies” like longer action than necessary, bogus display of individual talent, stretched dialogue and so on, even if the audience may be too interested in the story appeal to be particular about the “artistic anomaly” (437). But there is a limit to art appreciation tolerance for, as the audience matures, it begins to discriminate and become choosy through comparisons and experience.

Suggestions to Secure the Future of Nollywood

A brilliant future for Nollywood, anchored on developmental strides in quality and economic success to sustain the accolades it is presently enjoying, may well depend on artistic adjustments and carving new directions. These adjustments reference the following, among others:

  1. more serious and socio-developmental movies
  2. avoidance of anachronistic and often lavish, intrusive costuming
  3. desisting from portraying aberrant customs and traditions
  4. encouraging more corrective art
  5. improving on technique
  6. paying attention to details

Carving new directions is critical to stemming the inevitable cloying that would eventually arise from templating: having to re-echo subject matter, character, technique, and overall methodology. The Chinese karate films have all but lost their charm with Nigerians as has the Indian garden love escapades. But the Americans continue to evolve their art while maintaining their culture marketing. Nollywood may have to explore more enduring story lines and give great care to research. Its future cannot just rest on glamorous actors, contemporary soft-sell stories of family squabbles, repetitive moral dilemmas, feminine chit-chat, spirit force interventions, and petty jealousies. Without ennoblement, these values cannot last, glitz notwithstanding. I propose an engagement with culture, creative adaptation of history and literature, character animating, deployment of interactive media, science fantasy, and dedicated scripting.

Cultural Stories: A key role of any creative industry is to promote the culture of the people. Presently, Nollywood often showcases deformed culture that is sometimes difficult to recognize. There seems to be little regard for detailing and a sacrifice of truth for expediency. ‘Juju drama’ is centre stage and several problems are solved by some church or deity in a ritual situation. Rituals constitute one of the major ways of enacting cherished community values and Nollywood uses this to “gain audiences’ attention to its production” (Uwah 216). But this is being over-deployed and flagrantly misused. The impression conveyed is that, since art reflects the life of a people, a Nigerian must make money or get married or advance himself through some witchery. He must triumph over his enemies through some spiritual intervention. But this is not the fact on the ground. Nigerians are largely industrious people. Besides, this kind of portrayal may well influence the young people negatively. Yet there is nothing fundamentally wrong with ritual for our lives run on ritual.

Uwah notes that rituals in Nollywood films occur on two levels:

Those that depict communal village ceremonies and festivals as celebrated and preponderantly represented to showcase how people actually live and celebrate their cultures. The second notion of rituals in relation to Nollywood is on filmic themes and storylines which reflect scenes of using human beings for sacrifices in order to become wealthy (127).

Akande’s advice on improving the content of Nollywood films to ensure a continued brilliance of its future supports the culture argument. He asserts that the Nollywood is yet to tell the kind of stories that the rest of the world is hungry for: cultural heritage and history of Nigerians and Africans at large. While the visual or audio quality maybe poor in some cases, and could be excused, “viewers desire to see an attempt at artistry in scripting, directing, acting, etc.” (10). Useful content abounds especially in the Nigerian culture, yet more attention is being paid to contemporary life. There is nothing wrong with this, but it seems to have been promoted by pre-production laziness, lack of research capacity and the patience which cultural stories would demand.

Creative Adaptations: Adaptations are useful and inject freshness into a work of art, among other benefits. They could be of history, myth or literature. The new chronicle movie, Invasion 1897 is about the ancient Bini massacre of 1897 that led to the looting of the Benin artefacts and the deposition of the last African king, Oba Ovonramwen to Calabar. The film director, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is said by the preview audience, to have done a brilliant job, the film being surfeit with immaculately represented culture. Historical films, although adapted to be art, are also great opportunities for cultural promotion and propagation. Nollywood should do more of this. Many of its ‘epic’ films do not have as much intellectual content and are difficult to relate to.

Not long ago, the Nigeria national television network (NTA) started a documentary serial, called, “Kings and Kingdoms of the Niger,” scripted by Maxwell Enemuo. The series was supposed to re-present in film and narrative, the lives and times of great Nigerian heroes of the dim past including King Jaja of Opobo which chronicles the life and times of the slave-turned-king, Arochukwu/Black Gold, which tells the story of the slave trade expeditions in Eastern Nigeria, The Last Battle which is about the Akasa Raid of 1895, Itsekiris of the Niger Delta which chronicles the 1894 British conquest of King Nana Olomu of ancient Itsekiri Kingdom, etc. Embedded in these documentaries, are realities of the past which Nollywood may explore to great effect. Such films would endure, teach, and be a good repository of history if they are well researched and maintain the necessary content fidelity. The educational and enduring qualities of ‘chronicles’ would be invaluable in the entertaining film format.

Adaptation of creative literature to film promises great value. Popular and enduring prose fiction can be adapted to film scripts and produced by Nollywood. The educational, intellectual, and enduring benefits are immense. Also, Nollywood would assume all-round relevance beyond entertainment. Its values propagation window will enlarge and commercial returns will spike.

Character Animation: Nollywood should also explore the digital use of character animation to tell Nigerian stories. This will be devoted to the very young for whom animated characters hold so much interest. Anyone who captures the imagination of the child along positive lines, has secured the future.

Internet-based Media: Part of what Nollywood film marketers complain about is distribution capacity. Although the industry is beginning to post clips and scenarios Online, there should be more effort in this direction because the internet channel has immense possibilities for publicity and marketing.

Science Fantasy Film: Science fantasy has a curious hold on the human mind. Not only does science fiction project exciting life opportunities through the use of digital technology, it explores the unknown and extends the boundaries of the imagination. This is why they are so fascinating. With creative thinking, careful scripting and research, Nollywood could well be on its way to true global relevance and respect.

Dedicated Scripting: Real attention should be paid to scripting. Few scripts are really good and so much production time is spent on improvisation. Dedicated, well worked out plots and engaging dialogue elongate the film’s life. Often, dialogue is responsible for the lingering memories of a viewing. Nollywood should do away with quaint lines, and trite remarks which often weaken character and over-domesticate the story. Akande’s observation that, “hurried productions lead to little attention to detail in scripting…” (10) is not only true, but also instructive. Great films are not about fashionable characters and commonplace stories. They are about memorable individuals, scenes, dialogue and themes.


The Nollywood drama/film industry has done very well commercially as has been variously acclaimed. It has employed very many, brought in so much money, made young international stars and starlets, received world-wide attention, and become the toast of the Nigerian nation. But it has achieved this feat through sheer grit and novelty rather than a scheduled creative and vision-driven development. For all the glamour and glitz however, Nollywood could crash at worst or fail to grow in quality. The industry must re-invent itself by adopt the suggested measure for sustaining its appeal in the global entertainment market.

Remarkably, the charlatanism that is inherent in performing arts is pervasive, but has not negatively affected it much. The audience has been patient, and excited at the effort; it has also been sympathetic at the challenges the industry has had to face. But when the patience and accommodation dry up, what would be left are the potentials of an enduring industry which it can acquire from the recommended variations fore-listed. The glut in the industry has slowed sales, and this is should be cause for bother which stiffer regulatory measures, industry harmonization, and marketing discipline can check. We must not be blinded by the glitter of the industry; it may well be the dancing clay feet of a glittering giant.

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