Before the Internet, if you wanted to be in a Nollywood movie
you have to seek out when popular filmmakers are announcing new projects and go for their auditions
But today, that is changing. Filmmakers now desire talents that are either internet sensations or have a huge social media following
In this post, we go more in-depth with popular actor Baaj Adebule who has worked on several Nollywood projects before and after the arrival of this thing called Social Media
it’s good stuff, let’s read
Kindly introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Baaj Adebule. Actor, Filmmaker from Nigeria
You have been in the industry for a while now, is there growth?
We have been growing over the years in the film industry, but it’s a three-step forward, two steps backward kind of growth
So we are moving forward but at a very slow pace
Why did you say this?
I feel we make a lot of good decisions and then as well as bad decisions that end up negating the good decisions; it’s that kind of scenario
As an actor, is it necessary to have a huge social media following to get roles?
Right now, it is not necessary but mandatory
Everyone knows audiences are on heavily present on social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
This simple fact pushes filmmakers and directors decisions on what talent they get for their projects – this is cool
But for me, it starts to get bad when they put the social media following first before the craft
That’s when you start having films in the cinema or on TV that have a lot of faces but no substance or no real craft to display
An actor can only do what an actor can do and a non-actor will do what a non-actor can do
which is “Not Act”
That’s really the bad part
You just have to make sure you have a balance with getting an actor without much social media following and also a non-actor with huge social media presence which makes sure the project is not a let down on craft, ability or reach
Anytime I meet a young actor that asks me the question…
“Where to go or how to do it?”
I always reply, work on your craft continuously, Every day!
Keep focusing on getting better
But remember to put that much energy into your social media presence as well because that’s probably where they will get you from
I can’t count the number of movies and series I have gotten off from a picture of a project i was doing or maybe a teaser or trailer that was posted on my social media accounts
I don’t even think they watched the actual film
Does that mean filmmakers only judge based on what they see on social media??
Not exactly, but it plays a part because I definitely still know a lot of filmmakers that are very particular about seeing your showreel but they are very little
There are some that check out your Instagram, like what they see and then ask if you can come in for a reading or screen test just so that they are convinced that you can actually deliver
But some just look at numbers and say oh – this is our guy/lady
Did social media have any impact on your first breakthrough project??
Absolutely not – Social media was barely a thing back then and I barely even had a presence back then
My first project was definitely through an audition and I got cast for the project
Do you think auditions still hold these days for huge projects??
I do know a lot of people that still hold auditions for their projects but it is not as popular as it was
10 years ago it was a common practice
5 years it has reduced
Presently, it has drastically reduced
As time is going more forward. It is getting less popular
The internet has changed the landscaped of auditions, filmmakers these days can easily request for submission of monologue videos
They will watch it there and check out the performances of the actor
Some other filmmakers might see a skit of talents on the internet that has gone viral
Quick they reach out with the mind of “he/she is the rave of the moment” let us ride on it
The above scenarios have become more rampant as opposed to the good old days – where you go for several auditions, wait for callbacks and get called in for a screen test
That’s how my time was, but now it is not so much popular
What’s your take on filmmakers casting influencers for their major lead roles?
(laughs) err I don’t think I am in any position to weigh in on that, I have only done a couple of films, people who have actually done a body of work can start to judge or criticize filmmakers for their choices
But it’s your film man – Cast who you want to cast (laughs)
I am very sure filmmakers have their reasons you know
Each filmmaker have a kind of films they want to make, they know the kind of audience they want to get across to
So to each his/her own
If I were to do my film, for the major roles that actually require actors, I will decide to cast actors
Then for the supporting roles, cameos and other roles that really don’t require actors – They could be played by someone that is funny or influencers and they have like one or two scenes which are not really important to the story but they just help to increase the good feeling about the movie
That’s how I will decide to go about it, because that’s how I want to make my film but if other people decide to do the other way round – to each their own, we are different people
It is established that actors need to build their social media following, what strategy can you share?
No one has really created a specific strategy yet
Everyone is still chopping and trying stuff out
But I would tell you the skills some of my friends use
Become a social media comedian
make funny skits, put it up and hopefully people with large accounts will repost (I actually tried this one but I looked at the video and was like, nope – this is not me but it really works)
Showoff on the internet
Post fly and beautiful pictures yourself, respond to comments and stay interactive
Travel and Tell All
Travel to exotic places and tell the gram about. From day one of getting the tickets to the day you are back in Lagos traffic
Give us every detail – This works too (laughs)
Start A Scandal
Start or get in a scandal of some sort that can make you go viral
This one I don’t support but hahaha it works PERFECTLY. No one is even going to judge for being completely ridiculous on the internet.
Clout chasing culture is really not that bad anymore. Everyone does it these days
Like I said everyone is still trying new stuff and try to figure out what works for them
If you are one of the lucky few who got projects that put them out there like me – Tinsel, Hush, battleground, a soldier’s story, Lekki wives and The men’s club, etc
All these projects i worked on blew up and blew me as well
So I ended up not really needing to do a lot of that so lucky me
Now if this is not happening for you, come up with a skit, travel to some beautiful place, put out pictures do whatever you can but don’t soil your name in the mud whilst try to blow up for roles
So yea. That’ s it
This was a good discussion, thank you for speaking with us
You are welcome
Thank you for reading this
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