THE DIRECTOR/EDITOR NOLLYWOOD DISCONNECT:WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM STAR TREK, INTO DARKNESS

In the Nigerian film and broadcast industry, editors are merely tools with no creative input whatsoever, they join sequences and scenes together the way oga director asks them to, grade to over saturated tones because the director likes the look he gets off his LED tv with the unnatural colors and super tone options the TV gives and mostly use the same old recycled nollywood sounds-yes O we don’t like to hire other people to treat our sound or compose scores. So usually, an editor is a an unfulfilled player in the media industry with his sights set on one day directing, producing or earning a more prestigious sounding title that elevates him to a more enviable status on the totem pole. I am yet to find a fifty year old editor satisfied with his lot as an editor in the Nigerian multi media sphere, if you know any, kindly direct me to them. I ran across this interview with the female editing team of the J.J. Abrams produced STAR TREK, INTO DARKNESS and was impressed by the level on which they interacted with producer/director J.J. Abrams about the direction the film would take and realized that nollywood has no such interests, granted most of the editors either come out of half baked institutions – a certain one in surulere comes to mind – or interned with post production studios where the reason why they did things a certain way were never explained to them, deliberately or unconsciously, and were carried on as standard practice (in fact, I am a product of various parts of this kind of education and indoctrination into multi media production however I sought out more knowledge and questioned a lot of things and found out that some things we do as standard practice were a result of deficiencies prevalent within a long past era, even more common are the misnomers applied to certain post production processes which can leave one momentarily confused ). I mean one could argue that we haven’t yet explored Pudovkin’s 5 Editing Techniques in our films or the five points breakdown in our scriptwriting and as such our film making process is not yet sophisticated enough for that kind of interaction between both parties but regardless of this, the editor is not merely a tool, spending hours in front of loads of footage will give just about anyone, especially an editor, a perspective that could help mould the film even better than the director imagined. Here however, the focus is on who gets it done the fastest with the least amount of technical errors like jump cuts and crossings. To grow, we’d have to come to the realization that the sophistication we lack has to be built from somewhere, somehow, we can’t keep doing the ‘I will buy script from Mrs. A and the boy that shot Mr. D’ s film will shoot for me and that guy that edits for Oga Y should have my first cut of the movie in less than two weeks, this our ‘product assembly line’ method of making movies should stop, plain and simple, so here’s the link to the interview here, maybe we can make our own sci fi flick that’s a third as good before 2015

THIS NOLLYWOOD SHA, MOVIE REVIEW/RANT

MY NOLLYWOOD RANT(BASED ON AN ACTUAL NOLLYWOOD MOVIE)
As written by a guy who HAS to make his living from the nollywood head honchos.

So before I start this, opens five liter jerrycan of vitriol, drains it, and laces mouth with saccharine. I work in the Nigerian film and television industry, so in the course of my work I sometimes get to work with the ambassadors of the old and new nollywood. The only thing that sets these two apart is age, any serious Nigerian filmmaker who goes about making decent films with our kind of budgets does not quibble over issues like whether it is called nollywood or the Nigerian film industry. So when you come in contact with a “nollywood” person you’d know, and when you meet a filmmaker who is about his business there’s no mistaking him/her. Permit my rambling, but in nollywood, that is what we do, we let the new actor know that we discovered actress X,Y and Z’s elder brother’s stepchild and then get back to getting very little done as is evidenced in our movies. What inspired this write up is a soon to be released movie which fell into my lap while I was at the office of the executive producer/director of the film, minding my own business and trying to get some other work done. Knowing that this film of his would also get  released on cinema like all his previous ones, I decided for the public good to do a review of his latest offering.
The movie is titled the__________, I have politely decided not to mention the film as it has not even gone to the censorship board and I haven’t been paid to do the trailer(yes,I’m waiting for the money O). Anyway, in the same fashion as the new nollywood there is no space for the Mike Ezuronye, Nonso Diobi, and co,maybe the marketers have something to do with it? This movie stars Clarion Chukwurah Abiola, Nse Ikpe Etim, Mercy Johnson among others.

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The storyline is pretty simple, Clarion and her daughter Mercy J are hustlers. with madam Clarion the pimp, they fleece older clients of their money, as with all films with such a storyline, they get greedy, seek the ultimate jackpot and bad things happen. Sound familiar? The scriptwriter by name Bassey Nya did a horrific job on this, I could plot a better sequence in my sleep! I know this because I have learnt how to write scripts and it wasn’t at PEFTI-yes I said that,seriously check their syllabus. Let’s get into the story itself.
The story starts off with Mercy Johnson and a client in a car when she is then attacked by the client’s wife aided by a group of thugs. The thugs could try to learn how to fake beating up someone a whole lot better than they did, a jump cut at 2min 45 seconds changed my life forever!(I exaggerate, it made me question if the Higg’s boson theory would move from scientific postulation to scientific fact). Nse is one of my favorite actresses but that doesn’t mean her performance will save this flick though, besides, she is supposed to be an illiterate wannabe babe so no AMAA nominations for this one either because her character was one of the most disjointed and unnecessary ones made provision for in the script, please Mr. Bassey, the AFRIFF 2013 has a  programme on scriptwriting, and it’s as free as the air we breathe, do take a class there sir, thank you. Four minutes in and I’m begging to be let out of this misery, or maybe it’s my bias, I’m sure it’s my bias so I will keep watching. 14 minutes later and the chief Emenike character is the only good thing to happen to the film so far, considering that I turned off my computer after twenty minutes watching his last offering, this is an improvement. However, they screw up again. Chief and mercy J enter the car, the editor lets us see chief attempt to close the door three times, they drive off the shot, the editor shows us cut aways of express ways and more express ways, and cuts to the shot of the car driving in to the same location. Like they couldn’t even trail the car on ogunlana drive for a few seconds to show us that they actually left and came back to the hotel, I was left with the feeling that chief took mercy J in his car so he could drive round the hotel premises (which is what they did but never mind). As an after thought mercy Johnson looks like a beached whale but I hear it’s the baby fat so I’ll let it slide. The establishment shots were more like adverts, how much did club Lafayette pay for all the promo the film was doing them sef?  Ik Ogbonna only has a future in this guy’s nollywood,or I may be wrong-in case he win AMAA award next year let me put this one here O. Oh, more horrible editing from the 18th minute (the editor in me seems to think that’s important) . By the way, mercy Johnson’s backside has dimples? Who woulda thought!

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(thank you from fitting micro gown, I just threw up). Wait, there’s a plus side to this offering, the subtitles when they speak pidgin or vernacular is spot on, thank you Bro-no hOmo. On the other hand might I add that all I have managed to see in this movie is booty, more booty, and plenty booty, and having being cocooned in studios for so long the lycra/yoga pants/micro minis revolution in this film was sick, so if like thugnificent from the boondocks ‘booty butt cheeks’ are your thing, mute the audio and watch on, however, break your screen when mercy J’s own comes in view, the over sexualization of society bruh, nuff said. Wait O, Mercy Johnson’s boobs look looooooooooooong! See here

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Baby fat and weaning are responsible as they say and all so that slides too, really, it slides, I mean, it’s a slope already, a slippery slope.  The casting people ensure that fine yellow babes are, like errywhere, I think I know this one, yes? As such, I now postulate that more than half of African women are fair skinned, yes?

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As I had previously maintained, the subtitles are correct, except for here.

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It's long been correct

Okay in all honesty, I believe this is supposed to be comedy, in that case, if that’s what it is, then mercy j’s boobs are the punchlines(I know, I can’t be helped, *laughs) . This is the point where I inquire again how much club Lafayette payed for this promo, the editor makes sure he gives us a full panning shot of the establishment’s name, I am watching it on a quarter of my monitors display and I’m wondering how big it will be when watching it on a 42 inch television or a cinema-homeboy always gets his movies on cinema no matter what. Thirty five minutes later and Nse is still missing after her second scene appearance, for her sake I hope it stays this way as I cant bear to see her in this movie. More often than not I wonder if they adhered to any form of continuity on this film? Imagine this, Mama and pikin shake down chief Emenike for three hundred thousand naira in the morning with different hairstyles and then try to divide the loot in the evening with different hairstyles and clothes from the day before yesterday, I get that in shooting movies( I mean duh, I should know right?) , you don’t shoot sequentially, as in scene 1, then shoot scene 2, and 3 and on and on like that. However, don’t make it so blatant so we know this scene, that scene, and this one right here were shot in the same one hour time frame. Wait o! the yeye editor, by name Okey Benson had to put in that wide shot that showed Ik Ogbonna looking on at the ensuing fracas and then walking into the confrontation as if he had been slapped out of a trance and still had a good amount of sleep inducing Tylenol in his system(it would eventually be corrected I hope, but correcting an already color graded movie, unless it’s the editor who also graded and knows the project work flow) . So we get it! Homeboy is shagging both mama and pikin but that his nose that is bent already like, I know I’m beefing here but just look at it sha.

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You are hating my nose? Your own don enter film before?

Nse appears 42 minutes later and I just got weak, why Nse why! That aside, the ensuing scenes show me what yoga pants and stuff be hiding, muscular legs that would put Marion Jones to shame, see the ‘yam’ on this chicks legs mehn(not Nse O)! I tried uploading it but my phone froze(yeah I know, stale joke plus I’m deviating) back to the reviews though,at the end of the day the film can pass for comedy mostly because the all jiggly Mercy Johnson can be a clown of an actress when she applies herself to the role even though the script is highly incompetent and with her new found babyweight she can rival Martin Lawrence in his big mama disguise. I was going to ask whether the script writer, bassey nya, took scriptwriting lessons at pefti but then the producer/director did work on several super story projects with Wale Adenuga productions, I can now understand the films perspective, in  addition, they could have just done the film in Yoruba(or any other indigenous language) and subtitled it in English and we would have totally understood, seriously. Fifty minutes in and all I have to say is my patience is running thin,then I just go stupid, shut down the system and then I reconsider, sit back down and force myself to watch it only to discover – in much the same way Christopher Columbus discovered America-that the cameo actors,abi na extras, are total crap! The structural editing, possibly influenced by the directing gets progressively worse, and I just want to get to doing other productive stuff with my life . Another scene opens up with Ik Ogbonna trying to sell himself as a gigolo which leads to some interesting conversations. So the sugar mummy line is “I’ve got batteries that need recharging,what do you say?” Who knew?
Yaaah yu(Tunde Leye taught me that o) girl fight at 1hour 2minutes (like I have really tried mehn, how did I survive this long?) see lap ooooo, I would have been disappointed if this scene was not included in the script, typical. On a technical note, that scene was freaking overexposed like a bad photographers first offering, or maybe it was the post production color grading, no metadata was attached so I guess I won’t know for sure, from 1 hour 20 minutes I had the film playing at 200 percent, so everything was a jumble of manageably discernable audio and video, most nollywood films should be watched this way might I add. As the film progresses Nse gets to roll with the governor’s son who mama clarion and pikin mercy j have been trying to hook after a chance encounter. With her wearing trainers on dresses and bad hair, who knew courting the attention of the children of those in power was this simple? They were probably tired of all the Gucci wearing matchy matchy stuff I guess. The extras who have lines recite them like pupils of our children of iya elewedu nursery and primary school, government approved. I am looking at what is supposed to be a fierce bodyguard/bouncer taking his lines like a five year old reading from a teleprompter and the director obviously did not see reason for a retake. Chief emenike finally decides that he’d rather use mercy j instead of his potency to renew his money ritual, so after successfully luring her, and about to perform the ritual, he and his babalawo are arrested, the transitions between scenes play like a secondary school drama, Again, extras, are graduates of  our children of iya elewedu nursery and primary school, government approved. The only positives for this movie are cinematography, lights, location, custome and cast. This mumu blogs at filmmakerng.wordpress.com. If this review seems disjointed, then I have captured the film’s essence. Personally, as a drama series with multiple episodes, I think it would have fared better, who wouldn’t want to see Mercy Johnson, bloated or not, in a TV series that commands prime time? Lastly did I tell you what happened at the end of the film? Mercy Johnson ends up a vegetable after the botched ritual attempt and her mom has a heart attack when she discovers her cheating boy toy has left her oh well