NEC 2015: The Way Forward For The Entertainment Industry
ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM, Samuel Abulude, Solomon Nda-Isaiah
Stakeholders stormed the Ocean View Event Centre on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 to discuss on issues germane to the entertainment industry. In this report, SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH, ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM AND SAMUEL ABULUDE x-ray issues that were put on the front burner at the entertainment conference.
Arguably one of the sectors of the economy and industry that has faced a perennial stunted growth, the entertainment industry, which should contribute more than its current 1.1 per cent to the GDP, according to a report in 2014, is still at its teething stage as an industry, largely because of a lack of enabling environment for players to thrive.
The creative industry that should compete with that of other climes like South Africa, Jamaica, United Kingdom, France and Ghana, is still struggling. The movie sector is still facing its worst enemy-piracy and the musical artistes are not receiving their due royalties, effectively making paupers out of hardworking men and women that should otherwise be millionaires.
It was this sorry state of affairs that heralded a conference to discuss solely entertainment issues, conceptualised by journalist cum PR executive, Kunle Ayeni and his team. Now in its third year, the Nigerian Entertainment Conference brings artistes, actors, comedians, established and upcoming, together as well as players in the entertainment industry to jaw-jaw on solutions to the problems dogging the industry. But how quickly will the structures and enabling environment be formed and established?
This year’s theme ‘Buying And Selling Nigerian Entertainment…And Everything In Between’ was timely as our artistes have often been blamed for not mastering the business of entertainment, only reveling in celebrity status.
Ramsey Noah at NEC 2014 declared that in his near two decades experience as an actor, he was yet to master the business of entertainment because the environment did not provide the opportunity for such.
So, this year’s summit, which kicked off after Sheyi Shay sang the national anthem, had a lot of expectations and there was some improvement on the part of the organisers, who got partners and companies to exhibit their products in their corners. Companies like First Bank, Bank of Industry BOI, Enplug, COSON, Hip TV, MTV Base, Chocolate City and Camara Studios, among others were present at the conference.
Anchored by popular comedian and showbiz entrepreneur, Tee-A, the one-day conference brought together several important personalities from across the many fields within the entertainment industry such as EbonyLife CEO, Mo Abudu; veteran actress, Joke Silva; Iroko TV founder, Jason Njoku; pop superstar, Davido; founder of NotJustOk, Demola Ogundele; music producer, Shizzi; fashion designer, Mai Atafo and Quilox Club owner, Shina Peller.
This year, NEC had veteran and talented actress, Joke Silver, established musician of over a decade, Lanre Dabiri (Eldee) and George Thorpe, an experienced consultant in the industry, as the first speakers at the event.
Why Training Is More Important Than Talent
Mr George Thorpe spoke on the essence of the entertainment industry and why management and growth at all levels were needed. He spoke from the vantage point of one possessed with experience in different fields and management discipline, urging stakeholders to plan ahead and task the government to provide the enabling environment.
“Talent is never enough”: this was the unanimous conclusion reached by stakeholders-Chris Ihidero, editorial board chairman of NET newspaper and delectable actresses, Kemi Lala Akindojuand Joke Silva as well as Wole Olagundoye, panelists at the session on ‘Teaching and Training Tomorrow’s Talent of Nollywood.
The three, while fielding questions from the moderator, Dayo Odulaja of NET, took turns to buttress the points raised by the speaker, veteran actress, Joke Silva about the need for actors to constantly re-invent themselves by getting the right training.
Ihidero, an intelligent and humorous man, agreed with Joke Silver as he compared the industry to a marathon and not a dash, as widely believed and advised upcoming actors to be wary of quick fame which he says never lasts.
Kemi Lala-Akindoju of Dazzling Mirage added that only good training and constant development will help actors remain relevant and not sink into the pit of mediocrity.
‘Training is key; an actor who doesn’t constantly train him or herself will be forgotten after a few years, because whatever knowledge they had in the past may not be relevant at that time. Another thing is humility. At different times, I have had to go and buy food for my senior colleagues even with my two degrees. Acting is a profession that requires you to be a thousand persons throughout your career and to do this, you need to make sure your ego and personality don’t get in the way,” she said. Olagundoye on his part agreed with the need for training and also clamoured for participation and support from government. According to him, the government needs to put in place structures to facilitate these trainings, citing a few examples like the Molete Film Village in Kwara State chaired by Joke Silva and a few others.
Joke Silva harped on how dealing with piracy is the most important task facing Nollywood right now. Ihidero differed saying that what Nollywood needed most was an effective distribution system which will reduce the effect of piracy to the barest minimum. Rounding up the session, Silva cleared the air about the expectations actors have of their trainers as regards securing roles. She described it as inappropriate and advised that actors look out for roles and attend auditions rather than rely on their trainers.
“Training is as important as performance itself. Training can take the informal form as in the case of Yoruba Traveling Theatre or a formal, like university courses or at institutes such as Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, which I co-founded with my husband, Olu Jacobs.
- “It is very important for actors to get the right education; and not only once but throughout their career. If we don’t do this, what we will get is nothing but mediocrity. A trainer helps you get ready for the job and doesn’t find you the job. That is one thing a lot of new actors need to know and it is what my teachers at the academy hammer on.
“We also advise that they be a part of the industry, observe the trends and networks. I have spent about 34 years as an actor, I have trained several people but I realised that for me to properly understand a character, I need some extra training. So, I go to someone I am sure understands exactly what that character needs,” Joke Silva said.
She also mentioned the need for actors to surround themselves with professionals in whom they can entrust their management. To further corroborate her point, she cited an example of when she had a problem understanding a character she played in the stage play, For Coloured Girls and had to resort to help from popular director, Ifeoma Fafunwa for some direction.
Eldee’s Gives Rousing Speech
Following his presentation tagged: ‘The Future Of Music And Fans’ at the first session of the ongoing Nigerian Entertainment conference, Veteran rapper and Data Analyst, Eldee has been receiving encomiums from fans online, following his stellar presentation.
“Content producers in all sectors of the entertainment industry are plagued by all sorts of irregularities that are hindering their progress,’’ he said.
The musician added that if the practitioners in the entertainment sector were not able to reap from their creative output, then the growth of the industry would be seriously retarded.
“We should align with the scope of NEC and seek to achieve meaningful purpose that will advance the industry and life in general,” he said.
Record Labels Or The Artiste: Which Is Most Important?
Mo Abudu also took a session and tasked content owners on having a vision and prioritizing using her tv station Ebony Life Tv- the first global entertainment TV company in Africa. Before them MI took a session on the support system record labels give to an artiste insisting than a musician can go further in his/her career with a record label that has him as its focus than an artiste doing everything on its own. Osagie Alonge, a journalist with Pulse News differed citing the example of Olamide who is the best rapper right now and has an artist under his care, Lil Kesh who is doing great as an upcoming musician.
Audu Maikori Announces Resignation As CEO Of Chocolate City Music At NECLIVE 2015
It was an emotional moment for many at the Nigerian Entertainment Conference 2015 held at Eko Hotels and Suites, when Audu Maikori CEO of Chocolate City Music announced his plans to retire come June 2015.
According to him, his decision was based on the need to further strengthen the company and allow for the injection of new ideas into the system. He however did not reveal who will replace him.
“I have headed Chocolate City for the past 10 years and it’s been the most amazing period of my life despite the many challenges that came with it. There were times, I would get home and wished I wouldn’t have to go to work the next day. Some other times, artistes will need money and even though unavailable, we still have to find a way.
“At this point I have decided to step down as CEO of Chocolate City to allow for the younger generation to steer the ship. My resignation takes effect from June, but I won’t disclose who will take over from me until then,” he said.
His announcement came shortly after one of the label’s superstars, MI, had spoken explicitly about why record labels will continue to operate in the industry for a long time to come.
“At Chocolate City, we have adopted what I will like to call the “360 deal” approach. This caters for the artiste as a brand in totality and seeks to promote and better their craft, sales, management, endorsement as well as appeal to fans, rather than just sell their albums.”
MI later announced the merger of his Loopy Music with Chocolate City and a compilation album which will be released exclusively on STAR Music App. The record label has had Maikori chair its affairs since it was founded in 2005 and presently boasts well over 10 artistes, including MI, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, Ruby Gyang, Nosa, Victoria Kimani, Loose Kaynon, DJ Caise, DJ Lambo and others.
DAVIDO Teaches Upcoming Musicians The Art of Music Production
The successful event rounded up with Davido and music producer, Shizzi showing upcoming singers how to make a hit! Closing the third edition of the Nigerian Entertainment Conference 2015, talented producer, Shizzi and Davido showed everyone in the hall how to make/create a hit song. In a 15-minute demonstration, the self-styled O.B.O and his longtime producer wowed the audience with their skills in the production boot.
17 Entertainers Given Post Humus Awards
Late Nollywood actor, Muna Obiekwe; singer and TV star, Susan Filani aka Goldie; renowned movie producer Amaka Igwe, rapper Olaitan Oladapo aka Dagrin, whose fifth year memorial was also marked on the same day, as well as Kannywood actor, Dan Ibro, and acting legend, Justus Esiri were all remembered. Others are distinguished fashion designer, Oluremi Dorcas Osholake aka Remi Lagos, Margaret-Mary Joseph aka Zara Gretti, prolific actor, Enebeli Ebeluwa, singer, Kefee Don Momoh and actors, Sam Loco Efe, Peter Eneh, and Francis Agu.
Also recognised were actresses Bisi Komolafe and Ashley Nwosu; Yoruba movie actor, Ishola Durojaiye aka Ahmed Alasari; Nigerian music icon, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju aka Fatai Rolling Dollar; street music symbol Olufemi Mayomi aka Father U-Turn; actor, Tony Umole; movie producer, Collins Ifeanyichukwu; rapper Obiajulu Kenneth Nwaozor aka MC Loph; comedian John Chijioke aka CD John and music icon, Christy Essien Igbokwe.
The annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference, organised by Nigerian Entertainment Today (NET) is a discussion and agenda-setting forum for the entertainment industry in Nigeria and since its inception in 2013, it has become the premier location for all internal and external conversations in the industry.
Culled from www.leadership.ng