Nollywood has come under various ridicule for mediocre movies. The major point of contention is Nollywood storylines. A lot of people blame screenwriters for these wack storylines. But it may interest you to know that it may not always be their fault.
Here are reasons why:
1. Story ideas are very limited
First of all, due to the way the industry is structured, it is difficult to find a filmmaker who is interested in buying a screenplay especially if you’re new. If you do find one, you will quickly realize you don’t have the luxury of letting your imagination run wild. You see, most Nollywood filmmakers are scared of thinking outside the box. Hence, a screenwriter must follow suit if he or she wants to put food on the table. This is why we have a lot of copy-copy in the industry. Once a person starts a successful trend, others follow until another risks starting something new and coming out successful. In fact, the new trend is most Nollywood storylines revolve around very few characters. In IrokoTV for instance, some don’t have up to five characters in one movie.
Tips for Nollywood screenwriters, if you can write a screenplay that has just one character, you will see filmmakers falling over themselves to get your screenplay. It may look good on paper, whether it will equally turn out good on screen is another matter. This is not to say one can’t write an interesting screenplay with few characters. But when it is too much, it becomes monotonous and boring. Unfortunately, that is what we witness in Nollywood movies.
2. Most Nollywood filmmakers cannot afford fantastic screenplays
So you have finally found filmmaker who is interested in your screenplay. Your screenplay is the bomb. It can sweep up all the awards in the industry. You know it, the filmmaker knows it as well. Then he or she offers you a price that will wound your soul. Remember all the sacrifices you had to make to create this wonderful work of art. The painstaking research, sleepless nights, talking to yourself like a madman, etc. And the filmmaker is offering you 50k or even 20k for your efforts. This is what screenwriters go through in the industry and this is why Nollywood storylines are wack. The industry doesn’t encourage screenwriters to go the extra miles at all. Imagine being paid peanuts for pouring your heart and soul in your screenplay. Omo, next time you will not want to try at all. You will just write an ok script and sell. Why bother going the extra mile while you can just sell a wacky script for the same price?
3. Last minute re-writing of a screenplay without the screenwriter’s knowledge
You have finally done it. After all the hassles of negotiations and re-writing your screenplay to suit the filmmakers demands which often means starting from the beginning, you have finally sold it. Then the movie is made and released. And you relax in your living room with your popcorn and drink to watch your story unfold on the screen. You’re bursting with pride especially when you’re watching with family and friends. You can’t wait to tell them what inspired each scene you wrote. And… boom. You can’t believe what you’re watching. You’re like “wait a minute, this is not my script at all. Well, it looks like my script but this isn’t how I wrote it.”
What happened? While you were busy glowing and congratulating yourself for successfully writing and selling your screenplay, the filmmaker and director are making last minute adjustments to cut budget. They keep adjusting and cutting out scenes until the end product is the nonsense you’re watching on screen that makes you wince and deny you wrote the screenplay. To make matters worse, your name will be boldly written as the screenwriter, spoiling your reputation.
These are the reasons why Nollywood storylines are wack. Next time you see a Nollywood movie with a wacky storyline, be careful when you blame the screenwriter.
Do you have more reasons or you don’t agree with our points? Let us know in the comment section.