Arts  

Silver: Filmmaking has a universal language

Ladipo Afolabi Silver

Ladipo Afolabi Silver is a film and TV director. He is the creative head, Silver Light Integrated Media. In this chat with GERALDINE AKUTU, he explains his journey into filmmaking.

How long have you been making film and videos?
I got my first production management job in 1999 at IDCL for a TV series titled, Beauty Parlour. It was produced by Michael Shaibu and directed by Kingsley Omoefe. And in 2000, I had my first directing job for a series titled, The firm. And it was a flop. This was why I joined Antar Laniyan to understudy his directing skills. At that time, he was involved in the Superstory series. During this period, my time was divided, I was juggling between NTA to learn producing and uncle Antar for directing. I did this for four years before I got employment at Alphavision (now CMA, the mother company of ONTV, Soundcity to mention a few) as associate producer and director.

How many movies have you produced and directed so far?
I cannot recall all their names, but few notable ones are, One Love, Everyday People, Laugh Patterns. I also produced and directed Nollywood Behind The Scene and Rhythm and Blues. I also directed Road to Stardom and co-directed, Daddy’s Girls.

How has the journey into filmmaking been so far?
It’s been tough, fun, demanding and giving. It has shown me love and sometimes rejection. It has made me cry, but most times I laugh. Passion for the profession was what drove me and has kept me going. God has been faithful and has helped me to survive the challenges that would have put me down.

What makes your films different from others?
Well, filmmaking has a universal language. If we all are able to understand and translate the language into visuals, there won’t be much difference. I try to make a statement with every shot, frame and movement I take. I don’t do trends until I understand the meaning. I try to infuse method acting into my actors. Acting is like music, it is an art. If you don’t feel it, you can’t translate it. I monitor the post-production from editing to movie export. This is highly necessary so as to make sure all transitions, treatments, music, sound effects, and dialogues correspond with the language of each scene and the general outlook of the story. And I try to create some wow moments probably what has never been done within the resources I have.

I am a product of four great mentors: Tunji Adesina (late), who was then programmes director at NTA, the legendary actor, Richard Mofe Damijo; Kingsley Omoefe, a renowned TV series director and former DGN secretary and Antar ‘Laniyan, a prolific actor, director and producer. These were the four people God used to make me who I am today in the industry. But personally, I had to develop and apply self-education, self-discipline, humility, determination, endurance, and tolerance.

Where did you get your inspiration?
God inspires me a lot. He gives me the ability to imagine and be able to execute and fulfil. Then the power of music. Music takes me to another realm. Then the motivation and prayer of my mother and my father’s doubt in my creative ability (we are best friends now).

What do you like about your job?
Everything that comes with it. Maybe the question should be what I don’t like about my job. Then I will tell you it’s the space between not working. It will surprise you that until now, I used to love working more than the money that comes with it. But now, it has to be balanced. But within me, deep down, I love shooting movies. I am simply doing what I am enjoying. I love the fact that I am doing something that put smiles on people’s faces and equally entertain them.

What’s your take on the Nigerian film industry?
If worshipping is allowed, we must worship the ancestors that created this industry for us. It’s unfortunate that the industry that was built with sweat and honour is getting destroyed by the day. The effort of great filmmakers of this day get bastardised by quacks. The industry of well-trained professionals is now for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Quantity has now been prioritised above quality. The Nollywood that was close to competing with the world best has now fallen short of its glory. Thank God for the few good ones that are still holding us up.

What positive changes would you like to see in the industry?
The industry needs to be structured. It seems the Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are sleeping. Everything seems to have fallen apart. Majority of so-called filmmakers, especially the ones in television, need to put more effort in our content over camera picture quality. I will also like the government to support the industry not only financially, but also in making policies and execution.

What plans are in the offing for you or your company?
We spent most of last year to settle all the legal demands. Had no choice but to rebrand the name from Scenic Lite Media to Silver Light Integrated Media. This gives us opportunity to incorporate a lot together in one. Last year, we established our Slim Art and Interior decorations outfit. This year will be Slim Music and Artiste Management. We have plans for movies and we intend to promote the ingenuity of Nigerian talents. We also have other things lined up which will be unveiled later.

What valuable lessons have you learnt on this job?
They are uncountable. I have received so much love as much as envy. I have seen enemies or competitors pretending to be friends. I have seen fans vote inferior movies to win the best awards over highly creative and intellectual movies. I understand that God’s grace is paramount. When you have God’s grace on your side and your jobs, you are regarded as the best. And again, you must not stop learning and running. A lot of people are running after you. Don’t be too comfortable when you are up there. The ground is always shaking. You don’t have it all. Make as many friends as possible but choose your caucus right. Most importantly hold on to God alone. I advise upcoming ones to be creative, passionate, tenacious, self-motivated and consistent. Also, be friendly, humble, be prayerful and above all, be godly.

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