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"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun."
 Mary Lou Cook
 "Discovery consists of seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody has thought". –Anon. Creativity is the ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic form. The term generally refers to a richness of ideas and originality of thinking. And the Television and Radio industries in Africa are in need of persons with richness of ideas and originality of thinking. Without creativity, the products of these industries will bore the general public resulting in stagnation and decline. For our industry to develop, grow and be sustainable, we need people who are highly creative. "I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." 
Pablo Picasso
 "To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."
 Henri Bergson
 "I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life."
 Miles Davis There are many blocks to creativity, however the three main blocks are the environment, other people and ourselves. Environmental blocks. This is the condition under which we operate. For example, dress codes and tidy offices at work are all subtle signals that remind us that we must conform, even in our thinking. Most of the time this is not a bad thing as it helps to create a sense of order, but when we want to be creative it can be obstructive, even when we are working alone. In such a situation, to be creative, it can be a good idea to go off to where you can be yourself. Since environments can be supportive as well as obstructive, one can deliberately build an environment that are full of creative stimuli--or maybe just very relaxing. Effective creative environments can vary with people and moods, so it is advisable to experiment with your surroundings so you can build the most effective environment that enhances your creativity. People blocks. Blocks can come from other people. As highly social creatures even the thought that someone may find us ridiculous is enough to make most of us clam up. We are also competitive and judgmental which can easily lead us to evaluating others and their ideas, even when we consciously know this can affect them. We should allow for creativity by allowing for differences of opinion, or viewpoints -freedom to think, feel and contribute fully. We can allow people their creative space by accepting the person, empathising and not evaluating them. Note that group creativity is particularly tricky and why one of the basic brainstorming rules is 'no judgement'. It is also useful to have a neutral facilitator run the sessions on group creativity. Internal blocks When it comes to creativity, one of the major blocks is - ourselves. More accurately, it is our subconscious and that little voice that warns us of the dangers of unconventional thought. Many of these blocks come from our past and are programmed in from an early age. We are taught to follow the rules, be logical and not rock the boat. Our parents, teachers and peers have all helped us put some powerful psychological blocks in place to keep us on the straight and narrow socially acceptable road. Most of the time this is helps to see that things are properly done, but when we want to be creative, it is can be an obstacle. In the final analysis, all blocks are internal, although the people and things around us can still make it easier or harder to get into a creative frame of mind. Blockbusting 'Block-busting' is a term that is used to describe deliberate actions or thoughts that are used to overcome our creative blocks. In this regard one should develop an understanding of the creative process and ways of overcoming barriers or blocks to having new ideas. For example, a creative skill that children use is play, where suspension of disbelief and open exploration is the norm. As adults we sometimes worry that others will judge us if we 'stoop to childlike behaviour'. If we can overcome this irrational fear and take on a playful frame of mind, we can re-open this valuable avenue of exploration. We should thus work at developing our creativity by removing the blocks that affect them. “Everything has bee thought of before, but the problem is to think it again” - Goethe


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One of the most defective areas in Nigerian productions is in the area of sound. Most of the productions are lacking in sound quality. In this regard, there is need to have trained and experienced sound effect editors and sound mixers. Crashes, footsteps, coughs, weather effects, clapping . . . these are just a few examples of different sound effects that get reworked in post-production stages of television and film. Sound effects editors are sound editors who specialize in editing sound effects. Sound effects refer to the sounds, other than dialogue, that objects or people make, coupled with the sounds that occur naturally in the background. Some sounds that are injected into a production may not even sound like the real thing. Sometimes it does not matter provided the sound effect works within the creative framework of the production. Sound effects editors work with sounds and events happening on or off screen. Operate audio equipment to record and edit music, dialog and sound effects for films, videos, radio and television. Use control board to coordinate and balance pre-recorded sound effects with movies or TV shows. They have to create the desired effect - for example the footsteps of a killer, coming down the hallway are an off-screen event intended to create suspense. We cannot see this killer, but we are conscious of his or her footsteps. The sound editor is also responsible for background ambience - off-screen activity that the audience may never see, such as a passing siren, party sounds, animals, a rain storm, etc. Editors most often build sound effects tracks from scratch. They focus on selected sounds to create tension, atmosphere and emotion. Sound effects editors must be patient, because they will spend long hours in the studio. They must have good ear for sound, pitch and tone and have the ability to pay close attention to details. They should also enjoy using electronic equipment to perform tasks requiring precision. They must love producing sound effects and be able to create interesting sounds, and have a solid understanding of the film editing process. Sound effects editors may be required to work extremely long hours in a studio or on a film set. They also work indoors in soundproof, windowless studios. Formal training is very specialized and not many schools offer such programs. Most sound effects editors acquire a working knowledge of today's computer-based recording technologies, such as digital mixing and random access editing, and adapt quickly to many different recording formats and devices by learning on the job or taking related training courses. Closely associated with sound for television, film and related media is a sound mixer. A Sound Mixer must have the ability to scrutinize sounds and adjust, create or re-create them. Sound mixers make their living by the ability to create, scrutinize, critique, modify, shape, control, the details and sound quality of music and audio sound. They operate equipment to mix and edit sound, music and videotape to produce soundtrack for motion pictures, television and radio programs, videos, music recordings and live events. Sound mixers are involved in the process of re-recording multiple reels of track to produce one final soundtrack, which includes all dialogue, looped dialogue (ADR), music, sound effects, and narration for each reel of picture. During this process, the sound mixer can adjust the volume and equalization of the sound units on the individual reels in relation to each other, as well as produce effects such as fade-ins, fade-outs, and cross fades. Sound mixers may operate equipment designed to produce special effects, such as the illusions of a bolt of lightning or a police siren. Accordingly, they can add echoes, delays, speed up or slow down tempos and fine-tune voices. It is the sound engineer who manipulates sound to produce the desired effect. Most sound recordings are produced using digital audio recording systems enabling them to record hundreds of tracks for sessions or on hard disc based computers and samplers. The sound mixer then takes each of these separate recordings and mixes them together to form a polished sound. The same happens in film during the post-production stage. Sound mixers become skilled by learning on the job or taking related training courses. They must keep updated with new technological and digital advances. Recording techniques are increasingly computerized and digitized, which allows allow sound mixers to work at a faster and more efficient pace. Sound mixers must be patient because they will spend long hours in the studio. They must have good ear for musical sound, pitch and tone and have the ability to pay close attention to details.


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In my recent blogs we have been considering how to get our productions to the “next level” Due to the dart of formal training institutes in filmmaking and related media, the Nigerian film, television and radio industry severely suffers from inadequacy in technically competent people. While the initial technical base of the workforce came from former employees of the Nigerian Television Authority, there has been little scope for training and capacity development of the personnel involved in the industry. This is evident in the relatively deficient quality of Nollywood films, television production and radio programs when compared to Bollywood or Hollywood films, television productions from Europe and the Americas. Improvement in quality is essential if Nollywood and the Nigerian audiovisual media have to make a mark in the global film industry and reach a global audience. This brings to fore the need for professionalism. Television and radio productions are for professionals. It needs requisite skills to ensure quality productions. Discipline, training, regulation and maintenance of standards are of utmost importance. In my blog last week we took a look at he need for good lighting and lighting technicians and their contribution towards the making of a good production. This week we look at the importance of good cinematographers and cameramen to the production process. A great deal of thought and effort is put into camera angles, lighting and specific shots in all films. Cinematographers using cameras are responsible for working on creating these effects. They use and manipulate cameras, lighting and related equipment to create the desired visual mood or "feel" of a film or video production. Cinematographers are sometimes called "directors of photography" (DP). DPs make many creative decisions that affect the look of the film. They usually direct a number of assistants who operate the cameras and lighting equipment. For example, the cameraperson operates the camera according to the strict instructions of the cinematographer. If they want the camera to pan a scene or shoot from a bird's eye view, this will happen in the filming process. Cinematographers by adjusting cameras for desired focus, exposure, composition and other settings and by the use of lighting and other techniques, such as lens selection, filtration, exposure and focus create images on film by working closely with the director and other production crew members, especially the camera operator. Cinematographers must be talented and creative individuals that can visualize a finished product before its completion. They must be willing to put in long hours of practicing their art, developing their own style and keeping up to date with technological Cinematographers must enjoy directing and co-coordinating camera and lighting work, finding innovative ways to do things, and working with equipment. A cinematographer is in charge of a small crew and should enjoy dealing with a multitude of different people and must be able to co-ordinate the work of others and teach apprentices how to operate and manipulate cameras. They should be knowledgeable in all aspects of camera and film production, and in different styles and sizes of film and cameras. This is why formal training is recommended, as cinematographers need a solid grounding in both the theoretical and technical aspects of the work. They need to know cameras inside and out, including lenses and filters. Most have undergraduate degrees in technical film studies. Film camera operators operate film and motion picture cameras and related equipment to record different types of film. They use specific cameras, lenses and lighting techniques to create a desired look to a film. They sit or stand behind the camera lens and try to compose moving pictures. On a film set, the camera operator works directly under the director of photography (DP) and over the second cameraman. They are responsible for the smooth panning and tilting of the camera and keeping shots framed and composed as required by the (DP). The DP has the authority to reject any shot that has faulty camera movement, focus, composition or any unwanted encroachment in the frame by a person, thing or effect, therefore the camera operator may have to re-shoot any shots with flaws. Camera operators read charts and compute ratios to determine variables such as lighting, shutter angles, filter factors, and camera distance. Camera operators use different techniques in filming such as zooms, fades and blurring of the background, with a close up focus. Camera operators adjust the position and controls of photographic equipment and select cameras, accessories, equipment, and film stock to use during filming. Camera operators trouble shoot around the set or location for potential problems and to determine filming and lighting requirements. Camera operators make sure that all the visual components of the story are captured accurately and interestingly. They need to have excellent motor (hand-eye) coordination, good vision and hearing and a great deal of stamina. They should possess an interest in electronics and new technology. Camera operators must remain alert while performing routine, repetitive tasks and respond quickly if any potential problems occur. They should enjoy working with a crew of people and be able to clearly communicate ideas.


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A great script and excellent performances by the cast can be destroyed by poor technical quality. Those involved with the technical aspects of productions must be well-qualified technicians. Technicians must take pride in their jobs, by learning the necessary skills, re-learning and always updating their skills so that the technical quality of the productions is improved upon. In this week’s blog we take a close look at the need for good Lighting Design Which is a product of good lighting designers and technicians. Lights! Camera! Action! When it comes to the movies, do we really pay a lot of attention to the camera work, or take notice of the lighting? We go to the movies for the action, because that's the part that counts. Right? Wrong. The crews that help put movies together all contribute in important ways. The lighting designers/technicians are no different. Lighting designers/technicians create the lighting and effects for television, video and film productions. Wherever lighting needs to be dramatic, and highlight a person or scene in a movie, lighting designers/technicians have a hand in the project. Lighting plays a crucial role in the "look" and "feel" of films and theatrical productions. It creates a mood and sets the atmosphere for the audience. Lighting designers are responsible for setting the mood for each scene or environment. A mystery play requires spooky lighting. At outdoor locations, a lighting technician could set up for a scene and then all of a sudden, the sun will disappear behind the clouds! When and if this happens, the technician must act quickly and change the lighting to either brighten or dim a specific scene. They must capture the director's vision, rain or shine. Each production will require different lighting. The lighting designer meets with the director, or whoever is in charge of the project, and discusses the moods, emotions, and actions in each scene or event. The designer then develops a plan what will change the lights whenever the tone changes. Lighting designers often work as technicians, setting up and running the lights. This requires good technical knowledge, a comfort with heights, and a good sense of timing. Lighting technicians work behind the scenes of productions to create lighting and special lighting effects to enhance the visual impact of the show. They usually set up, maintain and operate light fixtures, control devices, and the associated electrical and rigging equipment used for television, motion picture, and theater and stage productions. Sometimes called gaffers, they use lighting fixtures, color filters, patterns, light modifiers and various methods of control and manipulation to create different lighting effects. Successful lighting designers/technicians need to be interested in theater, film, and television production, and the use and possibilities of dramatic, theatrical light. Lighting designers/technicians are safety-conscious, and of necessity have to work well and efficiently, even under pressure. Lighting designers should be creative and innovative in their designs, as well as practical, precise, and organized. They need excellent communication skills, and feel comfortable expressing themselves to directors as well as to large groups of technicians. Lighting designers/technicians should also be in good physical health as they are often required to move heavy equipment. They should have normal color vision and good hearing. Lighting designers/technicians must be comfortable with heights because much of the lighting is always set up at a considerable height. Lighting designers/technicians must be visually creative and have the ability to concentrate on the lighting during a production. and must be able to respond quickly to technical problems while observing safety precautions in any film or production. Lighting designers/technicians are innovative artists who share a love and understanding for the complexities of light. In the past, most lighting designers/technicians learned on the job, however aspiring lighting designers/technicians should start paying attention to the lighting in movies, plays, and television shows. Watch for lighting cues, pay attention to where the lights are focused, what colors they are, and how they move For formal training, one should consider a college diploma or a university degree in broadcast arts, engineering technology, fine arts, theater, or theatrical design. . In order to stay competitive lighting designers/technicians need to constantly update their knowledge and learn any new technologies that are being used in the film and theater industry.


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In my blog two weeks ago, how to get Nollywood to the Next Level was the subject of my discourse. This was discussed in general terms. Last week, we examined what I consider the first step in making a good movie – A good script. This week, let us look at what I consider the second step in the process – GETTING THE ACT TOGETHER. Once a great script is at hand, then those interpreting the roles must get their acts together. Actors must be able to interpret the script properly and deliver excellent performance. People love to be entertained. Movies, television shows, stage plays, anything that presents them with a reality a little different from their own. While a lot of people are involved in creating these fantasies from scriptwriters to caterers, it is the actors that people can identify with. The actors are the people who bring the stories to life. Actors present stories to us in a number of ways. The actors have the job of making a story believable. They are the characters and must be able to act out scenes convincingly while remembering their lines. To perform well actors have to attend rehearsals for the shows to prepare for the days of shooting. The actor might be taught certain skills that he or she needs for the part. Many actors learn sword fighting, how to hold and shoot guns, how to do stunts, sing and dance their way through stage musicals, and more. Actors spend much of their time reading scripts, and waiting around the set for the lighting, cameras, and extras to be in place before beginning a scene. They may be required to do the scene over and over again, until everything is just right. Most of the armature performances we see on our screens are a result of producers or executive producers giving acting roles to their friends and relations who have no acting experience whatsoever. They fail to take into account that actors may need to spend years preparing for their careers. Although there are no requirements for becoming a professional actor, people starting out need to have a lot of training. They should have experience of performing. They should also be able to sing, dance and move comfortably in front of others, so dance and singing lessons are beneficial. A good way to learn all about the world of theater, including how to move, how to present a resume, and how to prepare for an audition, is by completing a university degree or college diploma in theater. This also gives students an opportunity to be involved in productions. To become one of the leading actors you must have proper acting training, and while not all actors have official training, most have completed some kind of course in speech and drama, film and TV or night acting classes. There are also some private schools, which teach, acting in small groups, as well as one-on-one. Studying improvisation may come in handy as an actor may be constantly asked to improvise lines or actions and classes can really help give you a structure to do that. Working as an extra for film, television, and the theater is also a good way to learn about the industry The best (possibly only) way to get better and to hone your natural acting talent is to perform. Only focus on improving your acting and doing an amazing job. You have to focus not only on making the show you’re doing good but also improving yourself. Actors need to be extremely creative and imaginative, patient, committed and self-disciplined. They must be prepared to work long hours, as well as motivated and confident in order to pursue acting, especially during periods of no work and rejections. Actors must be able to handle criticism and learn from it. They must be able to adapt quickly to different situations, take directions well, and be able to work with others in a group. They must have a good memory, and be willing to work in film, television, commercials, and on stage. There is little job security in this field, and the work environment is tough, demanding, and also, very rewarding. Actors should be informed about all aspects of the business, including professional meetings, working with agents, directors, and producers. They should know as much as they can about the business. An actor may spend years struggling as an extra and bit part actor without ever making it big. Actors may have to sacrifice a lot, move to where the jobs are, and audition, again and again until the big break finally comes.


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In my blog last week, how to get Nollywood to the Next Level was the subject of my discourse. This was discussed in general terms. As promised, we would examine the issues raised in that blog in specific terms in the coming weeks. So in this week’s blog, let us get down to one of the specifics. THE BASICS of a good motion picture is the script. The script is about the most strategic aspect in the production of a good movie. The scriptwriter creates the images that the director interprets, he creates the words the actors speak, and he even helps set the pace of the movie for the director. Without a good script there can be no good movie. Scripts should be well crafted so as to have excellent dramatic elements, plots and sub plots. The scriptwriter's work is the source of all that happens in a film. Although the director moulds the film into his or her own creative vision, it is still the scriptwriter that creates the original idea. He/She invents a make believe world in which the audience can learn, be engaged and entertained. Many people underestimate the amount of serious effort and work put into writing a script. The intent of a good screenplay is to keep the audience engaged, while developing memorable characters; expressing thoughts intelligently and creating interesting plot twists. Writing a screenplay is both a learned skill that must be practiced over time and a natural gift. Scriptwriters use their imagination to create and weave stories. You can become a good writer only by writing. Doing lots of writing. Most successful writers spend years writing before they start "getting it right." The more one writes, the better confidence, skill and ability one will attain. Scriptwriters are also quite familiar with rewriting and revising their material. A good script, like a good poem needs a good edit. Good scripts express ideas beautifully, intelligently, creatively and clearly in writing. They create brilliant characters, depict landscapes and historical scenes and describe awesome images that viewers grow to love, hate and know by heart. The idea is to entertain an audience through the writing. However, scriptwriters should not become emotionally attached to their original work, because directors, producers and other writers will definitely change a few things around. Although rejection is more prevalent than acceptance, (scriptwriters must learn to accept rejection and not take it personally), true scriptwriters are known for their persistence, self-discipline and tenacity. There is no required educational path for becoming a scriptwriter. Nevertheless, many scriptwriters have university degrees in English, theater, film, creative writing or journalism. Since a postsecondary education does not ensure success as a scriptwriter, experience is the best teacher in this field. University or college training can be useful in developing research skills, film and theater knowledge. Attending scriptwriting workshops and conferences can help one with the technical aspects of the craft. One can also find a correspondence course on script writing useful. Again, the best training a scriptwriter can gain is by writing and writing as much as they can. Find websites that publish plays and scripts for free and study those that are relevant to your area of interest. Keeping a journal and constantly jotting down thoughts and ideas will help writers develop their own voice, characters and ideas as a scriptwriter. Your comments and contribution to this blog are welcome.


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Much has been said and written about the productivity of Nollywood as the third largest content producer behind Bollywood and Hollywood. Quantity without quality will not get us to where we aught to be. So in this week's blog, I want us to consider how we get to the "Next Level" in general terms and in subsequent weeks examine each of the aspect highlighted in a more in depth manner. I will appreciate readers contribution in the development of this topic. THE BASICS Scriptwriting must head the list. Scriptwriting is about the most strategic aspect in the production of a good movie. The scriptwriter creates the images that the director interprets, he creates the words the actors speak, and he even helps set the pace of the movie for the director. Without a good script there can be no good movie. Scripts should be well crafted so as to have excellent dramatic elements, plots and sub plots. GETTING THE ACT TOGETHER Once a great script is at hand,then those interpreting the roles must get their acts together. Acting. Actors must be able to interpret the script properly and give excellent performance. LIGHT, CAMERA, SOUND. A great script and excellent performances by the cast can be destroyed by poor technical quality. Those involved with the technical aspects of productions must be well-qualified technicians. Technicians must take pride in their jobs, by learning the necessary skills, re-learning and always updating their skills so that the technical quality of the productions are improved upon. CREATIVITY Creativity is all about learning, improving oneself, recognizing that one does not know everything about everything. – Actor and Broadcaster Taiwo Obileye PROFESSIONALISM IN NOLLYWOOD First, mediocrity thrives in Nollywood. Some actors and actresses don’t take the pain to learn the art of acting; they just gate crash and make a mess of the industry. In the same vein, some producers just produce movies with outdated cameras and constitute a nuisance with poor audio and visual quality. A lot of people just jump into it. The issue should be squarely addressed by the various guilds in the industry and with time, I believe that there will be a proper setting for the professionals to thrive. A proper Actors Guild that could monitor the level, the background and the professional qualification of actors and actresses coming into the industry should be put in place. – Producer Chico Ejiro ART FOR ART’S SAKE Yes, it is important that artists and creatives make a living out of their profession, but the pursuit of gain at the expense of excellence is not what the creative industry is all about. As the entertainment journalist Victor Akande succinctly stated, “There are certain things the arts profession does to its practitioners; a sense of self contentment, a fulfilling sense of creative endeavours, a radical romance with thoroughness and a serious affiliation with immaterialism”.


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ONLY IN NIGERIA do TV Stations stifle the creativity of Program producers by not only having them fund the production of their programs but ask them to pay for the Airtime if the want to have these programs broadcast to an audience. The norm the world over is that Television Stations not only fund their own in-house productions, they sometimes commission Independent Productions Houses or producers to produce programs for them. In the alternative, they buy in programs from independent program production houses or producers. Recently Public Broadcaster in South Africa SABC (equivalent of NTA here in Nigeria) caused consternation among the independent production industry by its non-payment of more than R60M (N1.2 Billion) in production fees. The figure is quoted here to show the level of funding available for production from a broadcaster to ensure production of quality programs. What do we have here in Nigeria; Television Stations want production houses to pay for airtime to broadcast their programs to an audience. This trend must be resisted by all production houses and program producers as this not only stifles creativity, it stunts the growth of an industry that should be vibrant and giving employment to myriad of young Nigerians who would other wise be unemployed. It is bad enough that the previous practice of income sharing from advertising on a program at an agreed basis between the Television company and the independent producers was a compromise that producers had to live with but to turn around and ask that producers purchase airtime to air their programs after incurring the cost of producing the program is unconscionable. This anomaly is succinctly put across by a leading Nigerian Producer in a media interview where she said; “What is supposed to be done is that TV stations commission people to make soap for them or people make soaps and sell it to TV stations while TV stations come to the market like what M-net is doing. That means the stations can sell it to as many TV stations all over the world. But once it is a Nigerian programme, the stations tell you what we do is sell airtime. So I make the programme and find money to pay for your airtime which government gave you as a public trust because the airtime belongs to the Nigerian people. It was given to you to manage, so we now put our own programme on air at our own expense. When people could not fund the airtime, they say let's sell and share the advert revenue, so I put the programme on air. it is running and filling your blank time and you tell me to go and find adverts. I run around and get a few adverts and we share the profit 50:50. You haven't lost money but I've lost money because I funded the programme. So, it is a chicken and hen thing. That is why we are not having quality programmes. Our TV stations will not improve until they are ready to spend money on quality programmes”. This situation of paying for airtime is stifling creativity in the industry. Maybe a reversal to sharing advert revenue may be a compromise but not the ideal. This means that Television companies should evaluate the suitability and viability of any program for their station and then airs the program at an agreed sharing ratio for income generated from advertising aired on the program. It is also imperative that the station jointly source for the advertisements that will air on said program. It in unfair to ask independent production houses and producers to pay for airtime. All independent production houses and producers should resist this practice. Your views and comments on this are welcome.

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