• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Nollywood bed sheets. Really?

Nollywood bedsheets

I was there when Nollywood started. My friend Chris Obi Rapu (Skipper) was there and so many other people who went on to grab the limelight in an industry which today has quadrupled. As a screenplay writer and a TV producer of documentaries, talk shows, children’s programmes, a casting director and a Television producer in my own right, I want to believe I have more than cursory knowledge about what makes a good production. Nollywood pretty much started where NTA television series, soaps and serials left off or expanded as the case maybe. I was there when the Nigerian film industry aka Nollywood grew and blossomed and I remain there as it has become this gargantuan industry where some of the leading lights have also remained in my family and community.

It would be tragic and unfair if I cannot give an industry I care very much about some constructive criticism. I have a lot to say about the industry and I am proud of where they have taken us to. All over the world, I am stopped and asked about some of our stars especially on the African continent and also in Europe and America where the black population have keyed in and use it as entertainment and comic relief. But I will not shy away from my observations. I believe this is a way of helping producers, directors and location managers improve their craft. This may be tongue in cheek to make it lighter, but honestly, it should be taken seriously.

While I understand that the cost of location can be daunting, let us be careful when we use hotels because the bedsheets totally give them away as a hotel. We can reconfigure them to look like a home either by changing them or setting the bed better. Ditto hospital sheets

I love bedsheets and at some point, in my life, I made bedsheets and sold them. As in, I was a bedsheet entrepreneur. So, I linked up with the fabric traders in Aba who bring in bales and bales of imported bedsheet fabric and got a truly brilliant tailor to carry out my dreams. I designed the bedsheets, bought and deployed the trimmings, be it lace or chiffon and delivered truly beautiful finished products even if I say so myself. I also enjoyed matching colours and creating texture. So, I could have a flowery bedsheet and then have a plain coloured bedsheet as the flat and then deploy the flowery one as the duvet and pillowcases. I also enjoyed colour coding, a gift from God. I knew what colours worked with what and studied my clients to see what moods they brought to the table so I can serve them better. I created texture with pure cotton and mixed cotton. It was a joy.

In addition, I learnt packaging and labelling and my bedsheets looked like they came straight out of a fancy store. Guess what? It was also cathartic. But in the end, I was not really yet a proper entrepreneur and I kept on giving without collecting my money on time. So, we closed the business many years ago but I am still pretty much nostalgic.

That tells you that I know more than just passing information on bedsheets. Please join me in taking a look at Nollywood bedsheets. What is the matter? Why are we watching two full grown adults cast as husband and wife sleeping on bedsheets meant for children? Why is Barney, that goofy character in an international children’s programme, the character on the bedsheet of Mr and Mrs X? Why for example do we have an essentially wealthy family living in a larger than life house sleeping on bedsheets that are cheap and meant for a local backstreet shack? Luxury or wealth projection is about quality, less noise and upscale looks. I am at my wits end when the bedsheet in a lot of Nollywood movies look like they were bought in an open market for N2,500 when the entire surround and the size of the house, furniture inclusive oozes luxury.

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Quality bedsheets can be inculcated if your script says the couple are stinking rich. Their bedsheet will be mostly plain and if they need to have motif, it will be simple, mature motifs that are not childlike or pan-like, big huge drawings that would make sleeping impossible. Large flowers that assault the eye are often not the kind of bedsheet a rich guy will have in his house. Some of these bedsheets have toy trains on them and they simply get my goat. Continuity is also important and a few times, I have caught similar bedsheets in two movies where it will seem the production manager did not remember that his by-line was on another movie and I can spot that the crew were the same so they did not bother to shop for another set of bedsheets.

Let us even assume that it is the same contractor making the bed sheet or the wife of the location manager or the wife of the producer, please instruct them to keep the bedsheets in tandem with the movie script. The bedsheets of a big boy in a movie is as important as his character and that of his wife. The bedsheet of a single girl in a movie is as important as that of her grandmother. Please let us audit these things for as we all know; the props also make a difference and enhance the story as well as being part of the story.

Let me make a final point. While I understand that the cost of location can be daunting, let us be careful when we use hotels because the bedsheets totally give them away as a hotel. We can reconfigure them to look like a home either by changing them or setting the bed better. Ditto hospital sheets. It’s a tragedy when a very rich man takes ill and is brought to a hospital which in real life he will never go to. The bedsheets in a hospital and the general outlook of the hospital also make a difference.

Producers and directors can demand for better in this regard. As a critical viewer, I am concerned that if our props are not together the movies may not travel. A buyer in San Francisco is watching it with the kind of critical eye that I have deployed as is a buyer in Sierra Leonne.

It can be better.