Once Upon A Time In Nollywood

I noticed something a few weeks ago: the Western viewpoints of cinema. Despite Hollywood and the British film industry being made of people from diverse backgrounds (kinda), it’s only stories about locations we know that we see. This is kind of weird, wouldn’t a compelling story be a compelling story regardless of location? Would a love story not work just as well in Algiers as it does in New York? Studios push diversity in their marketing, and yet still only really do them set in Western world. “Look, a film consisting almost entirely of Asian people, diversity!” “Where’s it set?” “New York”.

As such I decided to be the annoying little prick I have a tendency to do, and write a story set in Africa. This was mainly because a lot of the countries are English speaking (woo colonialism and attempted genocide), yet are still uncharted lands when it comes to cinema. Seriously, how many films can you think of which are set in African countries and aren’t based around:

  • Extreme poverty
  • War
  • Period pieces involving slavery

I mean, I guess there’s Chappie and District 9. But other than that? Not much. So I decided to see if I could, similar to my Nightmare On Elm Street, just to be like “if I can, you can, stop making excuses”. So I present to you:

First off, yes that is a working title. As will become clear, I don’t know that much about Nigerian culture. I probably should have done more research into it, but I don’t know what I need to know. A google search can tell you facts, it can’t show you the random cultural quirks that make a country stand out. So if I was to do this, I would definitely have someone from the country go through and heavily edit it. I put a few cultural references in, a few bits of local slang, a few local locations, and local names (you’ll be surprised how many writers don’t do this). It’s not a perfect script, but I am kind of proud of what I’ve done. Not just because you should always feel proud when you complete a project, but also because it’s a plot I’m genuinely proud of. It has some imagery that I love, some of the most detestable characters I’ve ever done, and a mid-plot character change which doesn’t come off as made up on the spur of the moment (although it totally was). I can probably change the wording of the closing shot, I know exactly the image I want and I’m not sure it comes off quite as I see it in my head. I can probably cut the opening too as it’s just me repeating “this guy’s a dick” again and again. Also, this is not the best genre to write as you go along. You need to plan this, and I didn’t. So I really need to go through and connect a few threads better.

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