6 THINGS I'D LIKE TO SEE CHANGE AND IMPROVE IN OUR FILM INDUSTRY
While I appreciate the efforts being made by Kenyan film makers with strides in the right direction being seen, I feel we still lack in the following areas. It is a bit unfair to compare our industry with that of Hollywood which is many years ahead of us but a wise sage once said, if you need to grow you must associate yourself with those who have made it and learn from them. Well,
1. Props: Granted, Hollywood has all the facilities, machines and resources required to a make a fake movie look real. All the props to make a program look believable and make you go wow “did they really blow up a car or was he really stabbed and was that real blood that came gushed out?” I feel we play it very safe in our movies/series and can’t make exceptional programs because we lack prop creators. In this day and age, we really can’t afford to use a fake gun in a program or at the very least, a gun that looks obviously fake.
2. Lack of zeal- Hollywood actors do things with passion, I mean they do things fervently. No pun intended but some Kenyan actors are mediocre who’s only motivation is money. Nothing wrong with that, after all acting is a profession and you have to pay your bills et al. Granted, one can argue Hollywood actors are paid millions compared to the little money our industry provides but does that mean your acting skills diminish or you as an editor, your editing skills all of a sudden become worse because you are not being paid well? Passion is the only thing that should make you stick to the film making game. Don’t accept a project if you are not happy with it but once you do, give it your all. Audiences notice mediocre performances.
It’s sad that in Kenya as long as you have the contacts, so long as you know the right people in the industry you can continuously be fixed for a character so long as you deem fit to the eyes alone that you can play even though you don’t have the character. There are talents out there who would have done a better job but, because they are not known to hell with their talents and passion. This is not to take away the importance of networking or building your brand as an actor in order to be recognized and get those role..but recognition should not equate mediocrity.
3. Laziness: How many talents do you think we have out there? Imagine if auditions were to be done even in the rural parts of the country, how many people do you think can act? But because they lack the exposure, they do not have someone to go get them from the mashinani to realize their talent….and should producers go to mashinani to get actors, why not? Hollywood has casting scouts why can’t we have the same?
4. Individualism, Selfishness and jealousy- People in the film industry do not support each other as often if at all. We talk of a united industry but that is not seen. People in the industry do not want to acknowledge the fact that you can support your own and once they are up there they will lift the industry as a whole, and because you are part of the industry evidently you will be lifted in one way or the other. Co-productions is another way for the industry to get ahead but how often have we seen Kenyan producers co-produce something unless it’s partnering with the Hollywood people coming into Kenya?
5. Lack of research- now, this is another form of laziness but I decided to place it on its own because it’s really killing the industry.
I always wonder what’s the difference between Hollywood, Bollywood and the Kenyan industry? Lack of research. When I watch something like scandal, something like blacklist, I am sure to gain some knowledge of how the world works, of how people think and maybe how to tackle certain issues, come to Kenya and our stories lack substance. It’s like a majority of people wake up one day and join the industry without any know how. In this day an age when Google knows it all, do not be clueless.
6. Lack of creativity and too much conformity. - Kenyans are creative people. All you have to do is see a tweef or a a public figure do something wrong and wait for the funny chitchats that come after that can make a great sitcom. However, the ideas are limited if not coming from a select few who have been known to dish out ideas notwithstanding whether the ideas are great or not.
I am not saying that the current people who are on top of the industry are not creative; I am only saying give others a chance so that we can diversify ideas.
In the same breath, I can vouch that I am not the only one who has witnessed our local TV station copying and pasting the same ideas and program across the different channels with the Naswa’s of this country being a good example.
In conclusion, If Kenya’s film industry is to grow and be valued even by Kenyan themselves then the players need to modify a few things like the issues I have raised above. I am sure there are more and you can share them in comment box below.
Written By Nancy Amunga.
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