It is good to look back at your painful memories with a tint of humor in them. Kevin Hart called it Laugh at My Pains and it sold out totally. This is a short story from my heart, of my journey called Writing and I. When most people ask you what you want to be, most of the time they are putting words in your mouth, they want to hear doctor ,lawyer, engineer, which is great but when you are me and say an actor and writer, you can almost read their minds, they think you are joking.
The strangers may show their outright disappointment while your friends will try to hide theirs by saying something like ‘Wow, you can act and plus you are a leftie like Obama, and lefties always make it!’ or some just go like ‘a what?’ .
Having written all my life, I decided it was time to go pro, do something professional, something great. That was a few months ago. Having gathered some facts about the current situation of our film industry; I knew it was time for me to do a script. I did a script called COUNTING RAINDROPS and had it registered at the Kenya Copyright Board. I am still the certificate holder.
Call it naivety, craziness or pure optimism, deep in my heart I knew I would get a producer to work with. I had a plus which was acting and my copyright certificate. With hope in my heart, success in my mind, it was time to make my next move, find a producer. I must have missed out on the fact that you have to have as enough money as your creativity to be a writer in Kenya. Well, when you do not know much you have a chance to learn a lot. I learned a lot about the other half of how things really work in our film industry.
I gathered some contacts of some Kenyan producers and productions thanks to actors.co.ke, not talking of how hard it was to persuade some to have a meeting with me or how hard it was to get them to read the script. Most of our conversation always ended with I requiring money and more hope than I usually can afford.
I admit, that might not have come out right, from my side but that said, it was clear our partnership ended before it even started. I am not crucifying anybody; it is not easy being a producer on this side of the Sahara.
I think I unknowingly underwent the Kubler-Ross five stages, Denial Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I decided to never write or concern myself with the film industry ever, I went to campus, in came the boys, the freedom and the excitement but for a minute did I forget writing, I would be watching a movie with my friends and all I could see was how great the setting was or how a certain actor should have said something differently or how that line was not necessary or that actor could have done better in that scene or he/she just cannot act at all.
Later I learned the Erik Erikson’s eight stages of development in Psychology; it said I was in the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage. Then one of my lecturers defined a democratic state as ‘Where the son/daughter of a nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody, a statement which strangely made me start writing again. Thank- you sir.
If you are out there and can relate with me, that the only thing separating you from your dreams is a few thousand shillings, the easy way out maybe to despair , but take it from me, you have to hold on to what you believe in. You are a dreamer yes, but it is the century of those who dare dream.
You may not know somebody who knows somebody but if you have the talent and the passion, you will surely make it and am not talking about you making it when my vocals outdo Mariah Carey’s (that may happen in my next life) am talking about now if you believe, persist and work hard. It shall be well with you.
Something I thought I should conclude with, the other day I was walking through River road on my way from school, thinking of how I was going to finish my five assignments in one night. I walk past this…this and that ‘vendor ’selling Cds at twenty shillings’ I saw many Kenyan Artistes on one list it was heartbreaking.
This persuasive, smooth talker approached me with a smile and said ‘Mrembo cd ni mbao’ (a cd for twenty shillings), I stood there stunned hoping it was a prank. ‘Kama huna mbao ntakusort na ten bob, bei ya jioni, leo nmeamua kila mtu apate kitu!! (If you do not have twenty shillings I could trade the Cd for ten shillings, evening price, I have decided everyone should get something today).
Maybe our industry players could learn a thing or two from this guy. How ironic he was on River road degrading River wood. To cut the story short, I cried all the way home, that is why am still here, writing, refusing to give up, next time you see me I could be on your headlines, after all I am a leftie.
Written By Winfred Mukami Ngari a.k.a amired