Mc Stone Entertainment: Alaba Marketers Made Mess of Film Marketing
•Implore prospective film producers to get trained
•Eulogises Skit Makers
Paul Anaba, a construction engineer, an actor and a film producer, who is an extraction of Abia State, South-East, Nigeria, who also goes by the name MC Stone in the Nigeria Movie Industry, he doubles as the CEO of MC Stone Entertainment.
Mc Stone has been in the movie industry for two decades, he took a break to tend to his construction company which made him inactive in the movie industry for over fifteen years but came back fully five years ago. Creekvibes duo; Oluwadamilare Daniels and Abidemi Williams met with him few days before the end of 2020.
Why did you take a break from the movie industry, was it not paying as expected?
I am not so concerned about the Monetary aspect. It is passion, I love acting. I was in charge of grammar section of ‘Diction Avenue,’ a programme that is currently running on Galaxy Tv.
Lately what have you been up to?
I shot some films recently, ‘The Will,’ a modern epical film, ‘Unknown,’ a thriller, we are working tirelessly to slot them in satellite TV(s), there is ‘Crack in The Mirror’. My crew and I concluded that movie during the first wave of COVID-19 lock down, all of them are currently on our YouTube Channel, I’ve also concluded few short films, titled; ‘The Travail of a Woman,’ targeted to discourage domestic violence, on the heels was ‘Die Twice.’
How much does it cost to produce a movie presently in Nigeria?
In Nigeria, films have a lot of intricacies. For instance, Hollywood has high and low budget films. Here, there are no budget for films, it all depend on the producer and funds made available by him.
It is quite unfortunate for producers in Nigerian, because they’ve got no access to bank loans to bankroll film production. An average Nigerian bank does not see film industry as a platform for investment.
Independent producers’ source funds to finance films productions, if they break even, fine, if not they leak their wounds.
How do you intend to break even or re-coop for invested cash?
Fortunately, the movie industry is changing all over the world; the internet has simplified and synchronized how movies get to the consumers.
Few years back, Alaba marketers made a mess of film marketing. Whereby, if you buy a film, the advertorial contents will take 30 minutes while the film itself is just 20 minutes, a lot of patronizes were dishearten before the emergence of internet platforms that serves you option to skip advertorial contents.
Unfortunately the online marketers too are not saints, after racketing your movie on line comes stories like ‘your viewership drops,’ ‘it is below standard,’ and all sort of flimsy excuses so, by and large you will collect what you were given.
We are driven by passion, because Tv stations are also not helping the producers, they attend to films sentimentally with the idea of ‘man know man’. A well produced film might not be given airplay but a poorly produced one could be aired due to ‘na my sister’ ideology.
What advice can you give to a prospective producer who intends to produce a film with N2m (Two million Naira)?
First, try to get trained on the nitty gritty of film production not skit making, a lot of people got their fingers burnt while producing a film and discovered afterwards that they’ve produced nonsense.
Back to your N2m, in the Nigerian settings N2m takes you nowhere on film production, because faces is what projects your film to your targeted audience, and some known characters goes by their professional fees which could be up to N1.5m, another could be .7m so where do you stand with your two million naira?
Meanwhile, the marketers will insist you put four to five known characters in order to sail through profit margin.
How will you handle other expenses ranging from lighting; costumes; makeups… down to accommodations?
Which artist have you had issues with, perhaps he was paid and didn’t show up?
I have not had such experience, because I also acted alongside with them they relate with me as one of theirs, don’t forget that I am an engineer, I have been opportune to know how to pacify subordinates.
As an actor how many movies have you featured in?
Approximately about fifteen to twenty movies, some are still trying to sail through production hurdles, sometimes the production period of some films takes up to a year before you might even starts to hear or watch them.
Has there been any situation whereby after recording, the recorded movie could not be found?
It happens, when it happens the producer will only be plough into confusion, the Nigerian insurance system could come in handy, there is an insurance policy called E and O, (Error and Omission), in a normal setting a producer ought to have insured his film production to curb such production mishap, besides your technical team must be up and doing, on every clip taken there must be a playback to ensure it is properly taken, if not it can be re-taken again and again for optimal production
Don’t you think base on the personal relationship with actor/actresses he or she could be called upon to salvage the situation?
It does not work that way, the actors are been paid for their fixed timing, any further alteration will be faced with artist professional fee, anyways some actors could be mild in such situation.
What do you think I should know about film production?
I see film production as book making that can’t be stopped for any reason, book are later turned into motion pictures so, film production will continue from generation to generation.
People should forget about the negative stories making rounds, film production is interesting, it is an environment whereby you interact with nature and meet people, sometimes after production, laughter will envelop you, you might be marveled asking yourself if actually you did all that on set.
How do you try not to burst into laughter while depicting a very funny character, do you sometimes take alcohol to lock up your laughter?
You are the character, so why will you laugh? The script instructs you get into that character; the laughter is for the audience, you asked if we take alcohol, we don’t do that, it could cause script misinterpretation, so trying to be ‘high’ solely depends on individual.
What is the industry doing to produce another Sam Loco, Olu Jacobs and a whole lots of good actors that are now acting matured roles?
2012, I ran a project called Film Arcade, though widely reported by the media, but along the line, something happened it couldn’t fly anymore we paused it, that programme was meant to smoke in freshers, but presently Mc Stone Entertainment has created an avenue for freshers to showcase their talents.
What is your take on skit makers, what is their stand in the Nigeria Movie Industry, are they presently encouraged to step into higher grounds?
Skits are shot with phones many at times two to five minutes, it can’t be compared with a film of 3 hours, there is a big margin between skit making and film production, I’m speaking from experience, people need platforms, integrating skit makers solely depend on the skitters if they want to, they know where to go.
The industry is waiting for them, it is just that they are comfortable circulating their videos online.
Throughout the federation we have AGN (Actors Guild of Nigeria), so as a skit maker you can gradually launch into them, and see how to be incorporated.
Advice for actors?
As an actor or actress in Lagos, you must patronize AGN(s) hangouts to buttress your career places like; Rita Lori, Winnings or National Stadium, in Asaba, Beewood Hotel, to mention a few.
An actor or actress should be versatile they should not be a one scene actor; they shouldn’t be role selective otherwise they won’t fly.