Fancy a job in Nollywood? Here’s how to ‘make it’ in Nigeria

More than one million people are employed in the performing arts industry in Nigeria. This includes directors, producers, actors, designers etc. This sector is said to be the second biggest contributor to employment after the agriculture sector. It is quite fascinating for a country that relies primarily on oil and gas to keep its economy intact. On the other hand, South Africa’s film industry employs only around 35 000 people.

As a result of Nigeria’s lucrative sectors in terms of GDP contribution such as; agriculture (21.1%), industry (19.4%) and services (59.5%), a number of people are now seeking jobs in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Fancy a career in performing arts?

The bright lights, the screaming fans, the special treatment and the great respect are only some of the perks that comes with working in this industry. But what is it that makes ‘celebrities’ so pleasant to watch? Here are a few pointers to let you in on a few secrets:

There is no performance without a crowd

For you to win over an audience you have to:
– Be Confident. If you feel good, the audience will sense that.
– Make it genuine. Don’t try too hard; believe it or not, the audience can pick it up.
– Look good. It plays a big role in capturing the crowd’s attention.
– Keep moving. If you move around, you will make the crowd come alive.
– Check your attitude. An enthusiastic attitude is contagious.

The bright lights… And of course, stage fright

Stage fright is triggered by one of two things: the expectation of perfection and the fear of failure. When you’re the centre of attention, the adrenalin of high intensity flows through your body. Adrenalin causes some to thrive and others to freeze.

Here’s what to do if you’re a freezer:

– Close your eyes: If you’re intimidated by the crowd, close your eyes, take a deep breath and regain confidence by realising that all those people came to see YOU perform.
– Move around: It will relax those tense muscles. People tend to become quite stiff while on stage.
– Play with your senses: “Close your eyes” is a perfect example here. Turn off your senses one at a time, every now and again (this technique will take some practice).
– Know the material: If you are 100% sure of what you’re supposed to do and practiced it thoroughly, then you will be okay.

Look good… feel good

As much as we’d like it to, track pants and t-shirt will not cut it on stage. When you perform in front of a live audience, too much is hardly ever enough. I’m not saying you should go all Lady Gaga, but you shouldn’t go all couch potato either.

– Choose rich, vibrant colours: Beware that some lighting technicians use “gels” to colour the lights, which can distort the colour you’re wearing. Find out in advance what lighting scheme they’ll be using and choose your colours accordingly.
– A vibrant outfit can only go this far: Play up your features using cosmetics if you’re going to perform on a lit stage.
– Sweat is a no-no: Consider the temperature in the room and then choose the colour and fabrics of your clothes accordingly.
– Play up your hair: Give it some extra volume and shine.

Confidence is key

Due to the fact that one negative comment has twice the impact (on most of us) than a positive one, it is essential that our mindsets are positive. We have to stay motivated at all times. Here are some motivational tips:

– Condition your mind: Train yourself to think positive.
– Avoid negative people: They drain your energy and waste your time.
– Keep your head in the game: Be specific about what you want to achieve.
– Stretch past your limits: Try new things with each time you perform.
– Don’t take success too seriously: Use it to become complacent.
– Treat inaction as the only failure: If you don’t take action, you fail by default.

After you’ve mastered the basics, only then you can add your own touch to it. Don’t be in a hurry though, it will come in due time.