On the other side, however, the logistical obstacles—even on basic things like sound and light—are many.
‚ÄúIn the United States, the lights run 24 hours a day,‚ÄĚ Bassey explains. ‚ÄúThere are no power issues. [In Nigeria], you can be shooting and the lights will go off and suddenly you‚Äôre dealing with a blackout. That blackout could last for two weeks, or a month. Now you have to go get a generator, which is not cheap, and then deal with the noise of a generator, which can ruin your sound quality.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúPlus, if you‚Äôre shooting in NY or L.A. you can snap your fingers and get equipment,‚ÄĚ she continues. ‚ÄúYou have access to state-of-the-art cameras and trailers and a solid film crew—talented people who are always look for work. Although [Nollywood] is a big industry, it‚Äôs not easy to find everything you need when you need it. The talent pool (cameramen, grips, sound personnel) is limited, so often the quality of the film suffers.‚ÄĚ
And many local Nigerian actors find that the pay—if they‚Äôre not unionized—is minimal. ‚ÄúBack home, people are enamored by the industry, so you can get people to star in your films for relatively nothing,‚Äô she says. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs no pay for overtime hours worked and there are often no food carts on set,‚ÄĚ Bassey says. ‚ÄúYou often do your own stunts and there is no insurance plan in case you get hurt.‚ÄĚ
Even with all its challenges, actress and Miss Black USA 2010¬†Osas Ighodaro—who appeared in the 2008 film¬†Cadillac Records, starring Jeffrey Wright—is rooting for Nollywood. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not just telling ‚Äėtraditional‚Äô Nollywood [stories],‚ÄĚ says Ighodaro, who recently filmed Delta Fires, a documentary shot alongside the soon-to-be- released film,Black November featuring¬†Kim Basinger and¬†Mickey Rourke, and¬†Vivica A. Fox. The documentary focuses on devastating series of oil spills in Nigeria. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre telling stories that have purpose. We‚Äôre educating people about what‚Äôs happening in our homeland; what we‚Äôre dealing with here. The oil spills [across Nigeria] have been much more damaging than the 2010 [BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mex√≠co], yet no one‚Äôs talking about them.‚ÄĚ¬†Black November is scheduled for release in the coming months.
Oji Idakwoji, film producer and co-founder of a New York-based networking organization called Nollywood NYC, says he‚Äôs confident that as the industry gets a better handle on piracy, which runs rampant, and takes more of a cinematic route than its current straight-to-DVD model, it will grow even bigger. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre looking to attract a different class of investors and stakeholders in order to achieve this,‚ÄĚ says Idakwoji. ‚ÄúWe are positioning ourselves to bring even more of our stories to the entire world.‚ÄĚ