I'LL RETIRE SOON —WALE ADENUGA
Wale Adenuga, the producer of Papa Ajasco And Company and CEO of PEFTI School, in this interview, spoke about the new crew, problems and prospects of the entertainment industry
Q: How has it been?
A: We thank God for His mercies. I can now say to the whole world that it has been a successful one in the last one year because people were sceptical about the changes we made, but we are happy to announce that the new cast has worked tremendously.
Q: What is the audience rating?
A: Fantastic. Initially, we suffered some setbacks in terms of adverts we were getting and that's because they were waiting to see whether the new cast would live up to expectation. But after about three or four months, things started to change positively and right now, the media partners and advertising agencies have restored the confidence they had in us and they have been giving us jobs.
Q: What were the challenges you faced when you introduced the new cast?
A: The challenge of acceptance. You know, some human beings don't like change and when you try to effect one, people will sit back to watch whether the change would work. Then, when they see that the new work is as good as the old one, they brace up with what they are doing. However, from reports and the media research, we are happy to announce that we are fully back in business.
Q: Why did you introduce a laugh track in Papa Ajasco and Company serial?
A: We play the laugh track these days to induce more laughter from viewers. You know it is a universal concept in comedy, where the laugh track induces more laughter in you and also draws your attention to the funny aspects of the comedy. So, it is an enhancement of natural laughter.
Q: How would you rate Papa Ajasco, This Life, Binta and Friends and Super Story, which are all your works?
A: The four television programmes belong to different categories of viewers. Super Story is real life situation, while This Life is about things that happen to human beings occasionally, something that you will watch and say, ha, this life na wa oh! So, it is a bit different from Super Story. Papa Ajasco is purely comedy, so, it is not in the same category with Super Story and Binta and Friends focuses on youths.
Q: Your stories are unarguably superb, how do you source for them?
A: As I always tell people, I am not the creator of these things. It is God who is the original creator but He endows me with the creativity and ideas to actualise them and this is no longer a solo effort, it is no longer a Wale Adenuga affair because we now have a team of writers, directors and cameramen, which means we have institutionalised it. So, it has gone beyond Wale Adenuga now as we work as a team to ensure continuity even after Wale Adenuga.
Q: But you are still young?
A: Yes, I am still young.
Q: So, how soon do you want to retire?
A: Well, my retirement is going to be partial because I will still be overseeing things as chairman of the company. But right now, I have my children working with me. Even my son is working at Wale Adenuga Productions (WAP). So, they are already learning the roles.
Q: What if they are not interested in the job?
A: They are interested and we have been working together.
Q: What new things do we expect from Wale Adenuga Productions?
A: Right now, we are engaged with all the schools, including PEFTI and Binta International Schools. And, of course, our TV productions. For now, we don't intend to add anything new in the next one year.
Q: You started with Ikebe Super but now you are popular with your TV programmes. Do you have plans to reintroduce the rested Ikebe Super?
A: Yes, I will probably retire into publishing. I still want to produce a comic magazine. A national comic magazine, but not Ikebe Super. It is probably going to be between Ikebe Super and Super Story magazine and could also be a general interest magazine. And that means it will cut across both the Ikebe Super and the old Super Story concepts.
Q: But why did you drop Ikebe Super?
A: I did not drop it, but it got transformed into Papa Ajasco and Company and from print to electronic.
Q: Don't you think some people still want to read Ikebe Super magazine?
A: Yes, I am aware that some people are still yearning for the cartoon characters and that is why I want to publish another comic magazine, maybe from next year.
Q: What was on your mind when you started publishing Ikebe Super?
A: As I said earlier, it is like we creative people have an antenna that collects information from the air. You know it is God that just sends the idea into my mind in form of message and for me to actualise. We are just messengers in His hands because He gives us the third eye with which we see things that other people are not seeing.
Q: For you to have been able to do all these things, how would you describe yourself?
A: I am a normal human being. But I will prefer to say that I am a creative person, a multi-talented human being because in my secondary school days, I formed a musical band, had a magazine at the same time and used to be one of the best actors. So, I think this is just a way of bringing out the numerous talents in me.
Q: With all these, do you reckon with home videos at all?
A: Not really, but we can only convert what we have shown on television to home videos because the home video sector hasn't got a proper marketing structure. So, we are not encouraged to do home videos. We have suspended it because the marketing structure is not there and pirates as well as video club operators have taken over the sector. They are only reaping where they have not sown. So, it does not encourage a producer to put a new work on home video.
Q: Who do you blame, the marketers?
A: Nobody. But I must tell you, the home video sector has collapsed. We are in the television era and ours is more sanitised than the home video sector. You cannot fake or pirate what we are showing on television. And if you do, so far we are not in the home video sector, I can easily trace and get you.
Q: What do you think has been happening to the law on piracy in this country?
A: It's either the law is archaic and old fashioned. If you read our law books now, you will discover that the penalty is just a fine of N1,000 or one month's imprisonment. So, there is need for modernisation in the legal aspect of piracy in this country. I think there should be stiffer penalties that will discourage people. For instance, a long jail term or other things. In fact, the police will tell you that there is no special law against piracy.
Q: In a lighter mood, why do you like wearing shorts?
A: I am an artiste. I want to be a free-soul and I don't want to look like someone in bondage such as injuring my neck with ties or cause myself any body heat by wearing socks all the time.
Q: Do you have any special designer of your shorts?
A: No, I go to any shop and buy.
Q: How many of it do you have in your collection?
A: I have over 20 shorts. I also have a few pairs of trousers too, which I wear when going on special occasions. At times, when I want to dress formally, I either wear kaftan or any native dress.