I AM NOT DESIGNER FREAK –RAMSEL NOAH
Meeting Ramsel Noah for the first time disarms you completely especially if you are the type that doesn't believe that acting is make-belief. Dressed in simple green T-shirt atop a dark pair of jeans, the fair skin actor fielded Saturday Sun questions in a very unassuming and straightforward manner without pretences.
He didn't pretend to know it all and his emotions were not concealed in that toga of false life common with Nigeria style celebrities. When your questions got him to wince, you saw it clearly. When they were embarrassing, it was there on his light complexion visage.
He blushed when your questions threw or pumped blood through his veins and arteries. He didn't claim to be what he is not or hide his poverty of knowledge in certain areas of life unlike so many of his contemporaries who because of the power of klieg-light and over-rated professional personality or concomitant fringe benefits put their fingers in every pie of human knowledge.
You get what I mean when you read his answer to the question
'What is your favourite city?'
Hear him: “Ha! I am yet to go to some of the beautiful cities like Sidney. But, so far so good, I love Cape Town, South Africa.” Other artistes in the same business with him who probably are suffering from low self-esteem will reel out all the beautiful cities in the world just to polish their ordinariness.
You still want to probe further by asking him his sense of style or his dress sense. He accentuates his simplicity further “I am not a designer freak. I am not a kind of person that spots designer clothes, designer shoes and so forth. What looks good is what looks good and that is okay by me. If it looks good on me and the quality is nice, that's okay. I don't mind whether it is made in Nigeria.
I am just a quality person, basically.” Despite his austere choice of dressing, Saturday Sun asked him what will he not be caught wearing?
He laughed and answered “Masquerade costume.” You wondered what he meant by that and you asked “How do you mean? He thundered “You don't know what/how Masquerades look like. Don't you? (he laughed). Multi-colour? You asked. “Yea, all sorts of funny things” Which means you like it simple? “Oh, yes. I love very simple clothes. I don't like to be too dressy? You see what I mean. Well, moving away from deconstructing Ramsel Noah's personality into the industry where he plies his trade you want to know what is happening to the quality of Nollywood products he agrees with you that quality of the product is yet to reach the height technically. “
Absolutely, it is because of inadequate finance that you cannot possibly get all the accessories for the cameras to start with. It is because of inadequate finance that you cannot afford to get very good audio quality. It is because of inadequate finance that we have so many things that incapacitate the industry technically.”
But he admitted it will get better thanks to Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State who built Nollywood Studio in Tinapa. He said “with strong wind of change blowing to our economy it can certainly get better.
Technically it (quality) will move up soon and I give it to Donald Duke, who built Nollywood studio in Tinapa. The studio has great showing of all the equipment comparable to Hollywood. With that and coupled with investment from the banking sector, Nollywood will do better in future.”
But how does he rate his colleagues' performance? Ramsel absolves his colleagues from blame but says that the shortcomings from the acting part should be attributed to the producers who compromise production processes like joint rehearsals because of inadequate capital. “Artistically, we are good. Our artistes are very, very good at what they do. Of course, most times the only reason when you have a bit of laxity in the acting of it is that we don't even rehearse anymore. We don't even rehearse the story, the script, or the characters. I mean if there was enough money, we have enough talent to sit down and rehearse with the other members of the cast before you start rolling tapes. So that's where the lapses are”.
Would you like to advocate for minimum entry requirement into Nollywood or join issues with those who believe that the industry should have a gate man to checkmate free and easy entry of fortune and fame seekers?
“You know when it comes to acting, there's no limit to it. You don't necessarily have to be a graduate to be an actor. All you need is to believe that you are gifted. I am not advocating you have to be a scholar or go to school before you can become an actor. Of course, it is also good if you go to school. I am not saying that going to school is not okay. In fact, if you go to school it is an added advantage to your personality.”
What about the influence of producers and directors and marketers in terms of what is to be produced and who to produce it (crew and cast)?
“They are already in the market. They know what the market needs and so they try to give the market what the market needs.”
What about the gist in the society that the Producers or the Directors in Nollywood have taken disciplinary action against you by not given you roles anymore?
“Me? No, that's wrong, very wrong. I still get roles.”
So what future do you foresee for Nollywood, say in the next ten years?
“You know when I first started in the industry, if they told me it is going to be this big, I wouldn't believe it. I never knew the industry is going to come up great. If you ask me what it is going to be in future, I have no idea. I only pray that it gets better. I can only pray. I cannot foresee how it is going to turn out, how it is going to look.
With change of government and change of time, either it is bad wind or something the industry might fall. But if there's good leadership and everything is nice then you have hopes. So I really cannot foresee. But I can only pray that hopefully it can get better.”
What about your own place in Nollywood?
“Em, if you ask me, I think I am already in the height, where I belong in the industry. I just know that for my achievement the sky is not even my limit. It is my starting point. So , I still have so much to achieve.”
And possibly enter Hollywood?
“Yea, if it gets there, why not. I am not actually gunning for it. But if it gets there it will be a good thing for me.”