NFC Exclusive: Nollywood Producers Are [email protected] Comic Actor, Ochendo
Comic Nollywood actor, MC Smith Ochendu, known for his use of vocabularies in his script interpretation in a recent chat with Nollywoodgists.com tried to reveals some certain issues which he is not happy about in the Actors Guild of Nigeria where he happens to be the National Public Relations Officer.
He took us into the his world of how his parents had chosen careers for him but opted for the profession he found solace in thereby neglecting his father's choice of him being a professional footballer and his mother's choice of him being a Rev. Father.
In showing commitment to his profession and his position in the AGN, the actor explained that no matter his criticism on Ibinabo's position as the AGN president, he is still her fan and holds no grudges against her.
Why have you maintained this dread for so long, is it for movie or fashion?
None of the above. Just wanted an identity. I had always wanted to stand out from the crowd. So it's not for movie or fashion.
How was growing up like and what was your family's perception towards your choice of career?
Growing up was fantastic. I had a very sound upbringing. Though my father was somehow strict but my childhood was fun. My father had wanted me to be a footballer while my mother wanted me to be a reverend father. It was quite unfortunate that she didn't see me on TV before her demise. That's the only regret I have in life. My father is happy for me though he would have been happier if I'm a footballer. All the same, I have brought glory to the family.
Were you a good footballer then and do you think you would have made it far?
I was a fantastic footballer. I still play football but you know a guy is getting old. I used to play with Manga Mohammed way back in KANO.
How about academics life, was it all about entertainment for you?
I'm a graduate of mass communication from Bayero University Kano.
Interesting. But why did you drop your certificate for acting?
I believe I was created for this purpose. I will still want to be an entertainer if there is anything like recarnation. I'm just a showbiz impresario.
Is it true that at one point, you chose to move away from acting to venture into music why that decision?
I had issues with movie producers. They said my fee was astronomically high but I believe a guy gets paid what he deserves. I can't work like an elephant and eat like ant. It wasn't as if I wanted to move away from acting to music. I have been singing professionally since 2004.
Hmm, are you still into music now and how many tracks so far and the reception?
I released my first album in 2008. The reception was something else. My fans were so impressed with my first attempt. The love they showed me will linger for a long time in my memory.
Aside music and acting, what else do you do?
My people are predominantly traders. I have some shops around. My boys take care of the shops.
What is your take on the recent court crisis removing AGN President Ibinabo and installing Emeka Ike as the new president?
First and foremost, I will like to congratulate my president Amb engr emeka ike for a well deserved victory. This victory should be celebrated by all sane members of the guild. I will also like to commend the judiciary for upholding justice. This judgement shows that indeed the judiciary is the last hope of the common man.
Are you saying that with all seen efforts to help reposition the movie industry with President Good luck Jonathan being the Grand patron all thanks to Ibinabo is bad?
You are missing the point my brother. Let me educate you. A court of competent jurisdiction had ordered that status quo ante be maintained until the same court determines the substantive suit brought to the court by THE LIBERATOR st maradona mikevine. The court had asked both parties not to conduct elections until it decides the matter but because they have a history of disobeying the courts, they went ahead and conducted the elections that ushered in the ousted president of the guild. My brother, that's contempt of court. They should be in jail for disobeying court orders. The court of law is not swayed by emotions. I advise them to vacate the office and stop rubbing our name to the mud. This has nothing to do with the president's plan to reposition Nollywood. After all Ibinabo was the president of a guild in Nollywood and not the president of Nollywood.
Now, looking at the movie industry, would you say there is love for one another with the way actors beg for help sometimes?
My brother, if you fail to invest your money and go broke, who would you blame? Me? We should try and save for rainy day my brother. You see an actor that earns close to 1million go broke after 4-5 years. That's bad. Some of us do not invest so we should stop blaming people for our misfortune.
So if an actor is sick and can't afford his medical bills, will it be wrong if his colleagues help out after all, some actors say the industry is not paying their bills as expected?
Nollywood actors are self centred. Like you rightly said, there is no love lost between actors. You are just on your own but we pray that God should touch our hearts so we can begin to see ourselves as not just colleagues but as brothers.
Why is it that you have not acted in movies that are shown in cinemas, are you too expensive or producers do not approach you?
Have Nkem Owoh acted in movies that are shown in cinemas? Does it stop him from being the highest paid actor in Africa? My brother I'm not a candidate of the Baghdad and I'm not a descendant of LOT.
You are very good with your use of the English language, how do you do choose your words and don't producers have issues with that while on set?
Nathan, you are flattering me. I wouldn't want to be seen as a braggart. If you say I'm an authority in literature, I will take it as a compliment. The producers understand my style. I don't think they have issues with my style of delivery.
So tell us, are you married or still single?
I'm unhappily single. Really want to settle down. You know good women are hard to find. Good men are hard to find too.
So if you can't find any yet, how do you cope with your sexual urge?
No comment (laughs)
Do you agree with the saying that the Yoruba movies have better story lines than the English speaking movies?
To some extent. I will like to feature in a Yoruba movie someday though I don't understand Yoruba. Their storyline are something else. I like the way they plot their scripts.
But why can't the English aspect do same?
We have to direct this question to the producers. I think they are in a better position to throw more lights on the matter.
You are always on set all the time, is it true that marketers have taken over movie production that actors are not well paid simply because producers will want to cut cost?
I don't work for independent producers. As a matter of fact, they are the major headache we have in Nollywood.
How if I may ask and which people do you work for?
Movie marketers. My brother I'm always at peace with movie marketers. Independent producers are bastards. They always do a wishy washy production. I call them sons of pharaoh.
Hmm, are you still a member of the AGN or you have pulled out?
I'm the national PRO of Actors Guild of Nigeria. Emeka ike is my president. So you are having a chat with an executive of the guild.
So what is your position or working relationship with Ibinabo like?
We have hit the ground running. Our main target is to liberate the people of God from the shackles of the dictatorial pharaoh. I never worked for Ibinabo. I don't support illegality.
Are you saying she has been an illegal president all along then there must be something hurting you that you are not saying out?
She shouldn't have been there in the first place because our constitution frowns at an ex convict vying for any elective position. Most of the members of actors guild of Nigeria are daft. Some of us do not know what our constitution says. If we cannot respect our constitution, then we are doomed. Ibinabo has no moral justification to occupy such exalted position. She was convicted by two separate courts. I have the true certified copies of the court judgements. This administration is not out to witch hunt the opposition. Like I said earlier on, Agn is not a private enterprise. The guild belongs to all of us. We are one big family.
As an executive, what do you think is the way forward for the Guild?
We are calling all members of the guild to support this administration. What happened is just an act of God.
If you were to produce a movie script and needed the service of Dan actress who is good, would you pick Ibinabo to cast in your movie (ex-convict)?
Her conviction has nothing to do with her delivery. I'm her fan and I will continue to be her fan. We are not quarreling.