For Ayo Badmus, the 2006 Afro-Hollywood Best Supporting Actor Award Winner and Mirinda's Three Orange Men model, the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) is still intact. Badmus who is popular for his role as Ogagu in Mainframe Production's Abeni 1 & 2, says ANTP remains one indivisible entity contrary to a recent newspaper publication that there are factions within the association.
Ayo Badmus, a native of Oyo State said " A newspaper once wrote that I have my own group in the association, No! This is not factual. Prince Jide Kosoko is my president and I believe so much in him."
How I started
I was a model for many years. Things began to change for me after I met some actors in Surulere. I featured in some movies. My encounter with Shola Shobowale brought about a great change to my career when she advised me to join the Yoruba speaking movies. When she saw me first, she was amazed that I am Yoruba. In the Yoruba movies scene, my first performance was a lead role in Ojo Atisun in 1997.
I faced many challenges in the course of my career. They include the ability to remember my lines and interpretation of roles. Flexibility in acting is another challenge. This has to do with your ability to play different roles creditably. On the other hand, this is not supposed to be a challenge as it is expected to be one of the qualities an actor or actress should possess..
Working with Tunde Kelani
Working with Uncle Tunde Kelani of Mainframe Productions is one thing I have looked forward to. I have always considered him an icon of the movie industry. When I was called upon to pick up the script of Narrow Path, people who were on location applauded me. My involvement in that film gave me the required confidence as an experienced hand like TK applauded my performance. After Narrow Path, TK called me to participate in Abeni. When he called to brief me, the script for the movie was not ready. Before the script finally arrived, I had been interpreting my role as Ogagu. When I eventually got the script, the role was already part of me.
Requirement for acting
Acting requires a lot of stages and this is a training which our up and coming actors hardly go through. I have always advised aspiring actors and actresses that if they do not possess acting talent, they should not come into it. As a professional and considering the fact that acting is about imitation of an action, one needs to visit different places to develop the talent. Some people studied Theatre Arts, yet, they can't act. Acting has nothing to do with whether you studied Theatre Arts or not. The most important thing is your talent and your willingness to develop it.
I look up to the likes of Sam Loco, Baba Wande and a host of others who have always been part of the pioneers of the Yoruba movie industry.
The movies industry
The industry is actually growing, but our problem is that many of us do not want to learn. Most of our film producers are not ready to learn. They claim to know everything. Observe most films in Nigeria, can they enter for any major film festival? We spend so much money to celebrate ourselves, not the work. So, we should struggle to learn and improve our film industry otherwise, the industry will continue to grow in quantity, not in quality.
Even when there is change, yet, we are not there. I want the English speaking film producers to know that everything is not about glamour, repetition and rituals. There are better stories that also promote our culture. This is one of the reasons why I like Yoruba films. They promote their language and culture is all about language.
Government should come to our aid and marketers should learn to distribute works effectively. Inspite of the huge population of Nigeria, marketers still complain of poor sales. If a film sells 100,000 copies, that is enough money. More over, they can sell up to 10 million and with such profit, nobody will complain.
Reward for acting
We appreciate the fact that we are getting paid and living comfortably. But we want more. We want the audience to get more of our films as this is the medium through which we can be encouraged and improve on our act.
Fracas or division in ANTP
There is no division in ANTP. A newspaper publication once revealed that I have my own faction in the association, No! This is not true. Prince Jide Kosoko is my president and I believe so much in him. The association is one and there is no faction.
For now, I concentrate on acting, but I know time will tell. My plan is to work win more awards. I also wish to visit Hollywood on invitation, I do not want to force my way down there.
I have won the Afro-Hollywood award as Best Supporting Actor, London for my role in Abeni last year.
The up and coming artistes should pay their dues and exercise patience. They should pay attention to their talent and skill before thinking about financial rewards. They should be industrous and know that acting is more than art, it is science.