GUY WHO STOPPED RITA DOMINIC FROM GOING ABROAD
is one of Nollywood's hottest actresses today. But five years ago, Rita Dominic almost walked out on a lifetime opportunity of 'the Nigerian dream,' when she came close to relocating to the UK for what she thought was a better paying job. That was at the peak of a career characterized by inconsistency in Nollywood
Five years later, Adim Williams, top Nollywood actor, director, producer and scriptwriter, who witnessed it all, has relived that memorable scenario, when he sweet-talked shapely Rita to stop her UK relocation bid.
That decision turned out to be the watershed in her career.
“I don't like using the expression 'I discovered', but I know that even she acknowledges that I contributed a lot to her career. She was on her way to London when I dragged her back. I told her that there was a vacuum here in Nigeria that she had to fill. She had been acting sparingly before then. You see her in a movie today, and then, it takes another year before she pops up again. I could see her potentials and I was bothered.”
According to Williams, it coincided with his shooting of his popular flick, Love A Thief: “I had to persuade and counsel her to stay back. I told her that there was only one other person doing what she was doing and that was Genevieve Nnaji. I told her that the position was begging for somebody else. I convinced her and she stayed back.
“I paired her with Jim Iyke in a lot of movies including Jealous Lover, the first Nigerian full length movie invited for FESPACO alongside Tunde Kelani's Campus Queen.
“That was the turning point of her career. Till tomorrow, she would tell you that but for that advice, it would have been a different story today.”
Thus, Rita Dominic had arrived Nollywood.
With 12 years of consistent practice behind him, Williams has established himself as one of Nollywood's most prolific veterans. He has written over 50 scripts and directed about the same number of movies.
And he is passionate about Nollywood. “Unsuspecting artistes are ripped off all the time. These acts are perpetuated by scam artistes, who do not belong to the business. They are neither directors, producers nor writers.”
Decrying the obvious absence of regulation in the third largest movie industry in the world, Williams he said: “There are no entry requirements. The system is porous. That has made it possible for people who have no programme to gather artistes, collect money from them and leave them high and dry. It is tragic!”
Consequently, Williams has set up an acting school to enlighten wannabes on how to chart a course.
“It is all about giving back to society. I have enjoyed relative success. The training programme is to prepare people to take a leap forward to professionalism, so that nobody would take undue advantage of them. If you get speech right, you have covered 70 per cent of acting. The rest can be taken care of. I train them for general packaging, for stardom. It is not just acting but how you could move quickly up the ladder. I have over a hundred students. I root for excellence and I must get it.”
On sexual harassment, Williams has this to say: “I am the one director that whenever I drive into the National Theatre for an auditioning, at least 20 girls would leave on their own. I have established precedence for myself. If you are not good enough, forget it! Even if it is a producer's girlfriend or relative, if you do not fit into my picture, forget it. Nothing will make it work.”
“I have seven sisters and I feel for them. I have asked some people to leave this business and today, they are happy with me that they left. What hurts me is when I see people being victimized.
“That is the reason why I have a training programme. There is no help in this business. Anybody who says he is helping you is taking advantage of you. Directors who take advantage of girls are known and they do not pretend about it. Whatever you do today is noted. You take advantage of a girl today and over time, she becomes somebody, you can't expect her to respect you.”
By TONY ERHARIEFE & EMEKA EYINNAYA