I WANT TO DISCOVER FRESH TALENTS —ANDY AMENECHI
Movie and television drama director, Andy Amenechi has revealed that the inspirational quality of the script and the challenge of working with fresh talents were some of the reasons he went back on his decision not to direct soap operas to call the shots behind the camera on the on going super story series, Everything It Takes.
Before then, he directed a television drama, the rested Ripples between 1989 and 1990.
The experienced movie director and script writer also revealed that his new philosophy is to discover at least one fresh acting talent with every job he directs. That resolve, he told our correspondent in an exclusive interview, came about after he worked with relative rookies on the set of the television drama that is already garnering wide a following among television viewers across the country.
Perhaps as a mark of his high status in the industry, he was on set of the film adaptation of Elechi Amadi's The Concubine when the CEO of Wale Adenuga Productions called to invite him over for talks regarding the new job at hand. That was in November last year.
Amenechi, a 1983 mass communication graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, with many years of experience in television, Radio and film production said, "I usually don't do soap operas, but when I read the script, it was really excellent.
"One of the few well written scripts that I have ever worked with. It is an inspirational story of young persons whose belief is that no matter how low they get, no matter the social problems that they face, they have all it takes to make it.
"It is a job that will accentuate attitudinal change and awareness and the dominant spirit of young people. I like using such opportunities to teach young people positive values; who are we going to teach if we don't teach the young? Is it the old people? So, I took it as a challenge and I was quite happy that I was part of that project," declared the award winning producer - director of such successful movies like Mortal Inheritance, Mastermind, Scavengers, Heart of Gold and Akum among several others.
However, as it turned out, Amenechi, who produced 38 episodes of Ripples from 1889 to 1990, said, "Ordinarily, I prefer to work with established stars because I have worked with virtually all of them and I know their strengths and weaknesses," got a dose of attitudinal change while on the set of Everything It Takes.
Working with the relatively green behind the ears acts was an eye opener for him.
"Working with those three girls was a challenge for me because I'm used to working with established stars. But it really opened my eyes to the fact that talent abounds that is still unexplored in the land; and that we're doing ourselves a disservice by using the same set of people. I have made it my objective in the movie industry from Everything It Takes on to bring out at least one fresh talent from every production," he declared.
Amenechi, however, has appreciative words for the crew at Wale Adenuga Productions for the success of the television soap. According to him, the crew there was very cooperative in showing him how things work in the company adding, "I had the wisdom of Antar Laniyan as the assistant director. He showed me round the whole place in three days so much that you'd think I have been working there for years. In fact, there were some wet eyes when I was leaving; we've been in touch ever since and we're going to be doing some projects together before the year runs out," he said.
Although they had a good working relationship, the well respected director who said "I am especially proud of those three girls," because "They went to hell with me because I couldn't fail and I couldn't afford to let them make me fail;" set straight negative insinuations regarding why he was chosen for the job ahead of the in-house director.
He told us, "I gathered that right from the writing stage; some writers suggested their preference for the director for best interpret the story; however, I feel they just wanted a fresh input in terms of interpretation and selection of shots. As you know, every director has his style," he said. Amenechi spoke glowingly of The Concubine, the film he was shooting when he received the call to work on Everything It Takes, he however enjoyed the experience of having to work with greenhorns and concluded by saying "we really need to discover fresh talents so that we could build our artiste base."