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Nollywood, Watch Your Back, Skitmakers Are Taking Over!


Nollywood, Watch Your Back, Skitmakers Are Taking Over!

As social media platforms continue to open the door for new ‘celebrities’ who engage in skitmaking to eke a living, movie makers and practitioners in the entertainment industry have been struggling to catch up with the sweeping momentum that is also threatening their means of livelihood. SEGUN ADEBAYO looks at some of the issues reshaping the Nigeria entertainment landscape.

It is no more business as usual for many movie practitioners, including producers and directors who hitherto were the toast of many movie lovers within and outside the country following the rise in the number of skit-makers and content creators who now give popular movie practitioners a run for their money.

Those who have been observing happenings in the entertainment circle in the last few years would have noticed the paradigm shift from the regular Nollywood movies to skits on social media platforms as the love for comic skits has remained high fueling what some observers described as battle of popularity and supremacy among regular filmmakers and skit-makers.

As content creators continue emerge on the entertainment scene through the help of social media platforms where they serve new skits daily piercing through a wide range of followers on Instagram and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube established actors who have not upped their game are struggling to catch up with the momentum.

With a video attracting more than 500,000 views and likes, skit-makers have not just found fame, they have also found wealth. It is believed that they are regularly being approached by brands who seek to ride on their celebrity and influential status to drive home a new campaign or draw attention to new products.

Some of these gigs and engagements it was learnt usually come with mouth-watering deals were said to be the exclusive reserve of many actors and actresses in the Nollywood movie industry but they seem to be losing the race to the new ‘kings of social media platforms’. This development, R learnt has forced many of them to start reaching out to media influencers for collaborations on projects that would shore up their media presence and position them for fresh engagements.

Beyond the quick rise to fame on Findings by R revealed that skit-makers now leverage on their popularity strength and instant feedback mechanism to negotiate with top brands across the country and beyond as they seal big deals.

Through their respective social media accounts, skit-makers have turned actors without any formal training in acting, thereby pushing mainstream actors further down the pecking order with many of them now forced to engage services of media influencers to manage their social media accounts in order to stay relevant and keep attracting new jobs.

In fact, it was gathered that many of them left it late as they never expected to be swept off by the skit-making waves currently pervading entertainment industry. They were said to have underrated the strength and capacity of social media influencers.

With popular names like Sabinus who boasts of 1.5 million followers on Instagram; Mr Macaroni (2.6M) Instagram followers; Brain Jotter, Gentu, Brodashaggi who is the most followed Instagram comedian with 9.8 million followers, Taaooma, MC Lively, Cute Abiola, Yemi Elesho, among others raking in millions from social engagements and dominating online and public events, it may not be too long before they take over the big screens.

With each of them creating a unique approach to how they engage their fans, they usually pattern their skits after a particular trend and infused comic that will keep With new skits coming out almost every week, skit makers tend to build their fan base quickly and reach out to more people on a daily basis. As they gain the attention of their audience through their skits, they usually entice them with giveaways and other gifts that keep their fans coming back for more engagements.

A popular skit maker who did not want his name mentioned said it is not enough for anyone to know how to act, they must learn how to engage their followers. 

“You can’t just use your Instagram or Twitter and Facebook accounts to update people about your new set of shoes or cars, you must be able to set new trends and speak the language your followers understand. If you are laid back, you will be run out of busibess,” 

he warned.

Speaking with R about his view on the threat being posed by skit-makers on their career, actor Saidi Balogun who engaged influencers to push his new movie said he knew there would be a time when everyone who failed to raise their game and push their brand into the new media will have to struggle to stay relevant.

The actor said further that era when actors rely on their popularity outside of social media has gone, pointing out that 

“the surge you see on social media these days and how some of our colleagues want to remain relevant should tell you that we have a serious issue in our hands. But the beauty of it all is that we are professionals and we just have to work together and help ourselves to keep growing and getting better,” 

he added.

Skitmakers pay actors higher and better fee

One of the factors dwarfing the growth of movie-making and its practitioners is the meager fee actors are paid after spending about a week or two on a set. Save for the big names in the game who command high fee in the region of N150,000 to N200,000 per movie, investigation revealed that many actors in the Yoruba speaking movie industry hardly receive 80,000 naira as appearance fee.

Corroborating this claim, veteran actor, Lalude, who has featured in a number of skits said in an interview with R that a skit making fetches him more money that conventional movies, adding that he was shocked when he received payment alert from  a popular skit-maker who reached out to him.

“I am an actor and I respect my colleagues but we have to be truthful, skitmaking pays me more. I am always looking forward to working with skitmakers these days because they pay well and treat you well. I don’t mean to say that Yoruba movie producers are bad as I don’t expect them to pay what they don t have but skitmakers are doing so well for actors and I am happy about that,”

 he said.

Skit makers now get picked above real actors

Popular actress, Jemima Osunde in a chat with ‘Rubbin Minds’ on Channels recently

 “I have seen a situation where a skit maker is picked over an actual actor that can pull of the role. I don’t believe that any actor should have only one source of income. Acting cannot be your primary source of income”.

Recounting how she began acting, the Doctor of Physiotherapy said: 

”I thought acting was going to be something I would do while in the university, make an extra change to what dad was giving me .I started hanging out with people who are into ushering business. An uncle who was in to entertainment told me to try something in acting or presenting”.

On the challenges she encountered while combining acting and schooling, she said: 

“There were days I was losing my mind. There were days where I would have lectures from 8 till like 12.I would also have a call time of 1pm .School is all the way in Surulere Mushin, movie set would be in Lekki Phase 1.May be that’s why I didn’t have a social life when I was in the University. You know when you pass through school and it didn’t really pass through you, that’s me.

Actors are not giving up!

While others may be losing out on the big deals, actresses like Iyabo Ojo, Mercy Johnson, Toyin Abraham, Funke Akindele, among others are cashing in on the moment. They have huge presence on social media platforms and they always serve premium contents that have helped them stay afloat when others appear to be struggling.

For Kate Henshaw, Ufuoma Mcdermmot and others who command heavy following, they are constantly putting themselves in the faces of the people and teaching their fans something new every day as part of their strategy to keep their pages active.

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