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My Dreams For Nollywood—Filmmaker, Soji Ogunnaike

After the successful premiere of ‘+234’ TV Series on Sunday, April 12, 2015, the CEO of Rushing Tap, Soji Ogunnaike settled down with to share his ideals and plans for the series and movie industry at large.

How did you come about the +234 TV Series?
I have been working with the entertainment industry, majorly in the advertising sector, shooting commercials, working on branded shows. But obviously, the industry has taken a new turn. I do not know how to describe the turn as it has taken almost all the practitioners by surprise. Budgets are slimmer, television adverts are not as effective as they used to be and obviously it affects business for people like me.

I had to also evolve with the industry and I knew that good contents were the way forward. Film is something that I have been always wary of. I had not yet been convinced yet that it is a worthwhile investment. I had relationship with the brands and I thought that the worst would be to get only adverts. That was what birthed the idea of the +234 TV Series to start with.

First of all, budget. We did not have all the monies in the world. With the way our country is, the brands are not going to support the idea, they would support the product. So we needed to create the product first, which is a produced show in this context. I checked my pocket to that I would do something that was not too elaborate but it would be engaging.

What about getting the characters?
Growing up, the best shows to me were pretty much one-location shows with just one or two extra locations. I asked myself, ‘why do I want to impress the industry with the equivalent of a ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Game of Thrones’?’ You know Nigerians are very dramatic people so wherever you situate a show, it will be a success, once there is drama, a story; every character has a unique story.

So, creating the characters were easy because while writing the character bible, you begin to think about your friends and you begin to add characteristics from your friends to these characters, then you begin to receive the characters without even doing the casting. That was how I created the show and the characters.

How did you get the prominent faces together?
First of all, like I said earlier, what drove the decision about this project was the budget. 99% of the cast are personal friends. When you tell your friend you have a dream and unless the person is not a friend, they would want to be part of that dream as long as the person also believes in what you are doing.

This was what made me choose these people. I told them that ‘I do not have all the money in the world, but help us.’ These were people that worked in commercials that I have shot before. We had done other projects together. There was a bond already so I did not need to talk too much. It’s something I am really grateful for to have met these people, for the time I had met with them, to have kept them as friends.

The storyline; how long will it run?
We have three seasons already written. The next time, we are going into production, we are doing the next two seasons. But as we are talking to the clients, the potential sponsors, they want to take this project bigger than our ideas, which is very interesting for us. We created a one-location show, a lot of them want to create more-than-one location shows. It will work for us, as long as they pay for it. We want to create content that will become international franchises.

Share with us who Soji Ogunnaike is?
I am a television and film producer. That has become my last bus stop. But I have been involved in a lot of things; computers, hard wares; networking to software programming, graphic designing and print.

My journey in life has been more than an asset. I sit down in front of a computer and I can do graphic designs to the final mix of a show. So no crew member can hold me to ransom. I am pretty much the only person who believes you can be a ‘Jack of all trades and master of all. I believe that strongly.

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