At least three people have asked me why the filmmakers of the Nollywood movies I have recently critiqued didn’t get a screenplay analysis first before producing their movies. They ask this because it appears that majority of what doesn’t work, according to my write-ups, seems to be something that could have been easily workable.
Getting feedback for work that you spent energy writing and rewriting can be difficult. This is why people cradle their scripts; no, they’re getting it all wrong. I’ll identify some of the reasons I’m saying this below, and they are all based on my own personal experience:
They feel their script is the best, and nobody could possibly be better at it—which is basically pride.
Even the professional screenwriters would tell you of how they show their scripts to their family members before showing it to production companies.
If you do a little research, you’d find that top production companies like Universal Pictures and Paramount seek professional feedback and deliberate over it (which includes having it rewritten). These all happen before eventually, they decide to produce the movie. And that is no matter who it is that wrote that movie. Some production companies would require script coverage (detailed analysis) for a speculative script, by a reputable feedback company, before they even consider the screenplay for other pre-production processes. So, I really don’t understand where this Nollywood pride comes from.
They don’t want anyone to leak their story or steal their ideas—which is so paranoid.
Your ideas can be poached, but not ever the script. Ever wondered why so many Hollywood movies about the same idea can be very different? You can see a good example HERE. You can also find tons of way-better-than-yours-yet-unproduced scripts at SimplyScripts. So what are we hiding in Nollywood?
They don’t want anybody to make them rework the script, especially as they aren’t sure the extent of repairs that the script would need—which is sheer laziness.
It took me 6 months to start a rework of my first ever script, and this is because of how the feedback I received suggested that I might even need to write a whole new script. But I’m grateful for the strength and determination I received from the Most High to get up and start work. The former attitude is one our Nollywood filmmakers most likely have and need to expunge.
They can’t afford to pay for professional feedback—which is just unfortunate bankruptcy.
I remember a time I was placed in a situation of getting either just a paragraph of feedback or 6 pages. Off course, the 6 pages cost more. I couldn’t afford it, and so I went for the paragraph. What I got was just a general comment that could be the comment of any other script in my genre. It wasn’t worth it at all. So the next time, I saved up and paid for 6 pages. Guess what? I got 11!
They don’t understand how important it really is— which is pure ignorance.
The first ever script I wrote, I thought was the best anyone had ever seen. This is because I felt my idea was unique. Screenwriting, unknown to me, doesn’t thrive on great ideas, but the execution itself. I was ignorant, till I got my 11 pages. Nollywood needs to understand how important getting this sort of feedback is.
Nollywood filmmakers are too scared of what people might think—which is absolutely chicken.
You’re just nothing but a “fraidy” piece of meat. Many successful people got to the top failing over and over again till they finally gained success. Who never read about the story of Sylvester Stallone?
They indeed get feedback but refuse to work with it—which is plain stupid.
This could also be in the form of selective reception; the Nollywood writers, only working on the parts they feel happy about in the feedback. This way, forgetting all other important parts that obviously dampen their spirits. Also, when you receive a feedback, it’s important to take out time to reflect on your work, but some people wouldn’t, because they are plain stupid.
In the end, it’s one of these: you’re proud, you’re paranoid, you’re lazy, you’re broke, you’re ignorant, you’re a chicken, or you’re damn right stupid. Whichever way, Nollywood needs a change in her current situation.
I have had to experience this change process. And I have to admit that it is not easy receiving unfavorable feedback for work you know how much energy you invested. You may even decide never to seek feedback again; this is not a wise decision. Just as the old wise saying goes: no pain, no gain.
See my older post on going out of your comfort zone and getting feedback HERE.
Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.
She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.