“Make the slap in this scene look real guys”, so can we move to the next scene now? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and ACTION…… (Actors begin to portray their various scenes)
This and many other excitement scenarios’ is what I witnessed on the two movie set I visited for an upcoming movie. These satisfied my curiosity about what goes into a movie production.
Being on set or location is perhaps more exciting than challenging as I learnt of the many preparations and the deadlines the technical crew, directors and actors have to face to produce a fiction or a flick. After almost a day on the movie sets, I realize that it is not an easy field for our Ghanaian movie stars in the persons of Majid Michel, John Dumelo, Jackie Appiah, Yvonne Nelson, Adjetey Annan, Lydia Forson and Kay Elliot.
Its entails a lot of preparation, learning to change one’s accent and above all learning and working to fit in the characters in the flick. These characters could range from portraying drug addicts, prostitutes, teachers, gays, lesbians, pastors and house helps. So if you are what I would call a “movie freak” who appreciates dialogue, casting, costuming, make up, sound, lighting and screenplay in every movie to the extent of critiquing the movie, then be sure to applaud the actors and the crew involved in making the production happen.
The term “behind the scenes” means designed and carried out secretly or confidentially. Confidentially and secretly because most of whatever is done behind the scenes is in its raw state until editing is done and processed on a CD. It also allows for mistakes and blunders to be made during a production. That is why the movies are edited several times and given a perfect finish, before being released to the public. A film director is responsible for the directing of actors and the crew.
He sees to the artistic and dramatic aspects of film making. The director, makeup artiste, costumiers, light and sound men are a small section of the many that work behind scenes to make our favorites actors and actresses who they are at the end of a movie production. For most movie lovers what they do not know is that their favorite characters in movies are not fluent in their scripts. They make a lot of mistakes hence the production terms “CUT” and “ROLL”. For some movie producers to create humor, they add the blunders committed by our favorite actors and actresses to the final edited work and present to viewers as “goofs” after the movie is rolled.
On a movie set, actors are gathered or selected for a specific role or character and this selection is carried out by the director in connection with the script writer. On a movie location with a broader budget, more especially in Nigeria, the financier of the movie is different from the producer. The financier provides the capital for the shoot with an agreement that he has a say in the movie and can make some decisions concerning the movie. In other cases his role becomes s spectator who only reaps his money when the movie is marketed properly and interest begins to accrue. As pertains in Bollywood, Hollywood and Nollywood most movie producers come out with the budgets of their movies. This is aimed at making the viewer appreciate all the efforts put to get the finished product on the market.
Accidents do happen at times behind the scenes. These accidents could either be minor or major so care is mostly taken during production of movies so as to avoid accidents. Due to this most movie producers are advised to make use of the presence of medical personnel when shooting a movie, so as to treat all accidents. Recently most movie directors and producers adopt the Western Style of relocating to different regions or countries , if need be to shot either a scene or the whole movie and to have their story lines depict the western concept. These mostly cost a lot hence, the need to pump much money into movie making.
Depending on the ideas of the director, scriptwriter an perhaps the financier of the movie, a movie could be shot either in a month in Ghana, months, weeks and oddly a day as pertains in Ghana. In Hollywood many movies are planned and could be shot over a year. After shot there are times set to release thrillers for generate public interests, times for interviews and lastly times from premieres to some tour dates, where the movies are taken round on tour for all to have a glimpse of before they are finally released on Compact Disks (CD). This trend is gradually gaining grounds in Ghana. Behind the scenes also entails the props, makeup artist, the IT technicians, sound guys, editors and the costumiers for the production. It’s a typical family on a movie set. Music compositions which is well portrayed in Nollywood movies is also considered during the shoot on location and mostly on the editing bench.
For most movie directors creativity is their hallmark at the end of the day, hence they employ all the tactics to capture the attention of the audience at the end of the day. It’s really questionable when movie producers always feature particular people as their characters, but hey who do we blame , since a must watch movie to sell in Ghana must consists of the stars like Jackie , Yvonne Nelson, John Dumelo, Majid Micheal, Yvonne Okoro and all our favorite stars. So in effect we make and unmake our stars, while leaving no room for the new discoveries on the block. It is also on record that before the actors concerge on set they bargain their monies out before they agree to take up the role. These monies are not fixed as each actor is paid according to his strengths and perhaps popularity. So in essence money paid to Actress Lydia Forson will differ from money paid to Salma Mumin. Most of these actors insist on part payment in their bank accounts before they move to the location for a shoot.
On the lighter side though, behind the scenes is the happy time that all stars from all walks of life are brought together with the help of the producer. It’s a time to get acquainted with other actors from other continents like what pertains a Nollywood and Gollywood productuction, Gollywood and South African, Nollywood and Holywood and Ghollywood and Hollywood Prodcutions. On set the actors chat and laugh at amusing incidents on location and above all imbibe knowledge into the new crop of stars they find themselves acting with, they get to interact and lately shoot shot videos of themselves “goofing” around or having their own fun on set. Just like a replica of Hollywood where musicians like Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson and all others have been planted into the movie industry, Producers are gradually developing talents in our Ghanaian musicians, presenters through acting and imputing more explicit scenes in their movies. For as it is said sex , sells and indeed for these script writers a movie with sex scenes and a wild title just gets the populace to get a copy of the supposed movie. But have you ever wondered whether our actors have a say in the movies they feature in, from perhaps the title of the movie or correcting the way a particular scene is being acted? Well, you would be amazed to also find out that most of our stars do not know the title of the movies they shoot, neither the story line of the movie. For them it is all about executing their jobs and getting paid, so never be surprised if you interview and actor and wants to find out the titles of some of the movies they featured in. If you are lucky, you could get the correct title or a line like “I know it was a working tite, so I am not too sure” (It happens with the actors all the time, so please don’t keep asking them when you meet them on location or when they are promoting the movie)
With this brief education about what happens at least on a Ghanaian movie set, I am sure you have an idea of what pertains in Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood. Well with all said and explained here, the next time you watch a great movie and are attempted to praise the lead character who executed the movie role well, I would admonish you to rather give that applause, encouragement and some little gratitude to the cameramen and women, makeup artiste, costumiers and above all the script writers and producers for making your favorite actor or actress who they are.
By Eyra Doe