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The Festival’s Twitter space was the ground set for one of the most vital people in the world of Cinema: the screenwriters. The session was hosted by Temilolu Fosudo, a member of the film club and the panelist consisted of six screenwriters who expressed major concerns about the realities of writing in Nigeria. Through their personalized answers, they went on to share how they have survived the ever-growing film industry in Nigeria.
The session took the form of a Q & A and the first sets of questions where on the factors to writers should consider before going on to accept writing gigs and at what stage a writer should a writer be more selective or “picky” with available projects. The panelist gave a valid objective truth as to the reality of lack of choice in accepting gigs due to the reality of “Bill to be paid”. Although, one panelist, Africa Ukoh debunked that truth and gave a more subjective opinion writers being more sensitive as to their acceptance of writing gigs based on the writers overall long-term goals or the values and principles of the writer.
Another important question asked was on ways writers can go about finding connections as writers are unfairly tagged as anti-social beings. Tomi Folowosele, a panelist, told her personal approach, which is credited to being a member of Film rats club. Another panelist, Hafeez Oluwa gave a more ambitious yet applaudable approach he took to land his first gig which he tagged “elevator approach” and that is for writers to go ahead and pitch their ideas to filmmakers they know.
The sensitive topic of contracts was also discussed on the virtual space, as each panelist gave their take on how to protect the creative right of the writer. Part of what was heavily suggested was attachment of clause such as the right to auction, right to buy back and also a contract that covers the sale of a screenplay for a period of time. Another vital suggestion by a panelist was for clarity of role in the early periods of negotiation before going ahead to start the screenplay.
The question of story source and story content was brushed as the idea of a screenplay touching on social issues was asked. There seemed to be a synchronized response on this question as the panelist generally agreed that it isn’t a compulsory requirement, but writers should be socially conscious and sensitive to their story’s environment.
The final question was based on the time factor for writing a screenplay. Each panelist gave their personal ordeals with time negotiation with producers and directors. One power point made by Africa Ukoh while advising screenwriters was for them to diffuse the energy of seeking to do just any job and having to comprise heavily to the detriment of the work and one’s values. He qualified the act as “man must chop” and requested screenwriters to debunk such ideologies as it only ends the writer in an unescapable loop