‘How a director rejected me for being too slim’
Nollywood actor Akande David Oludamilola comes across as an unassuming young man who wants to carve a niche for himself in the Nigerian film industry. The talented actor who won the Best of Nollywood Award for ‘Revelation of the Year’ in 2018, in this interview with DAMOLA KOLA-DARE speaks on his nascent acting career, his latest movie, among other issues. Excerpts
WHY did you choose acting as a profession?
Acting has been my love for a very long time. I happen to be a person that loves to talk, to interact with people; so I chose acting as a career because it is what I love passionately.
For me, it is a way of life and I love it dearly. When you are doing something you love, it won’t be as if you are working. I started my acting career in the church. I acted from one church to another. Then, of course, I acted in my secondary school days as well as in the university. The passion I have for it is indescribable.
The showbiz world is a money-spinning one; didn’t you put that in mind?
Most times, you do not think about money first. But if you put money first in a career like acting, then certainly you won’t get anywhere.
I studied the career I wanted to go into and decided to build a brand. When you build a brand first, then you can think of making money. Also one needs to understand the business side of entertainment because one might be popular and actually not be rich.
How do you juggle acting, directing and movie production as a versatile upcoming actor?
Well, it is not that complicated but I see it as a learning process. Of course it prepares me to be an all-round filmmaker, and not just an actor. So when you are not acting, you are the behind-the-scene learning a whole lot of technicalities.
Let me say juggling everything tasks you creatively and I enjoy taking part in it.
What are the challenges you have faced as a budding actor?
Challenges are part of our daily lives. My acting career has got its fair share of challenges.
One of the major challenges I faced at some point was when I attended Wale Adenuga’s PEFTI where I did a professional course in acting and presentation. During that time, it was common to go for auditions and at times you have to spend the last money on you to get there. It was that tough. I once attended an audition where over 600 people were in attendance and I had to wait for my turn that day.
Then there is this experience I will never forget. I went for audition having exhausted the money I had. Luckily for me, I got a call back from the organisers with the hope of getting a role only for the director to say he needed a fat guy for the role and the rest of us should go. Despite that, I was undeterred because it served as motivation for me, the fact that I was initially shortlisted.
Who do you look up to in the film industry?
First and foremost, I will say Mr Abiodun Jimoh, an award-winning director. He is my mentor, boss and manager. He has had a huge impact on me and a motivating factor in my life. And then, award-winning actress Jumoke Odetola who has always supported me. Apart from the aforementioned, I like Richard Mofe-Damijo(RMD),Gabriel Afolayan, OC Ukeje, Odunlade Adekola and Olaide Almaroof.
What are you into currently?
I released a movie Kito in June and we are working on publicity for it.
The movie is already on Youtube, though the premiere comes up in October.
Apart from that, more amazing movies are on the way.
What does the BON Award mean to you?
It is the summary of my hustle; the challenges I have faced. The award shows that a new star is born based on its title: ‘revelation of the year’.
Though I was overwhelmed when I was declared the winner, it was a great feeling. Even before winning the award I had been nominated for the City People Movie Award. It shows your efforts are recognised and you need to work harder.
What is your assessment of Nollywood?
The movie industry is growing rapidly. Before I got to the industry, our film industry was not at this level. The cinema is doing fine in Nigeria as we now have good movies there regularly. For me, Nollywood is not yet where it ought to be but it is not where it used to be. But I believe it climbs up the ladder and surprises the world.
How do you think the issue of piracy can be addressed?
Piracy is killing the industry. Even before I got into the industry, I have heard a lot of ugly stories about it. For me, it is a mindset. Why do you want to reap from where you did not sow? Movie producers should find better means of keeping their movies from pirates and establish a strong, independent body that will fight piracy headlong. The government should also help in eliminating it because those involved make more money than movie producers and marketers.
Critics accuse Nollywood of producing movies whose plot are sometimes weak and shallow, what can be done to bring an improvement?
Film makers should make their stories more believable. Let us put elements of reality in our movies so that people will be able to relate with the content. Then let us do research-based stories.