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Young filmmakers are struggling to get content on large streaming platforms

Young filmmakers are struggling to get content on large streaming platforms

As Nollywood continues to grow, young filmmakers are struggling to come to the forefront of their films or have them distributed on large platforms due to various requirements that do not match the major streaming services.

These requirements include digital technology, better story lines and the use of, among other things, popular actors. For a future film producer, these requirements can be high due to the cost consequences.

Precious Asuai, director and editor of the film “Something special”, shared with BusinessDay the challenges he faced as a young filmmaker in the industry.

“The challenges we faced in making ‘Something Special’ were financing and distribution. For financing, it’s hard to get investors, especially when it’s your first film. Because we really wanted to make a feature film without giving in to financial difficulties and procrastination. , we had to consider financing the film ourselves.

«80 per cent of the financing came from personal savings, while the remaining 20 per cent came from friends and family. We learned that this is the only possible way to finance your movie as a beginner, “said Asuai.

“Something Special” according to Asuai has benefited from the digital revolution. Without the opportunities offered by digital platforms, the crew would not be able to get the film over to the audience it has today.

But the affordability of digital equipment is still a major challenge for young filmmakers. Asuai said there was no alternative, it was either to use digital technology or nothing.

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“We knew before we made ‘Something Special’ that distribution had to be considered if we wanted to make money, but it was more important to make the film. If we thought more about distribution first, we would have stopped because it would require more funds and we probably would not have made the film. Many of the distribution decisions from the outdoor screening at Terra Culture to host the film at Fruitful Studios were made after the production, Asuai said.

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Working with a web developer also saved Asuai and his crew more costs by having their movie on a platform like Fruitful Studios where people can pay to see Something Special. This option was chosen as a result of the difficulty of getting the film on large platforms.

Peace Oni, another filmmaker, told BusinessDay that the biggest challenge has been getting money. Most of her films have been crowdfunded by friends and family. Even after the film is finished, she still needs to know someone who can help her get it on major streaming services.

Experts say that the main requirement for the best streaming platforms is casting. If the cast is unknown in the region to influence the marketing of the company, it is difficult for the top streaming platform to distribute.

Also read: Streaming vs Cinemas: How Nollywood Can Thrive

Asuai noted that this is understandable because the focus is often on making money, but the talents are not readily available. Filmmakers who do not have enough money to cast the popular actors have no chance, and actors who are not popular also have no chance, no matter how talented and hard-working they are. Asuai said he is convinced that talent and not popularity should come first.

Power services have recently provided the platform to tell unique stories, and audiences across different teams are noticing. These have also been rewarded with a higher focus on content. Netflix, Amazon and Showmax have all increased their budgets for local content in Africa.

“Streaming platforms that include all kinds of content on their platform are based on a certain quality and the standards they set for all content they post, whether it is a feature film, documentary or reality show, everything is based on quality, and there is a lot of quality requirements. , says Obinna Okerekeocha, creative director at REDTV.

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He further noted that due to their zeal and zeal to show the world what they are made of, there is no shortage of creativity among young filmmakers. Some of them go the extra mile by teaching themselves, while others go to art or film schools to learn the necessary skills, as well as websites like Udemy to learn what it takes to make a film.

“There are many aspects to not only making your film, but also having high standards in terms of which camera is used for photography, the quality of your audio mail production or the quality of your video mail production, in addition to having the translation text and subtitle text in place. He added.

He further stated that sound must comply with certain standards, whether it is Dolby Atmos, 5.1 or 2.1 surround sound. All of this is important because the technology used to deliver this content is quite advanced. This will result in the streamers preferring to work with people who have previous experience.

The uniqueness, including video and audio quality, history, cast quality, production, design and direction, will require young filmmakers to work with production houses, and people who previously had successful content in either distribution, production or metric publishing.

“Film is a product, and a product must have a certain level of quality. It has to be a good product, so when it’s out there, they know it’s a good product and it’s all inclusive because the movie is a mix of different things, and if one thing’s bad, it’s affect the rest of your design.

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“If the movie looks good in 4k video, it has good HDR, good colors and a great color palette, but there is a problem with the sound, people will not like the movie in the same way if the sound is good, but the pictures are not, it’s a problem too, “Okerekeocha said.

While young filmmakers may struggle to get their work accepted by big streamers because quality is very important, there is a need to work with good production designers and actors who will also help filmmakers get their films on big streaming platforms.

Okerekeocha added that consistency is key, young filmmakers should use the opportunity to improve their craft across the board and make sure they are excellent at what they do. They make products that are for the mass market, and people should be able to appreciate that product, because if part of it is bad, it affects everything else.

Many young advertisers are unaware of the whole process of getting the content commissioned or licensed. They do not know who to contact, how to contact them, or what fees these platforms will offer. The platforms themselves have not done a particularly good job of making the whole process transparent and seamless, said Eric Kafui, media company at Africa’s Filmtech.

“Second, although many young filmmakers are super-talented and have what it takes to create meaningful and exciting content, they are often challenged to access funding to create content that streaming platforms want,” he added.

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