Interview: I’m On My Way To The Top – Oluyinka Omilani

[ctt_author author=”12266″ name=”Oluyinka Omilani” template=”2″ link=”8Q38C” via=”no” ]The question they ask is \”what have you done for me to invest in you?\” and I ask myself \”what would I have done? [/ctt_author]

Oluyinka Olubusayo Omilani is the chief executive officer, CEO of Omilan Productions Limited and son of Chief Moses Omilani, popularly known as Eegunleti. Aside from his movie producing role, Oluyinka, who studied History and International Relations at Lagos State University, is also a teacher, farmer, singer, percussionist and actor who has featured in many soap operas and home videos. Despite his strides and wealth of experience, Omilani, in this interview with Murtala Aleem, says he hasn’t reached his peak yet. Excerpts:

When and how did you join the movie industry and when did your movie production career begin?
I really can’t point to a particular year I joined the industry given that I am a son of an actor. In that sense, I was born into the industry. I have done stage plays when that was the fad. I did Television series and film but all of these were in my father’s production while growing up. I started taking this career serious about 13 years ago when it dawned on me that I have more passion for it than any other thing or jobs I am doing.

How many films have you featured in since you started?
I featured more in my father’s projects, I did not face production fully. I work and do some other business so I don’t always have that time to go for auditions or visit locations but the few that came my way, I do. I have worked with Mr Paul Adams in one of his soap operas, I also featured in Tinsel, Ogun Adubi, Ori Eni Loosa. I also belong to a drama group that I am currently the coordinator and we have been able to Stage our plays at Muson Centre, National Stadium, Federal Technical College Akoka and some other parts of Lagos State.

Oluyinka Olubusayo Omilani Photo

Oluyinka Olubusayo Omilani is the chief executive officer, CEO of Omilan Productions Limited

Tell us about the film you are currently working on and who are the stars that feature in it?
I just finished shooting my debut feature Film titled “Just Before I Do.” It features my dad, Moses Omilani (Eegunleti), Eddie Watson, Uzor Osimpka, Aunty Shaffy Bello, Uncle Afiz Ayetoro ( Saka), Judith Audu, Omowunmi Dada and myself.

Why did you choose to go into movie production and not stick to any of the jobs you said you do?
It is simply passion. I find fulfilment in it. I still do all those jobs I mentioned and I do them well, I mean very well but none of them can make me a fulfilled man except my production career.

Oluyinka Omilani Photo

Oluyinka Omilani

As a son of a foremost Yoruba actor, popularly known as Eegunleti, how supportive has your father been particularly in the early days?
Very supportive and happy that he’s seeing me achieve my dream while he is still alive. He was with me throughout the shoot of Just Before I Do. He even came with money to support me if peradventure we run out of cash. He can’t wait to see the premier.

What are the challenges you face in the industry?
Sponsors! We need sponsors and partnerships in this industry, particularly for upcoming ones. I know some organisations prefer to be associated with the already made brand but they should also know that good contents are not limited to them alone. This project I just finished took me seven years because I couldn’t get anybody to invest in my dream. The question they ask is “what have you done for me to invest in you?” and I ask myself “what would I have done? I understand that you have to invest in seemingly safe investments but there is a place for calculated risk. My Ibo brothers will say “take a risk and join the millionaire.”

How much would it cost to produce a good Nigerian movie?
It depends on what you call a good movie. The direction of the story determines the cash investment in the project. Some project that did not cost more than 8 million naira may turn out to be very good while the one that 50 million naira was spent on may be all crap. It is obvious you have to spend money to achieve a good production but that is not enough because production is a chain. You can have a good story, plenty money to rent equipment but when you end up hiring a novice as your director, that will be a dead on arrival project. To produce a good film, money alone will not be the determining factor. The crew also is important and this will now depend on the power of bargaining.

Have you partnered with the private sector in movie making? How supportive have they been?
Not yet. I am only banking on what a mentor calls “FFF” (Friends, Family and Foe) to source for funds. I am building my brand but hoping to approach private sector after this project.

What about the federal and state governments. Do you think they have a big role to play in the movie industry?
I haven’t been a beneficiary but I heard some producers got government grants and also loans at a very small interest from Bank of Industry.

What is your next move after Just Before I Do?
I want to go to film school abroad and study film making proper.

What do you have for other upcoming artists?
(Laughs) I think your question should be: what do I need to ask those that have been long established in this industry because I am not there yet; we are all upcoming but what I can say is, let us work very hard to reach the peak in this career we have chosen. It is a matter of time, we shall get there.

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