Imagine shooting a blockbuster film for a shoestring budget of N700,000 and raking in a whopping N50 million? That is exactly what Oil tycoon turned-moviemaker and Grand Patron, Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Andy Boyo did recently.
How did he do it? Hear him: “Late movie veteran, Eddy Ugboma made me realise that our movie producers are not shooting movies because of funding, so I said ‘okay, as an engineer, having worked for Aerospace in America where I had to make things happen with scarce resources, I should be able to do the same thing with production.’
“This led me to experiment and write a one man-cast script and I did a crowd financing. Guess what, the crowd that financed the film was the artiste and the crew. Everybody signed an agreement as part of the executive producers. Contributing their time for exchange for percentage. So, we quantified what the whole project would take for everybody. For instance, if we make N1 million and you gave N100,000 that means you have 10 per cent. Even PA had a percentage.
“We spent N700,000 including traveling and hotel accommodation, and paying a pittance to them to survive after we signed the agreement. The film was never shown in Nigerian cinemas because they felt it was a risk and they felt nobody would watch a one-cast movie, so I had to go all the way to Ghana. We were in Ghana, Rwanda, Hollywood and Calgary and that movie earned N50 million. I did it to show stakeholders how one could do a great movie with a shoestring budget and still do a standard film and make money out of it.”
However, Boyo has one regret. He said: “Unfortunately, I have tried to educate movie-makers that you can shoot great movies without spending millions of naira, but the issue in Nigeria is trust. If you tell people ‘sign up with me and I will pay you after the film, nobody will sign up.’ As a matter of fact, I could not get an artiste here to do the film. If I had got a Ramsey Nouah or a big name in Nigeria, that film would have done better. I had to go to Ghana and recruit one of my boys who trusted me and we did it, and today, he is better for it.
“And you can imagine. The PA of the set made over N200,000 in an industry where they earn only N5,000. Diamond Bank refereed the trust. The contract was given to the bank and everybody opened an account and there was a central account. So, if money is paid, the money is distributed immediately based on percentage. I tried to impact it on Nollywood that, if you want to use your reputation for trust, nobody will take you serious. But if it is a bank or insurance company backed by documentation, the sky is the limit.”