From being a journalist, Samuel Olatunji, CEO 007 Global has seamlessly transformed into a moviemaker and now a director. In this chat, Olatunji talks about his journey from journalism into artiste management and filmmaking. He also talks about his directorial debut entitled, Dear Affie among other interesting issues.
We understand that you are shooting a new movie, your directorial debut entitled Dear Affie. Could you tell us about it?
I am done shooing Dear Affie. We shot for 16 days. Dear Affy is a romantic comedy with an amazing plot and a twist which tells the story of a beautiful career lady who is about to get married to the man of her dreams. A man on the verge of sealing contracts worth millions of naira. However, he is between the devil and the deep blue sea because sealing the contract comes with a condition, having an intimate affair with the female billionaire contractor by all means just few weeks to his wedding. It is the most anticipated movie of 2020.
What inspired Dear Affie?
Last year I did two movies entitled Ghost and The Tout and Seven and Half Dates but before that I had gone to film school and studied under Tunde Kelani. Seven and Half Dates is currently on Netflix. I had made up my mind that I was going into content planning. I believe so much in the power of media, entertainment and communication and that we can change the narrative with that. I believe we can inspire people to live better lives. So I said, let us create content that is top notch. I learnt a lot from the last two films though I was only involved in the money aspect so I registered a new company called 007 Global exclusively for content creation. I am talking about music videos, adverts and commercials. Dear Affie is an expression of our new journey into content development. I cannot say a particular incident inspired Dear Affie but we are at the stage where an arm of our company is into content development and we want to develop great content. Dear Affie is an amazing film; it will be the biggest film of 2020. Dear Affie is out of this world!
The biggest film of 2020? Could we have the roll call of the cast and a price tag?
I don’t think anyone could have done better in terms of casting. From the East we have Chiwetalu Agu, Chinediu Ikedezie, Enyinna Wigwe and Williams Uchemba. From the west we have Odunlade Adekola, Toyin Abraham, Sadik Kosoko, Fathia Williams, Eniola Ajao, Bimbo Akintola, Bimbo Ademoye and Kehinde Bankole among others. We also have Teni the Entertainer. From the north we have Ali Nuhu and Afeez Oyetoro aka Saka. In terms of photography and production, we have spent over N30m already. Now we are in post-production where we are already spending money. Later this month we are going to start publicity and it is going to be one of the most awesome publicity campaigns ever. We are having a concert like premiere with A-list stars performing.
You were once a journalist, now you are into moviemaking. How would you describe the transition?
I am trying to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. I believe that one of the purposes of my life is to use communication tools to effect change. When I say communication tools, it could be speaking, writing or movies. It could be TV, cinema or radio so don’t be amazed if you hear that I own a cinema or just established a popular TV platform. Currently we have one of the most popular TV platforms on YouTube, Broadway Africa TV so journalism is communication. I left journalism for PR which is communication, and celebrity management and movie making is communication too so we are harnessing the power of media to effect change.
What were your fears when you left journalism?
I resigned three times but eventually I just had to go. This shows that I gave resignation a lot of thought; it was not spontaneous. I believe in giving a shot at something I believe in. Before journalism I was an entrepreneur. Since 2007, there is no month I haven’t paid somebody a salary. So, before I became a journalist, I had already cut my teeth as an entrepreneur and all my days as a journalist I thought as an entrepreneur. If there is no market, create your market. I am very good at doing interviews, I went full blast on interviews as a journalist. I believed that part of being a journalist is setting agenda. And then I began advising artistes on their brands for free. And then I started doing press releases for them and I was in demand. That was when it occurred to me I could charge for this it. I began to do a lot of management and media consultancy. I had done a couple of investments that were interfering with my journalism so when I knew I could no longer give my best I had to go. Did I have fears? Naturally you would have fears stepping into a new region. I had the fear of living all I had achieved behind. I am taking about relationships. For me, the greatest failure is not trying and failing but failing to try so I took the bull by the horns.
Nollywood started with just the video camera and they were shooting blockbusters. Today the quality of movies have improved but opportunities are becoming narrower. Genevieve Nnaji got an Oscar nomination but was disqualified, what is your take on all of these?
I call myself a media and entertainment content entrepreneur. The truth is that opportunities are not shrinking but endless. I know a musician who has not had a hit for over two years but he still makes between $80, 000 to $100, 000 every month. Opportunities are opening up but for people who have positioned themselves as serious players. So, it is either you play big or you just sit down. For Genevieve Nnaji. I think we need to commend her for going that far. Based on what we have read, the reason is that it was supposed to be a foreign language film with 70 pe cent foreign but Lionheart is not and that is enough reason for the Oscars to disqualify it because it did not meet their basic requirements.
Against the backdrop of the Genevieve Nnaji experience, what advice do you have for Nigerian film makers?
Make movies for what you want to achieve. If you want to make a movie for an award, make an award movie. If you want to make a film festival movie, do that. If your goal is to compete at the Oscars, then play by the rules. That is not my goal. I am sticking to mine so I cannot advice producers who want to go that way so all I will say is, let your goal inspire you.
What is your goal?
To be able to influence thought and inspire people towards greatness so you might be seeing more of me next year. We must be able to inspire thought. As per my movie, my goal is to make a lot of money at the box office and I am not mincing words on that. I don’t want to make a movie that will travel to all the festivals. Yesterday, I told an actor that if you stand out well in your place of assignment, the big market will look for you. China is working with AY because he is the only producer that has done back-to-back N100m for like five years in movies and that is a big deal. So, when Chine came calling, they called someone who has done well. Burna Boy, Wizkid and Davido have conquered local territory so it is easier for investors to relate with them. Do well in your immediate market and the next level market will open up for you. So, my goal with Dear Affie is to make major box office sales as I entertain my audience. We are hoping God will help us. If you ask my crew members, they will tell you that the target for Dear Affie is N500m at the box office. No Nollywood movie has done that!
Do you have any regrets, how would you describe 2019?
I would say it has been a good year. It has given me reason to strategise and it is a year that I developed faith. Thank God I have investors for Dear Affie. Almost everybody I called to invest messed up. 2019 is a year that made me re-evaluate who I am and where I am coming from. My 2019 has set agenda for my 2020. I was able to make inroads. Like Aristotle said ‘Man know thyself.’ I have evaluated who I am and where I am going. I have become less apologetic about pursuing my dreams. 2019 made me realise that I have to look inwards more and pay more attention to myself.