by: Raphael Francis
In case you want to change your career, into something creative, or maybe you have had it in you for a long time, especially if you were one of those teens that appeared more often in your church drama, and you’ve always wanted to delve into the movie industry and didn’t know how to go about it, this is for you!
I would’ve charged tons of thousands for a two weeks virtual master class, or a one month writing workshop on this, but there’s no point in selling knowledge i got for free, what kind of human, would that make me?
Here’s a guide on how to write a PROPER Nollywood epic romance appealing to your African Magic Audience.
Forget about the title first, the inspiration for a befitting title will come in due course.
First, you need to sprout up a magnificent Palace that sits like Zuma rock; wear it a fresh foreignness in pink, or blue of a warm sky, hemmed with creepy bougainvillea and manicured hedges bordering the house so that those yellow birds with the bright orange beaks can wake up its inhabitants with their syrupy chirping.
Make sure this Palace of yours is behind a high gate, if not, where would those guards with protruding chest stand? Stop wondering why you need all of these gigantic edifice for, you’ll get to know soon. Now, make the parlour big, with sleek leather upholstery and the Igwe’s throne riddled with a lion’s fur, or a tiger’s, anyone is fine, it always depicts the Igwe as a warrior King abi a king hunter, anyhow, just have an animal fur there. The parlour must bear the faint hum of the air conditioner and the satellite TV beaming down diets of CNN news and endless streams of word disasters. A scattering of nameless palace maidens, drivers, guards is a must, fix them.
Now, you need an Igwe, call him Mbanefo, or Ekwueme, no! Leave Ekwueme, it’s a title of a song, who even bears Ekwueme sef? Call him Agu, yes! it sounds exotic and traditional. Give Igwe Agu a doughy smile, a documentarian voice and the same fitness as the average twenty-nine year old. Not one of those big city twenty nine year olds who deal with mid-life crisis by buying ridiculously expensive gym gears, just to take sweaty photos for “break a sweat” caption on their social media. But the average twenty nine year old with a distended belly from all the beers hitting the wrong intestines. It’s important to make Igwe Agu menacing. A king that could be smiling, and ordering the guards to deal with you at the same time. Brute is necessary, especially in a Nigerian kingdom.
The Igwe must have a beautiful Queen, a moneyed one, who always wears heavy makeups and apparels just to roam the Palace. Make her quell disputes between the Palace maidens once in a while, at least, make her useful!
The Igwe will need Ndichies, bunch of egoistic chiefs, who drink local gins, and think themselves breadwinners because they can still achieve an erection. Make them sprawled on chieftain attires just to argue amongst themselves over frivolous matters like, if the estranged Prince, Igwe Agu’s only son should return from the Abroad or not. Note: the Igwe must have just a son, a crown jewl, e get why.
Make one of the chiefs popular, the way drunks are in small towns, make him a loud mouth that spew ridiculous cants Ekwensu aromances amamiwota, whatever that means. A comic relief is important, infuse one.
Now you need to have a Prince, give him an English name-calistus, caly for short. Make him a suave man, the kind that walks in a way people who have financially become independent on other people’s financial dependency often are. Give him a lanky swagger, a prominent chin, a dark and bouncy hair like the filling of a pillow. Force out the abroadness in him, by fire, by force. Make him the kind of American returnee Prince that wears leather belts with an elaborate designers logo as buckle.
His Nigerian accent must be smothered over, by years abroad as though with sand paper, let matter come out as marah, make him speak rolling his tongue over syllables i wanna gonna, c’moon ovurr here. Most importantly, he has to always wear a a smile peculiar to Nigerian politician’s kid who travels abroad by default, with dreams constantly cushioned with the right phone calls. Make sure he always makes references to how things are done in the Abroad, compare to Nigeria, like back in the states, youno we call niggas by ’em names. Back in the states, shit menh!
Don’t forget this is supposed to be a romantic story, introduce the girl at this point.
Call her Nkiru, because what’s coming for her later in this story, is something great. Give Nkiru an emotional appealing backstory, something that will make your viewers mouth ehya, ehya, at will.
Nkiru must be raised by a single mother in the hardscrabble part of the town. They’ve to be poor, and Nkiru’s mother must be bedridden by a terminal illness, the kind that requires a lot of money for her treatment, which they don’t have.
Nkiru has to be teary with mucus sliding out from her nose in a rasp, especially when hawking sachet water on the streets to raise money for her mother’s treatment. Make her soft like a child trained to be quiet, like a child well-mannered in the unspoken language of her mother, knowing to leave the room when adults are speaking and to decline meals offered outside.
Now create a scene where Nkiru and the Prince’s path crosses, make it one of those days where the sky is viscous and turquoise: the hot, demented turquoise of a day filled with promises.Place her in one of those busy neighbourhood of small businesses fill with industrial rumbles of generators, that she would be deaften by the noise and not hear the car honking, until she gets knocked down by one of the prince’s entourage.
Make her falling dramatic, in slow motion, make it look like the world trade center peeling off like icing from a badly baked cake, appeal to emotions, make viewers mouth hundreds of ehyahs, from that scene only not minding if it is badly shot. Plant a crowd, let them gather round her, waste a lot of minutes on that scene, the story is almost coming to an end sef, make every minute count.
Later in the next scene when Nkiru is awake in the hospital to the full glare of the Prince and his American accent swimming through his words, give her a confused look; a mixture of sensuality and innocence, like that of a naughty child who had licked some sugar and was trying to hide it from her mother.
Let it be a love of at first sight thing. Their gazes glued together, she, trying to hide her shy smiles at him, picking god knows what from her nails, like a University freshman who was either innocent or dumb.
End things here, let your viewers figure out what comes next with an end note:
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
NKIRU’S MOTHER’S TREATMENT WAS SPONSORED BY THE PRINCE, SHE STOPPED SELLING PURE WATER AND WENT BACK TO SCHOOL, AND THEY GOT MARRIED AND LIVED IN HAPPINESS WITH THEIR NEW SON, PRINCE EMEKA, WHO CAME AFTER 10 YEARS OF THEIR MARRIAGE.