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INTERVIEW: Sexual Harassment In Nollywood Involves Two People; The Irresponsible And The Desperate ------Nollywood Actor, Tim Ebuka.

Tim Ebuka Obiefule.
Nollywood Actor.
This is one of the most intelligent interviews I have had with any Nollywood actor and I must confess that this very one, IS GOING PLACES.

Tim Ebuka Obiefule, popularly called “Tim Ebuka” for short, is one actor who knows his onions and I must confess that I’ve interviewed a few young actors, but have never had it this good with an actor who is not based even in Lagos, but Abuja.

Very intelligent, sound and loaded with the right answers, though a bit stubborn, but he knows exactly the right words for every question asked, making it very interesting interviewing him.

A graduate of Law from the Madonna University, attended the Nigerian Law School Abuja in 2011 and today, he is not only making himself proud in the Movie industry, but his family too should be proud to have his as a son.

Here, we present to your reading pleasure, this very enlightening and entertaining interview, which would definitely have a part two, for your reading pleasure.

Tim Ebuka.
 Q: Let’s have a brief into who Tim Ebuka is??

ANSWER: He is a simple human being with little complications...I have a deep belief in talent and art, as a tool to positively change our ever evolving society.

Q: What was your upbringing like??

ANSWER: My childhood was fun...was brought up in an extended family in Umudioka Ancient Kingdom in Imo State.

Q: How did acting start for you?

ANSWER: I started acting from childhood...when I and my peers would always gather to recreate a film we had just watched (mostly karate and war films then) with the usual slogan "war start" and our ply-wood made guns...we would roam round the compound shooting with the sound of our mouth and dodging from ourselves as well....but professionally I started my Nollywood career in 2006 though off and on because of school.

Q: How challenging has it been for you as a Nigerian Actor??

ANSWER: Very challenging I must say...I went from feeding myself to being fed. Striving to keep my dream alive was no child's play. Trying to get Producers and Production managers to look my way or even marketers was a nightmare. It got worse when my loved ones saw no sense in it has really been one hectic journey of my life.

Q: With the above mentioned, would you say you have gotten there yet??

ANSWER: Not at dream is too big for me to say I have started living my dreams. But am grateful to God that I’m not where I used to be.

Q: There are lots of stories about actors engaging in paying Producers and Directors to be featured in their movies, especially the upcomers.
How true is this assertion?

ANSWER: There's one virtue I always advice fellow youths to have and that is patience. Most of us don't have it and so we end up looking for short-cuts in every endeavour we find ourselves in, not just in the movie industry alone. Negative and desperate measures are always being taken by desperate people in any industry. I believe in my talent and am very confident because I have the approval of God to pursue my dream and as such I know I don't need to quicken anything, all I need do is exercise patience and at the appointed time I'll shine and……. I am shinning.

Q: Are you by chance confirming the assertion??

ANSWER: In essence am saying, such assertion may be true and may also be false, but it's not impossible and even then it happens when a desperate man meets a greedy man with no integrity. And we all know such calibre of persons do exist anywhere, in any business or industry.

Q: But we are talking specifically Nollywood.
I’m sure you must agree with the fact that production budget of movies, I mean the movies being produced in Asaba, Delta State to be precise are very lean these days, thereby encouraging actors paying their ways through.
Do you agree too?

ANSWER: Specifically that's not a statement of fact and as well I don't agree that movies shot in asaba are lean budget movies. Agreeing with you will mean that Producers depend on Actors to shoot and that is in no way the truth. Asaba has credible producers that lure good investors to produce high, medium and low budget movies alike, as it’s obtainable any other place.

Q: Another issue of concern is the proliferation of productions in the same Asaba where what we know today as HIGHER PURCHASE movies are produced.
An actor is given 10 scripts and paid next to nothing and made to shoot back to back.
How true is this??

ANSWER: Honestly Precious, I don't know what you mean by 'proliferation of productions' and the so called term 'higher purchase movies' am yet to come across such and it's meaning.

But to the part of the question I understand, this is what I have to say. If an actor is given 10 scripts and you're not paid for the first one and you go ahead to complete shoot for the 10, I believe he/she conscientiously agreed to that arrangement.

As a citizen with rights and responsibilities, as an adult that can make decisions for his/her self, nobody can force you into what you don't want to do, a simple yes or  no will suffice where necessary.

Q: How lucrative is being an actor these days??

ANSWER: Still paying bills my brother, as long as the Actor is passionate about this job, you can ask the likes of Ken Erics, Zubby Michael, Stan Nze. It's a gradual process and the pay keeps growing as the Actor rises in fame.

Q: Oh, it’s actually the fame that brings in the money in Nollywood??

ANSWER: It's show and film are show business, feedback from fans defines your worth, how much you impact the audience with your act or skill determines your value in the market. It's a simple math. Thus the saying 'you're only as good as your last job'

Q: I watch movies these days and I see a lot of WATERED-DOWN productions and wonder how we got here. Before now, because of the lack of technological know-how, much wasn’t expected from the industry.
It is expected now that since we are gradually getting there, technology should improve what we do with the movies. Is Nollywood as an industry tapping into the potentials therein??

ANSWER: Well a Good movie is a composition of so many elements of filmmaking and technological equipments is just one of them. It's also an integral part I must confess. In all, Nollywood movies are really making waves all over the world, even though I don't deny some movies are below average but am proud to say we have more great stuff than before. This is so because there are alot of young filmmakers now who are breaking the technical-know-how boundaries you mentioned earlier and in no time we will build a very strong standard that will eventually sieve out mediocre movies. So to answer your question, alot of practitioners are tapping into that potential already.

Q: Sexual harassment is one big issue in Nollywood that almost everyone is said to be involved in it. Is it a really a thriving determining factor for getting movie roles?

ANSWER: How can it be a determining factor in getting roles? Ofcourse not. It's not ideal but then as humans, some people will always deviate from the ideal. I believe in my talent and what I bring to the table, and thus if I make a decision to give out myself in exchange for a role I should be responsible for the consequences, I should blame myself for it. If I am being forced to do that or lose the role, it's still my decision to stand firm on my moral affirmations. At every point you have a choice. What is mine is mine, patience is key.

Q: Tim Ebuka, don’t you think you are being a bit more economical with the real facts here concerning sexual harassment?? There is unemployment everywhere and high level of desperation amongst intending and already existing actors to make it to the top and therefore can do anything to achieve this.

ANSWER: You just said it in your words...the real fact is that sexual harassment involves two people, one is irresponsible and the other is desperate. Both needs to change their ways in their approach to staying gainfully employed in a society experiencing economic downturn.
Tim Ebuka.
Q: Without completely sidelining the achievements of the movie industry through job creation and placements amongst youths, what would you say the industry and its practitioners can do more to improve the craft of acting and make it worth the while of both you the practitioner and we, the viewers??

ANSWER: There's enough room for improvement. Piracy limits the confidence of young filmmaker and in the long run, reduces the quality the viewers if we can somehow garner more means of credible distribution of our films and mass snub of pirated films, we will be hitting a big milestone in Nollywood.

Q: Aside acting, what else do you do for the industry or outside the industry?

ANSWER: For the industry, I manage Productions sometimes asides acting, I write as well though not so often and off the industry I invest my time in doing little business of grooming and selling livestock as well.

Q: I’m sure you may have had some dreams set out for yourself when you decided to come into the Industry. Would you say those dreams are coming through to you as expected and envisaged?

ANSWER: Yes they are coming in bigger than I even dreamt, though I didn't envisage the level of work required but now am better equipped to know that talent is not the only requirement.

Q: Parental resistance is one big issue a lot of your colleagues in both acting and music have had to rattle with at one point or the other when they were entering. Did you face such challenge and if yes, how did you overcome it??

ANSWER: Yes I did, and am still overcoming it today through diplomacy and doing my best to meet up with other responsibilities I have in the home front.

Q: What does it take to be an actor?? People say, fine face, good body for all genders and I wonder sometimes what these two qualities have got to do with someone’s roles interpretation skills and abilities?

Do you subscribe to these?

ANSWER: It takes quality acting skills and passion to be a good actor, outward appearance is only an added spice. I don't subscribe to that. Instead, manners, humility and good virtues gives you a better edge.

Q: How would you rate your performance in the industry in terms of skill, role interpretation, delivery and generally your ability to give life to a written piece by another person?

ANSWER: I can only try to, because I believe every good product speaks for itself. On every set, I deliberately give my best as if it would be my last film, so far I still see room for improvement because I don't want to be ever forgotten in the history of Nollywood.

Q: Aside the issue of piracy which seem to be the major challenge bedeviling the industry today, what other challenges are noticeably evident as an in-house person in the system??

ANSWER: Asides Piracy, I will say locations; most times as a young filmmaker you may not have the wherewithal to have access to good locations or where approval is needed you are not given consideration and the sort. Sometimes getting and moving about gun props and such other delicate materials could be a heavy task for the Props Man. Given the harassment he/she encounters with law enforcement officers.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years??

ANSWER: In the next five years I would be at the very top of my career, a big name to be reckoned with, mentoring young actors, running one of the biggest production houses and my entertainment law outfit.

Q: Who were your role models in the industry before you got in and now?

ANSWER: I have had only one role model in the industry and that has not changed. His name is Uncle Sam Dede. He is a complete actor, well defined in the art. I draw inspiration from some others like John Njama, Ernest obi, Late J.T Tom West, all of them, great actors with depth but Uncle Sam has influenced my journey like no other.

Q: What are your regrets as an actor?? I mean, would you have been more successful if you weren’t in Nollywood and had done something else??

ANSWER: No not a one career man and have never planned to be one from the onset. Any day am fulfilled with my acting career, I will surely go back to my law practice, that's where I will retire finally.

Q: Your answer here tells me that acting is more or less a PASS-TIME for you right??

ANSWER: Wrong...acting is a full blown career for me. Except you're asserting it’s wrong to pursue two careers at different times in one's life time?

Q: What has acting done for you as an individual??

ANSWER: Acting completes me...there's a part of me that would have been dead if I wasn't an actor. It has also opened doors for me in high and low places and I have come to see the world in a whole new perspective, I wouldn't have asked for something more fulfilling.

Q: Another thing bothering a lot of us who are fans of Nollywood is the serious issue of repetition of scripts. As a writer, are script writers these days bereft of ideas or they are simply not innovative?

ANSWER: I don't think any good writer engages in such...but if and where it does happen without any distinct and interesting twists to separate the former then it's really discouraging and I would use this medium to condemn such. And also encourage fans to always speak out on different media platforms to help positively, critique the industry to greatness.

Q: What future do you see for the movie industry in Nigeria?

ANSWER: Wow...the future is so bright, we are in the Renaissance period as I call it. Alot of artistic and modern transition is taking place and what it holds to unfold in the nearest future is just simply amazing and will be worth it.

Q: I watch movies these days and I marvel at the level of disconnect between actors and directors/producers and I feel we, the viewers are being taken for granted. An actor would read LINE BY LINE, the script given to him or her and could feel the disconnect from home. Badly spoken English churned out to us as though we are fools who make do with whatever is given to them.

What solutions would you as one of the budding stars prescribe for this??

ANSWER: In the words of MI "Great artists make fake art, until they realise just who they are" That is not to condone anything. But sometimes for one to be great, we fall so many times. I can only encourage every Actor and most especially Directors to help ourselves get over this problem on set. Spoken English and Delivery are two skills most good actors possess and harnessing of such or managing its poor quality rests squarely on the shoulder of the Director. But we will get better, we just need to always remind ourselves on set and not take it too personal when such matters rear up for correction.

Q: We appreciate you for your time Tim and we wish you well.

ANSWER: Thanks alot Precious.

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