Today in #TheLagosReview

“You be thief, I no be thief”: Chuma Nwokolo accuses film maker of plagiarism.

We have seen our fair share of custody battles in Nigeria and we are not talking about child care sagas.

This fight is the age-old plagiarism contention where two factions war over a piece of creative work to ascertain the rightful owner.

Just idada, winner of the NLNG prize for literature, was dragged to court a while ago over an alleged movie script he wrote for one party, who claimed was illegally appropriated by another.
Jude’s role was to ascertain whether the aforementioned scripts held any similarity, while we held our breath to see if the accused party who had already made a film out of the suspect script was going to be disgraced in court.

Another war is brewing. One between author and lawyer, Chuma Nwokolo who recently came out in a beautifully articulated piece on medium to accuse a movie maker of helping himself to generous portions of his book, and as expected, without consent or mention.

The book in question, is a short story titled ‘Ten Commandments of Nigerian Politics’ and the movie which was released in October 2018 was titled, ‘If I was President.’

The accusation is surprisingly without the expected anger-fueled text that should trail such a revelation, instead it reads like a review, critiquing the work for form and factuality, telling us the story of how he carefully watched the offending movie to make a proper summation of the fact.

Chuma Nwokolo, even in war, is graceful in his rhetorics, teaching the movie maker where he took offending steps and how he could have avoided it altogether.

Words were carelessly lifted from Chuma’s book without regard for intellectual property, the presence of a higher power or Chuma’s state of mind.

It was a fearless attempt to glean glory from another’s war.

The article reads:

*The infringement only got worse. At the 1.05.12 mark of the movie, Elvis declares:

‘Yeah, start abusing yourself in the newspapers… As you are play-fighting in the press, so will the naija mugus be fighting each other on the streets for real.’

words which were copied from page 157 of my book:

‘You must start abusing yourself in the papers…As you play-fight in the newspapers, that is how the Naija mugus on the street will be fighting themselves for real.’

If the accused could read (we expect he can, following the activity of ‘air-lifting’ specific text from another’s book) he would at this point erroneously assume that this well-written missive was just a cry for help.

But Chuma Nwokolo is shrewd.
He leaves the best for last.

Encouraging everyone to go watch the movie he has calmly ousted.
Why? The movie maker might probably need the proceeds from it to fund the upcoming lawsuit.

Demystifying Representation with Fela Oke.

On Saturday the 23rd of November, Boxx Culture, a brand design agency hosted senior talent manager and super agent, Fela Oke in an exclusive chat on talent representation in the Nigerian industry.

If I had to describe Fela Oke in one word, it would have to be ‘unassuming’.
There was no way you could articulate his pedigree from his looks.
Braided hair, gold-laced high-top sneakers and skin-tight slacks wasn’t the typical way talent managers looked.
And so because he wasn’t adorned in the typical designer suit, you would assume little of him, and that would be your first mistake.

Fela Oke is a cross between a high-priced lawyer ( he actually studied law) and a professional wall street lobbyist, with the visage of a street fighter.

He simply describes himself as a fixer.

He summarily took his seat and instantly ended all the expected audience to speaker decorum. No 50 paged, PowerPoint presentation slide or a well-rehearsed, stitched together nugget sequence.

He proceeded to speak from the heart.

With a famous client profile to include Damilola Adegbite, Thin Tall Tony, WizKid, Toke Makinwa, and global talents like John Boyega and Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje, Fela Oke definitely plays in the big leagues.

He is currently with LA-based talent agency CK Talent Management’s division CK FLU3NT, a boutique agency
With offices in China and Australia with interests in music, sports and entertainment.

“Very few people understand the inner workings of representation. In Nigeria, representation is usually first developed from close friendship & most agents and even the clients don’t really know the business or what they want,” he revealed.

He explained in detail the trajectory that led him to the talent management business.

“I entered the industry as a computer sales man on a commission basis.
My dad had cut me my last cheque. It was how he had structured our lives. Once the educational training was done, no more money was coming in.”

Fela isn’t known to pamper or be unrealistically diplomatic and so when asked what kind of talent interests him, he replies:

“A lot of people have a blanket view on how to get where they want to go but at my level, I wouldn’t sign an artist that doesn’t have an idea of their direction.The industry as a whole is subjective though, so people see different things in different people.”

Fela addressed the constant penchant for western validation by Nigerians, that has coloured our storytelling to always include western narratives and in the same breathe warned writers to get their acts right because westerners were beginning to tell our stories for us because we don’t have professionally written scripts.

“Everything I do is to build my network so my talent can have an easy ride.The prior generation worked hard but today’s creative talents are born online and with a mindset to do practically anything to get ahead.”

“Nigeria is hard. It’s a tricky place to live. Everybody is trying to survive and people take advantage of you in the worst possible way,” he replied when asked about his experience since returning back to Nigeria.

He attributed the failure of the Spinlet brand, which he was a part of, to the fact that the idea was way ahead of its time, the technology myopic and erroneously focused on only blackberry devices.

“The Government’s existence is to create an enabling environment for me as a talent manager to function.
People think that the govwrnment owes them something. They don’t,” he replied to a question on government intervention in entertainment.

Fela postulated that the biggest issue with the creative industry is actionable collaboration which has led to the excessive fragmentation in the industry today.

His advice to the industry?

Build pockets of creative collaboration with friends & family, get protective of our own indigenous creations, instead of bashing the creators over the head.

Fela also advised aspiring talent managers and creatives in general to learn to build their networks, acquire knowledge, always be ready and hone their talents while they dream.

His parting words were,
“To be successful today, find something that sets you apart. The little nuances that separate you. As for me, I am building a lean, mean talent machine in the continent.”

QuramoWritersPrize Entry- ‘What Dreams Are Made Of’ by Vivian Onyekachi Ibe

‘What Dreams Are Made Of’ by Vivian Onyekachi Ibe makes the shortlist of 15 for this year’s #QuramoWritersPrize

What just happened? I could not believe my ears. I had just been shot then placed in charge of a very important case. A case that could make or end my career, depending on the outcome. I was tense. It was 3:10 am and sleep was not around the corner. I was pumped up, thanks to the activities of the last 24 hours. This weekend wasn’t like any weekend I had ever experienced. The radio blared cool music as I drove home to catch some sleep. It might be the last sleep I’d get in a while. I tried to concentrate on the music, but it was not working. My mind kept drifting back to the case. How had the son of a governor gotten involved in this kind of situation? What could have happened?

Announcement of the winner for this year’s #QuramoWritersPrize will be made on Sunday, December 15 , 2019 at Qfest 2019.

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