I have been trying to understand the reason why our visual effects / CGI industry is still in its infancy despite the progress and strides Nolly-wood as an industry is making quality wise.
In terms of quality, we are still far behind our peers in the international space.
Over the years several Visual effects and CGI professionals in Nigeria with so much potential, are no longer active in the field or more like have taken a break. They have moved on to focus on directing drama, TV Soaps, making documentaries or becoming good DP’s for music videos.
I have come to realize that Talent, Cost, and Market are serious factors holding us back.
Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is a very technically advanced art, the barriers to entry skill wise are very high. Thanks to my recent journey into Hollywood that granted me the opportunity of interacting with pros in the profession, I have to come to realize that even those I call masters do not cut in the international scene.
It is so bad that if some of our pros are to function in the international scene they would have to start from been interns.
The level of skills gap plaguing the industry is very high. Finding quality talent to recruit on top projects, is like finding a pin in a haystack. We have talents in quantity but lacking in quality.
What this means is that for directors and Visual Effect producers like me looking for top quality talent to build a team or an effects studio, you have your work cut out for you. You do not only have to battle with very low Visual effects budget, you also have to battle with finding the right people to hire.
Many times I receive emails from artists wanting to work with me, It is very clear they are passionate but what is even more glaring is the immense skill deficit majority of them face.
We all know that the growth of any industry is highly dependent on the quality of talent available on the ground to grow that industry. An industry is as good as the people functioning in it.
The question now is how do we fix the talent gaps, What sustainable method can we use to fix this.
I think collaboration, mentorship and creation of new learning opportunities will go a long way in fixing these talent gaps.
Collaboration in the sense that it is high time we artist come to realize that the world is a global village and the fact that technology has made it easy for people from different parts of the world to work together and do awesome things together is a huge potential to tap into.
Iron Sharpens Iron they say … It is high time Nigerian artist start tapping into what I call the global brain aka the global Vfx workforce and look for ways to work and collaborate with artists and companies operating at very high stands wherever they are in the globe … doing so exposes one to global best practices and expertise.
Also, local collaboration is important, Artist should avoid living in silos, and should constantly look for ways to work actively together to build each other up.
Most importantly it would do us a whole lot good if more experienced artist take up protégés, younger artist with passion, Show them the way, and enable them grow faster than we did, by doing whatever we the can, to help young artist succeed.
There is also need for significant investment by different stakeholders in the industry to build centers of learning and power initiatives that are geared towards increasing the competence and skills of artists in the industry.
I like the good work Behance is doing in Lagos via their Behance Review meetups. I also commend Africa International Film Festival – Afriff talent development initiatives, whereby they organize training and seminars for the young filmmaker, during their film festival. I would be very please if they can extend their Courses offering to cover Visual effects and CGI-related Fields, It would be a huge blessing to the often neglected CGI industry.
Project act Nollywood is doing a good job as well give their immense strides to grow the industry, I hope the initiative grows and also if possible create a special fund targeted at the Improving the CGI industry.
The likes of Animation West Africa (AWA) and Comic Panel are all doing an awesome job in this light more grace to you all.
Moreover in my little way, If you are reading this article and you are between the age of 14-24 or know someone who is within this age and that is very interested in a career in CGI and visual effects /postproduction or please reach out to me, I would like to help you on your journey the little I can .
If you are a 2d/3d artist doing your own stuff or a professional CGI studio please send me a message with your demo reel. I am constantly looking for people and studios I can connect to opportunities.
VFX COST & CURRENT MARKET REALITIES
The next challenge facing our industry is High Cost of vfx and accompanying Low return on investment caused by the current business model the industry runs on.
Visual effect is an expensive venture, the cost of one visual effects shot can equal the cost of making a full movie in Nigeria.
The global average cost for a visual effects shot is $42,000 (forty thousand dollars) or N 8,400,000 (Eight million, four hundred thousand naira) that is way more than the average full budget of most Nigeria films.
In most films, you may have up to 1,000 Vfx shots in it. Doing the math, it’s very clear why Vfx, is a very risky venture. Making a high budget movie in Nigeria is a very risky, give how low the return on investment currently is.
Let’s put this in context … According to Silver bird Cinemas, Nigeria’s highest grossing film, 30 Days in Atlanta made around N 132 million naira that is just $660,000. The average cost of making a good visual effects film starts from $10,000,000 that is 2 billion naira.
What this means is going by facts and the current market realities facing the industry, It is clear that the market is not in the favor of big budget films. it is increasingly clear that the possibility of getting your money back is very low give the current business model the industry current runs on.
The current model or methods of distribution favors drama, other genres that can be executed with a very low budget and in turn can command good ROI for investors.
To fix this we have to
- Build a new model for film distribution, that greatly cuts down the effect of piracy and makes it easy for filmmakers to reap the direct benefit of their hard work.
- Filmmaker and producers will have to start thinking of global markets when making films, think local and global should be our new motto. Nigerians should start making films for the world, that way they can tap into the global market of paying consumers.
- We would also have to be very innovative in regards to how we go about raising funding for films and also how we generate revenue, Like factoring in Tax incentives when choosing locations, creating Merchandising and product placement opportunities, and building partnerships and getting sponsorship from brands and organizations that connect to our projects goals among many other things.