“Entertainment generally has been my passion, but basically I love acting. In secondary school, I was a member of the drama group and became the president.”
He is a chartered marketer but as an actor and producer, he has over 15 movies in his kitty. The boss of Green World Entertainment, Samuel Oniyitan, in this chat narrates his passion for telling unique African stories. He also talks about his latest movie project, Abeke. Enjoy it.
Tell us briefly about yourself?
I am a filmmaker, actor and aspiring model. I studied Marketing at LASPOTECH and have a Masters degree in Marketing from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). I’m a chartered marketer and associate member of Nigerian Institute of Management. I run Green World Entertainment, a production company with a vision to produce outstanding movies. I have featured in more than 15 movies and produced a couple of movies as well. I played the lead role in about five of the movies. I’m also a consumer insight personnel and I consult for local and international companies.
How did you come into acting?
Entertainment generally has been my passion, but basically I love acting. It all started when I was in primary school and I would watch certain TV series which featured Abija. Then on Monday I would tell my friends I was Abija and another one would say he was Fadeyi and we would begin to recite incantations as was used on TV. When I got to primary six, I started getting roles in stage plays in school. It was then I realised that I had passion for acting. When I got to secondary school, I was a member of the drama group and I became the president. After leaving secondary school, I went into acting fully and featured in Super Story but it wasn’t a major role.
The situation in the country was not encouraging and I needed money to feed myself and pay bills. I felt I was wasting time going for rehearsals, especially with the fact that money wasn’t coming in. So, I decided to go to school and vowed that I would only return to the industry when I had money, which I did two years ago. Since I returned to the industry, I have acted in several movies including Impulse, The Snatch, in which I played the lead role, Adura, Ase, My PA, and Desert, among others.
Your new movie, Abeke is so endearing to you. Why?
Abeke is so endearing to me because it’s my first major work. I got the story and precise cast in a dream. One day, I was lying on the couch while listening to a Yoruba song relating to Abeke and slept off. In the dream, I saw what the movie was about including actors who played the roles. When I woke up, I quickly wrote down all I had seen. I then called my project coordinator, Moses Adeyemo and told him about the revelation. He advised me to narrate what I had seen in the dream to a script writer, which I did. When he was done writing, everyone who read it wanted to be a part of it, because it was unique, strange and a potential award winning movie. Dreams are powerful and being privileged to have seen the movie through dream makes it special to me.
What’s Abeke all about?
Abeke revolves around a love triangle that takes us back to the late ‘70s. There’s a beautiful lady called Abeke who comes from a wealthy family. Her father is a cocoa merchant. There are two men in the picture: Fayele, a handsome, humble but poor primary school teacher who falls in love with Abeke and then Aderoju, the handsome, rich and arrogant timber seller, who also loves Abeke. However, Abeke falls in love with Fayele, the poor teacher but another lady is also in love with him.
Abeke is a blend of romance, drama and tragicomedy. We’ve spent about N15 million on the film and we’re still incurring more expenses. We’ll be shooting the movie using Red Dragon camera. Abeke, which
is 80% in English and 20% Yoruba, parades top notch cast such as Wole Ojo, Kehinde Bankole, Toyin Abraham Aimakhu, Akin Lewis, Yinka Quadri, Peter Fatomilola, and my humble self.
How do you cope combining acting, producing and consultancy?
It has not been easy combining the three because one is bound to suffer for the other. Now, I’m busy with the production of Abeke and once it is over, my acting schedule, which has been fixed till the end of February 2019, will kick off. This makes it difficult to find time for consultancy but thankfully I have a team I work with.
Which would you say is your strength, acting or producing?
What are your plans to release Abeke in the cinemas?
We have plans to show Abeke in and outside Nigeria next year. We are also working on having it on Netflix as well as take it to local and international film festivals.
What’s next after Abeke?
We have a soap scheduled for early next year entitled, Tender Lines, and after that is another beautiful story entitled, The Journey.
As a handsome man, how do you cope with your female admirers?
I appreciate the women folk so much including my female admirers. I’m a very disciplined and focused person because I know where I’m heading to. Yes, I receive all sorts of messages from women especially on Instagram; some are really shocking but I am always smart with my response.
What do you think will make you rank tops as an actor and producer in no distant future?
I’m a good actor and can take on Yoruba and English speaking roles and execute them brilliantly. As a producer, I have zero tolerance for less quality movies. I don’t compromise quality because I believe what is worth doing is worth doing well. I remember when I wanted to produce a Yoruba movie, my project coordinator said N600,000 would get it done. However, because I wanted something a lot better, we produced it for N1.6 million. In fact, I have a great team of sound professionals and we have passion for telling our unique African stories. I believe we’ll get there, it’s just a matter of time.