Open Culture: Ayun Halliday: Nigerian Teenagers Are Making Slick Sci Fi Films With Their Smartphones

This is both interesting, and a little worrying. It’s great for these filmmakers. They’re making films. They’re exhibiting their talents, and learning their craft. It’s getting them noticed. How long before someone comes along, and gives them a budget, lets them make something bigger? My worry is, this kind of filmmaking doesn’t automatically translate. How many times has a great passion project been the last we ever see of a filmmaker? I can think of a few more talents, who’s work seemed to suffer when they were given a budget. They didn’t know what to do with the money. It’s as if the energy needed to make the passion project gets lost. The pressures of making no budget films are not the same as making something where you’re responsible to someone else. These young men need professional mentoring if they’re going to progress. But with the right care and guidance, they could be the next Spielberg. Remember he started out making war movies on 8mm film when he was a kid.

A secondary worry for me is the pressure this kind of work puts on those who are trying to be an industry professional. How can anyone make a living from projects like this? It’s not a sustainable model. It’s great that people can make a film with only their enthusiasm. It doesn’t bode well for those who need to make a living from the industry. This model is being repeated around the world. Enthusiastic individuals enticing (and or exploiting) other enthusiastic individuals to work for nothing. I’ve been on the wrong side of that equation once too often. It hurts, and can be hard to recover from.

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