Jim Iyke, the Nollywood actor, has claimed that modern-day actors in Nollywood succeeded with much less effort than their predecessors put in to attain the same feat years ago.
The film star, who started acting in 2001 during the early years of the organisd film industry in Nigeria, made a distinction between new-age actors and others who lived through the “grit and grind” of Nollywood’s inception.
He spoke in an interview with HipTV about “how easy it has become” for budding actors to hit the limelight.
Iyke pointed out that, with social media, anyone who possesses “decent” acting skills can become famous overnight.
“My generation came through the fire, blood, the tears, and sweat. Anybody can be an overnight success on social media these days. If you have any decent acting skills, you become a superstar in no time,” the 45-year-old said.
“It’s not to knock the hustle or the opportunities that avail themselves. I’m just saying that I came from a different time where you had to fight and claw for it. We had to deal with lots of pressure that are not prevalent these days.
“And all for the new cadre of actors, some of them are really breaking their backs to understand how to do this business properly and understand that it’s about the input, not watered-down processes.
“The sweat is important and that’s what forges the character. A lot of people don’t have character these days. People from the old are not necessarily better gifted but they went through it with challenges that forged them.
“Guys that find themselves in-between the two generations are the special ones. Guys of today got it handed down on a platter of gold. Accolades should be given across both divides.”
Much is written about the early days of the development of cinema and the organised film industry in Nigeria.
The Nigerian movie industry first began producing films shot on celluloid after the country’s independence in 1960.
Movie theaters sprung up in Lagos, the country’s largest city, showing a mix of international and homegrown films.
This would later decline momentarily in the 1980s due to currency devaluation and lack of production equipment.
Audiences flocked to a growing video film industry that released films shot on home video directly to the TV.
The industry, at the time, also sold VHS copies in local markets, with video renting becoming commonplace.
The success of video transformed the industry which used to be much more fragmented along ethnic lines.
This ushered in early successes like ‘Living in Bondage’ (1992) and paved the way for modern-day Nollywood.
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