Casting Call Africa, by Hilda Dokubo, is a Technology Company that Wants to Make it Easier for Film Producers to Find and Hire Cast and Crew

Nollywood is Nigeria’s Film Industry. Since its establishment, Nollywood has had a great impact on the culture and economy of Nigeria. The industry has been through two eras – the Golden Age which witnessed the production and distribution of films in the form of peephole viewing of motion picture devices, and a video film era which saw the use of video cameras and cassettes for production and distribution respectively.

A boom in film production, which was kickstarted by the release of Kenneth Nnebue’s direct-to-video film, Living in Bondage in 1992, was witnessed in the second era. Ever since, the film industry has gone on to achieve remarkable feats including becoming the fastest growing entertainment and media market in the world, according to a 2018 PwC report.

It is no news that Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world in terms of content production. In Nollywood, productions hold everyday and they cost a lot of money. Ask anybody in the industry who makes films and they would tell you this.

For producers, scouting for good locations, equipment, actors and technicians can be problematic. Also, a lot of things could easily go wrong before, during, or after productions. When this happens, the producer has to decide between halting productions until the issues are resolved, or going ahead to complete what would most likely become a poor production. I am sure you could probably guess correctly what option a Nollywood producer, with a limited time frame and low budget to produce a film, would go with.

However, what if producers never had to worry about this problem anymore? What if there was a place where film producers could find all the resources that are required to make a film? Did I hear you say a one stop shop to acquire film human production resources?…you got that right! Casting Call Africa wants to screen and supply producers ready-to-use human production resources, saving them stress, time, and money at a very low cost.

Casting Call Africa is an innovative company that is looking to cause a disruption in the entertainment industry by changing the way in which producers source for human production resources. Through its marketplace, film directors would be able to search for and hire professionally-trained actors, acting professionals could request to be managed by an agency, and technical jobs could be advertised with professionals able to bid for them.

This would provide great benefits for all the stakeholders involved in a film production from the lead actors or extras who would be discovered for roles without having to “see” the producer, to the producer who would be able to rent props, costumes, and locations as well as hire equipment from reliable service providers. It would mean money and time saved and improved quality of Nollywood productions.

How Casting Call Africa Works
– On Casting Call Africa, aspiring actors as young as 10yrs old can have a video recording of their audition, between 1-3 minutes of length, submitted from the comfort of their homes
– The video recording can then be viewed by the judges who make a decision on their performance
If the audition is satisfactory, the aspiring actor is invited by Casting Call Africa after which they are mentored and are added to the database
– If the audition is not satisfactory but promising, a recommendation is made for the aspiring actors to apply for an acting course in a partner training institute called The Centre for Creative Arts Education (CREATE)
– CREATE is a registered institution that was set up to train young people for professional roles in acting
– The school runs the Andela model, as they train aspiring actors to meet the demand in the film industry for professional and skilled actors
– During the training, students are taught the rudiments of screen acting which prepares them for professional acting jobs
– After training and when the students get acting jobs, CREATE earns a commission from the actors until such a time when their contract expires
– Also on the Casting Call Africa platform, people that are dedicated to providing services for film productions can register. These include property owners, food vendors, equipment suppliers, technicians, creatives and costume shop owners.

Veteran actor, Hilda Dokubo is the founder of Casting Call Africa

The founder of Casting Call Africa and veteran actor, Hilda Dokubo, believes that Casting Call Africa would “open up the market and open up employability. So you’re going to have more people who can be employed so the market becomes bigger and larger.”

Speaking on possible partnerships, she noted that “we can partner with parents to raise children so that we have professionally-trained kid actors from the age of 3-12, and then have parents still partner with us to train the teenagers. We can work with Teen Africa in ensuring that they get professionally-trained presenters and actors. We can partner with all the producers – the Producers’ Guild, the Actors’ Guild – so that anytime they want to run an audition we can cast for them, or we can supply them ready-trained actors and this can go from here to anywhere else in the world.”

A 2017 PwC report on Nollywood highlighted capacity building, through training institutes and mentorships from veteran entertainers, as an initiative that can prepare Nollywood for the future. It is therefore exciting to see a business trying to fill this gap.

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Fortune Chuku

Fortune Chuku is an IT Consultant and Researcher. He is passionate about education and entrepreneurship.