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Ramsey Nouah gives the keys to success in Nollywood

Ramsey Nouah gives the keys to success in Nollywood
March 20
17:12 2015

One of Nigeria’s most prominent actors, Ramsey Nouah, on Wednesday held an interactive session with aspiring film makers, speaking on his Nollywood journey and the workings of the industry.

Nouah spoke passionately about what it takes to become a successful actor in Nigeria. According to the actor’s insight, there are three major aspects of promoting the acting trade; they are glamour, responsibility and passion.


He explained that because Nigeria is known to be one of the largest film industries in the world, people in other parts of Africa expect a certain level of glamour.

“That expectation is mandatory for you becoming a successful actor, because that is what people expect of you. You are addressed by the way you are dressed.


“If you come around not looking glamorous, your brand diminishes based on people’s perception that you are not doing well. The glamour enhances the value of what you get from the industry.”

He admitted that there were difficulties in keeping up such appearances and attaining that level of glamour expected because the industry is not as lucrative as outsiders imagine.

“The reason it is difficult, despite the size of the film industry, is that there are no proper structures that ensure that the filmmakers exploit the full potential of their intellectual property. Thankfully, (visionary) entrepreneurs have started to see potential in Nollywood and build the right distribution infrastructure to augment what was available,” he said.


“Now you have IROKO TV that distributes movies via the Internet around the world. We now also have the cable television aspect where M-Net started to also show Nollywood movies, which has gotten them a huge followership. Ironically, the vital part of this infrastructure – the cinemas – was not motivated by the potential in Nollywood movies. The cinemas were being established in Nigeria by entrepreneurs to bring Hollywood movie culture to Nigeria. Then Nollywood industry now saw the potential of the cinema culture that Nigerians welcomed, thanks to these entrepreneurs and Hollywood.

“As we are today, the saving grace for the Nigerian film industry today is the cinema. The DVD market is being eaten deep by piracy. The other channels, which are the Internet and cable TV market, don’t pay very well as a standalone source of income.”


Ramsey’s coverage of responsibility talked about the actor’s responsibility to his/her audience both on and off-screen, the responsibility on-screen involving delivering on the job you are paid for, which is to entertain your audience, and responsibility off-screen considering the actors character.

“Your responsibility attracts endorsements and involves your character and image as a role model. As a successful actor, you have a voice that you need to project in a responsible way.”



In true style of a passionate actor, Ramsey employed some techniques of the acting trade to emphasse the importance of passion. Previously addressing the crowd from a sitting position, he stood up to talk like an actor delivering a theatrical monologue.

“The other two factors are things that you do for other people. The passion now is about you. It’s a personal thing. Art is all about passion. You need passion to be a successful actor and to have longevity in Nollywood. Don’t go into acting for the cash, do it for the passion”

“Back then, when I was in Fortunes, I was paid just N80 per episode and they paid only for three months. The remaining nine months of the money, I haven’t seen till this day. So for one year of my life of Fortunes, I made only N240.

“As you proceed in the acting or film making you’ll realise it is only the passion that can take you through the struggles until you are successful. The passion comes first before you start thinking of the business side of things, which involves endorsements, appearances, and other avenues.”


Ramsey Nouah started his acting career in 1990 on TV soap opera Fortunes. His first movie feature was in 1996 titled Silent Night, where he collaborated with other greats such as Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw and Segun Arinze.

In 2010, Nouah won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in one of Nigeria’s biggest productions The Figurine. He also featured in the highest grossing box office movie in Nigeria 30 days in Atlanta.



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