In the last few years, in addition to being a filmmaker, I have worked in the capacity of being a pro bono consultant for many young filmmakers. I have noticed a regular pattern that deserves to be talked about. A filmmaker consults you for guidance as he is about to shoot a film. His script is ready. You ask for a meeting. Mid-way into the discussion, you notice some obvious loopholes in the script, pre-production process or even in the selection of crew members. You give your candid advice. Perhaps, that he makes some adjustments in the script, increase the time for the pre-production or even the shooting schedule. You notice his hesitancy in effecting these changes. The next thing, he vanishes and appears few weeks later. This time he has shot the film (perhaps with many dropped scenes), the story no longer adds up, the crew members couldn’t achieve what he planned to do or he became stranded mid-way into the shoot. This time, he is devastated and feels he has made a big mistake of a film. This happens again to another young filmmaker over and over again. There seems not to be an end to this recurring phenomenon.

As creatives, one of our biggest assets is stubbornness. It takes a degree stubbornness to make a film. To use your hard-earned savings or house rent to put together a crew to make a work of fiction with no assurance of financial returns. It takes a huge dose of stubbornness to believe in your creative work, but this same stubbornness has also become our power, and pain.

I wish I was not guilty of the same too. In my few years as a filmmaker, I have made some filmmaking decisions against the wise counsel of some senior colleagues that I have regretted. I have stubbornly refused to postpone shoot because I felt some actors won’t be available when I do, only to get to location and find out how unprepared I was. I have overshot my budget to bring in some big-name actors only to be financially injured later because of some excessive demands. I can go on and on. With these scars, I am qualified to some extent to point youngsters to the right direction. However, I see many replicating the same mistakes.

I have also benefitted from stubbornness countlessly. It took stubbornness for me to make my first few short films. It was a stubborn decision to shoot ‘Edeleyo’, my multiple award-winning short film, with a budget that could have made a feature film. My decision to pay actors more than the usual fees and insist on welfare where the youngest P.A. and the biggest actor on my set are served the same quality of food and bottled water as against pure water sachets are also products of stubbornness. This, however, has increased the bonding that is evident in my film set.

To get the blessings present in stubbornness, it is good that a filmmaker consults widely and takes decisions based on superior argument. Filmmaking is a collaborative process, so a filmmaker and every creative should take decisions not just based on emotions but backed by information.

It is safe to say that creatives are stubborn creatures, but what good is stubbornness if it makes us retrogress in our art?

*Osaigbovo writes from a Suya spot in Ogbelaka.