With all these factors on ground, the first Nigerian home video of mass recognition and acceptance was actually made in 1991 (Living in Bondage). This was just like the TV drama (with the same production quality) but this time around mass produced for VHS tapes to be sold in the market.

It was a phenomenal success. Directors, producers and actors within the television genre soon became the hub on which this industry was to thrive. For the creative people, it was a welcome relief to express their creativity without the bureaucratic rigidity of working in a government establishment like a TV station which was prevalent.

Film after film were churned out. It became a somewhat welcome development for the audience who were tired of watching antiquated television sitcoms and programmes on television. It was new, it was entertaining, and it was also a source for them to know more about what was going on in the country by the nature of the diverse stories these films treated. It is often said that going through the annals of the story lines of Nollywood movies, it could rightly be said to be a tapestry of our socio-economic and political history. A history of Nigeria.

Let me point out that a lot of the films we shoot are borne out of sensationalism and what happens around us. That was how it started and that is the way it still is…till now. Though a lot of changes has come in, the stories made are never too far away from the people. The first home video had a story of how a man uses his wife for money ritual and is haunted by this dead wife. This story idea was very prevalent at that time in the country. No day passed by without one being confronted by news and images of decapitated people, with body parts removed for ritual, etc. Besides, there was too much impatience amongst a lot of youths back then to get rich quick by all means. This definitely meant they were ready to do ANYTHING to make money. There were instances where people used their mothers, fathers, best friends, etc for these rituals. Many films shot at this time, such as ‘Blood Money’, ‘Evil Men’, ‘Oracle’, etc had the theme of this get-rich-quick syndrome. This was the beginning or the foundation of what we now know as Nollywood.

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This issue of ‘social reality’ has become a recurring decimal in the Nigerian Film Industry till date. We see a reflection of this same phenomenon these days as well with ’Yahoo-Yahoo’ (fraud)-themed stories.

This growth would not have been possible if these producers did not find a way of pegging production costs at a minimal. A cost which could be easy to recoup in the local market and creating a distribution network that by-passes the limitations of a feeble network of cinema houses. This was primarily the reason why SHOOTING films on celluloid died a natural death. Besides, a lot of Nigerians now had VCRs and it was easier for them to buy a home video cassette and slot it in…when the television stations had nothing new to offer on TV. Slowly but gradually, these videos soon outgrew their immediate market (Nigeria) and started making in-roads into other African states and beyond. There was no stopping this new popular culture.

…To be continued