I once came across a movie audition posted online by a popular movie director. As a young upcoming actress, I read it and was moved by the words which read “Come and showcase your talent.” I was so happy. The next day I prepared and went for the audition. I sat patiently, waited for my turn. Some intending actors had gone in and came out with assorted expressions. When it came to my turn, I took a deep breath and exhaled heavily before I went into the audition room.
I stood in front of four auditioners and the movie director. I was given a script and was asked to act out its contents. I did my best given the circumstances and was told to wait outside for the result. At the end of the auditions, my name was called out as one of the successful participants. Subsequently, we were asked to meet with the movie director privately for the final screening.
I went into the office of the movie director and was asked to take a seat. He told me that he was impressed with my performance and gave me the role of the president’s daughter, which happened to be the lead role in the movie script. I was so relieved and thought that was all. Suddenly, he added that I was to pay the sum of N70,000 to get the role, and my eyes popped out wide open in astonishment. “As a student I can’t come up with such amount of money and besides, it’s an audition,” I said.
He suddenly burst out laughing and said “Do you think it’s easy to get up there with just your talent in Nollywood?” He mentioned two girls who were willing to get the same role: one has agreed to pay the sum of N70,000 because she didn’t pass the audition while the other has agreed to go to bed with him because she didn’t make the cut as well. I was asked to choose between the two options and get the role. The director told me to go for the second option since he was sure I won’t be able to pay the money, saying: “If you can’t choose between both options, just forget about the role. I will switch you with any of the two girls and nobody will know you passed the audition. After all, some upcoming actresses would be used and dumped just to get a role and yet they won’t have it.”
In all of these, I was thunderstruck. I stared hatefully wishing I could do something terrible to him. He only smiled and told me not to be upset that it was a sacrifice to pay before one can get up there; so many have paid the prize before getting to where they are now. I had thought it was only the politicians that are corrupt; I had just learnt firsthand that the movie industry is also rotten. Movie directors are equally corrupt, they take bribes and sleep with girls before giving them roles in movies. It doesn’t matter if you are talented or not; they only care about what you have to offer.
I handed the script back to him and said “I won’t let the stumble on my road which is you, be the end of my journey. I will always use that as a motivation to push harder,” and walked out.
There are so many upcoming actresses out there who are talented but have nothing else to offer. My advice is that you keep pushing on and always know that no one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them.
I am a Nigeria and this is my corruption story.