Production Manager of Wale Adenuga Production (WAP) Lekan Ayinde has been in the industry for over three decades. He speaks to Dupe Ayinla-Olasunkanmi on the set of Nnenna and Friends family series on the challenges faced by behind-the-scenes crew.
Having been in the industry for over three decades, tell us about cast management?
I will say it is a divine thing; all this is made possible by His grace. As a manager, you just have to be submissive and calm. This is because you are dealing with a lot of different people and if you do not have endurance, there is no way you can cope and make a success of that production.
When they are up, you come down and when they are down, you come up. You just have to be in the middle to make sure that things are balanced. It is not an easy task. But you have to learn how to manage.
We only get to hear about the celebrities. How have those behind the camera fare?
We made the stars that people see and talk about. But nobody knows us. Even those behind the camera do not celebrate each other, we only celebrate the actors. Why? Because we do not value ourselves, that is the way I see it.
I must be sincere with you, if we value ourselves, we should be able to celebrate what the crew does and their achievements too.
Although there is a gradual process now where some behind-the-scenes crew are given awards, such as ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best Script Writer’, and others. But I am yet to see an award given to a Production manager.
The best film that is nominated at awards, is it the director that managed it? It is not even the producer that manages it too, but the Production manager, but you can never see an award up for such person.
Thank God, some of our crew, such as ‘Best Cinematographer’, ‘Best Director’, are presently nominated and given awards, but nothing yet on the Production manager, who is the key to any production.
Have there been any effort to raise a voice to this situation?
Nothing like that, some years back I wanted to introduce something that will be a form of appreciating behind-the-scene members, but things did not work out as planned because those that were supposed to come in as sponsors did not believe in it. They would rather go for the stars; they do not see us, so they believe we are not saleable.
We sell this so-called actors. It is like seeing a house that is well built and beautiful to the eyes; people will not ask about the bricklayer, but appreciate the owner of the house for having such a beautiful design.
Looking back, how will you rate the state of the movie industry presently?
I started from scratch, following different people from stage plays right from my primary school days. It is a great improvement we have in the industry at the moment because a lot of things have really changed.
Before the introduction of these moving things, it was only stage and rehearsal. But in everything there is what is called development that is what has taken place presently. Digital, that is the word; from scripting, acting, recording, I think we have improved in the industry a great deal.
Have you always been a staff of WAP?
No, I have worked with different companies. I also have my own production outfit too. I have directed, produced and managed movies too. I joined WAP some years back around 2006, after I left Royal Root.
The last I did with Royal Roots was Edge of Paradise, I happened to be the Production manager then and we did four seasons; it was the second work of Africa Magic in Nigeria, after Doctor’s Quarters.
Which movie was the best of your production?
One adage says ‘you are as good, as your last job’. Presently, I will take Knockout. I have shot many films and series, but Knockout, which is a comedy movie, gave me a lot of challenges; it is a movie made up of over 40 celebrities.
Having to manage them, talking to producer, casting, getting them on set and adding other activities was very challenging, but it was worth it. But I thank God, that I was able to pull it off. But it is my best job so far.