As Kanayo Condemns Mushrooming Of You Tube Short Films

Feature Article As Kanayo Condemns Mushrooming Of You Tube Short Films

Veteran Nollywood actor Kanayo O. Kanayo has expressed his concerns about the impact of YouTube on Nollywood in a video he shared on Instagram. He condemned the trend of one-day shoots and the high fees charged by actors for such shoots, which he believes are unsustainable and could be harmful to their health. Kanayo criticized this practice on April 19, 2024, highlighting the potential negative effects on the industry’s long-term success. He also predicted that YouTube might not last long as a platform in Nigeria due to the way it’s being used. His comments were aimed at urging actors to reconsider their approach and prioritize the industry’s longevity over short-term financial gains.

However, in this writer’s opinion, the comparison between Nollywood films and films shot on YouTube can be quite subjective, as it depends on individual preferences and criteria for what makes a film “better.” In fact, there are some factors that might contribute to the perception that Nollywood films are superior, and such factors have been identified in this context.

First among the factors is production quality as Nollywood films often have higher production values compared to many films shot for YouTube. They typically involve professional crews, actors, and equipment, which has resulted in a more polished final products as evidenced in not a few Nollywood films that were watched across homes in the country.

Similar to the foregoing is storytelling. Without sounding exaggerative in this context, it is germane to opine that Nollywood has a reputation for storytelling that resonates with its audience, focusing on local Nigerian stories and cultural themes that have a broad appeal across Africa and the diaspora.

Still in a similar nexus is the industry recognition which Nollywood is characterized with. In fact, Nollywood is recognized as the second-largest film industry in the world by volume, and has international recognition, with its own award ceremonies like the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

In fact, clearly distinguishing typical Nollywood films from You Tube is its mode of distribution. While YouTube is a platform that allows for wide distribution, Nollywood films are distributed through cinemas, television, and on DVD/VCD as well, which earned it a certain prestige and formality to the viewing experience.

Regarding audience factor, Nollywood films cater to a wide audience, not just in Nigeria but across the continent and beyond, reflecting social, cultural, political, and economic narratives that many viewers find engaging and relevant.

At this juncture, it is important to note that YouTube also hosts a variety of content, including Nollywood films, and the platform has made it possible for independent filmmakers to reach audiences they might not have been able to otherwise. However, the preference for Nollywood over YouTube-shot films could be due to the reasons mentioned above, but it ultimately comes down to personal taste and the type of content one is looking for.

Given the foregoing view, it is not surprising that Kanayo’s warnings to his colleagues for unethical practices, particularly among YouTube filmmakers who opt for single-day shoots due to the amount of money involved, even as he has raised alarms about the dangers of the one-day shoot trend, which can be unsustainable and harmful to the health of actors came at a better time than now.

In fact, Kanayo lamented the decline in professionalism in the industry, as actors prioritize short-term financial gains over sustainable practices, and went further to flay the quality of content by saying that the focus on rapid production for YouTube can compromise the quality of content, as actors are overburdened with excessive scenes to complete in a short timeframe.

Ostensibly being mindful of the long-term success that Nollywood is characterize with, he warns that the current approach to YouTube content creation might not prioritize the long-term success of Nollywood, even as he said it is not sustainable. He warned that the practice of demanding exorbitant fees for one-day shoots is seen as not sustainable, potentially leading to a decline in the health of actors and the quality of the industry as a whole.

Without a doubt, Kanayo’s views reflect a concern for the future of Nollywood and the well-being of its actors, urging a reconsideration of current practices to ensure the industry’s longevity and integrity.

To further reverberate Kanayo’s view in this context, it is not a misnomer to lament that gone are the days of Nollywood in Nigeria compared to today's You Tube shorts films. This is as Nollywood has experienced significant changes over the years.

Traditionally, Nollywood was known for producing hundreds of movies annually, often characterized by their longer formats and dramatic storytelling that resonated with a wide audience. These films were a staple of Nigerian and African entertainment, reflecting the diverse cultures and languages of Nigeria.

However, with the advent of digital platforms and the rise of short-form content, there has been a shift in how audiences consume media. YouTube Shorts, for example, has become increasingly popular in Nigeria, providing creators with tools to produce and share brief video clips. This format caters to the modern viewer’s preference for quick, accessible, and often mobile-friendly content.

While both modes respectively have peculiar advantages and disadvantages, it is expedient in this context to opine that the impact of YouTube Shorts and similar platforms on Nollywood is multifaceted.

For instance, short films on platforms like YouTube can reach a global audience quickly and often with less production cost, challenging the traditional movie distribution model, even as its the ease of creating content for YouTube Shorts has democratized filmmaking, allowing a broader range of voices and stories to be told, which might not have been possible in the traditional Nollywood industry.

In a similar vein, while Nollywood films have been instrumental in portraying Nigerian stories, YouTube Shorts provides a platform for even more diverse and nuanced narratives, often from younger or previously underrepresented creators.

Given the foregoing, one may not be wrong to assert that this does not necessarily mean that Nollywood is gone; rather, it is evolving. Traditional Nollywood films still have a place, but they now share the stage with a new form of storytelling that aligns with the fast-paced digital age. In fact, both mediums continue to contribute to the rich tapestry of Nigerian cinema, each with its unique strengths and appeal.