My Ilesa background helped me to reach Hollywood —Bayo Olufemi



United States of America-based actor, filmmaker and lecturer, Bayo Olufemi, is well-known for his character in the USA of America sitcom, ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’. He tells OGHENOVO EGODO-MICHAEL about his experiences within the TV and film business at dwelling and within the Diaspora

What is your favorite side of theatre and performing arts?

They’re all totally different as a result of they provide totally different challenges and experiences. I really like directing greater than performing however whether or not I’m performing or directing, the a part of my mind that works, works in a different way in accordance to what I’m doing. It is vitally onerous to select favourites but when someone places a gun to my head and asks me to select one, I might most likely decide directing.

As a inventive one who needs to be on the fixed look out for concepts, how do you cope with inventive block?

First, at any time when I’m engaged on one thing, I hardly have inventive block. Although, I might need a bit problem attempting to determine one thing out, and that’s as a result of after I get on a undertaking as an actor or director, preparation is essential for me. I at all times love to try this. I principally work on tasks that resonate with me and communicate to my existence as somebody who was born and bred in Nigeria, however then went to Hollywood (United States of America). Ardour is likely one of the issues that drive me. When I’m enthusiastic about one thing, it retains my inventive juice flowing on a regular basis. There is perhaps a section after I’m in a rehearsal and I’m attempting to determine what the blockings are and the right way to get an actor to present me what I’m on the lookout for. (In these circumstances), I fall again on my expertise and take a look at totally different strategies.

(However), after I write, it is a bit more difficult as a result of writing is a little more troublesome. It entails one laying the inspiration to something one desires to do and there are other ways to resolve that downside. I am going again to the core of the story I wish to inform. I consider the story, the issue, the format, the characters, what they need, what they want, and the obstacles of their half. These issues assist me to beat these points.

You have got broad experiences in numerous facets of theatre arts and manufacturing. Did you strive these totally different elements one by one otherwise you took all of them up directly?

I attended the College of Ilorin, Kwara State, the place I studied Performing Arts. I additionally did plenty of performs on the Nationwide Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, and the College of Lagos auditorium. Nevertheless, I at all times knew that I needed to get into movie as a result of I actually liked watching motion pictures whereas rising up. I even did a few Nollywood movies. One of many stars I labored with was Liz Benson. I additionally had the chance to work with Richard Mofe-Damijo on a play titled Obaseki.

Nevertheless, I used to be at all times trying to get into movie and when the chance got here in 1998 to journey to Canada, I jumped at it and went to movie college as a result of there’s a huge distinction between coaching to work on stage and coaching to be a filmmaker. I had the chance to work on plenty of Nollywood movies as a manufacturing assistant and assistant director.  I imagine nothing can train one higher than being on set and doing these items. The extra I did that, the extra I realised it was what I needed to do for the remainder of my life.

How does it really feel working with prime actors in Nigeria and the US?

I’m dwelling my dream. This was the dream I had a few years in the past, even earlier than I ever considered travelling in a foreign country. These experiences have been greater than constructive and rewarding for me. Not many individuals get to do what they love and achieve success at it. I’m blessed that God has allowed me to have the ability to stay my dream. In all of those, I’m simply getting began. However, for this little boy who grew up in Ilesa (Osun State) to have the ability to work in Hollywood on the highest degree each as an actor and director, that could be a achievement of a dream.

It’s typically stated that writers are readers. To this impact, how typically do you learn?

I don’t assume a day passes that I don’t learn. I’m presently an assistant professor on the College of Southern California, USA. I train movie directing there within the college of cinematic artwork. I additionally train performing within the division of dramatic arts. By advantage of me being an mind and academician, I’ve to learn. Lots of people don’t know that about me. They assume I’m simply an actor and director. I’ve been educating for over 15 years. I used to lecture after I was in Toronto too at totally different movie colleges. After concluding movie college in Toronto, I went to USC and did a grasp’s programme then. After graduating from the grasp’s programme, I began educating part-time. I turned (a) full-time (lecturer) when the College of Dramatic Arts and Cinematic Arts gave me an appointment as an assistant professor of observe.

As an actor within the US, have you ever ever witnessed racial discrimination in the middle of doing all of your job?

Let’s simply say I’ve had experiences and I’ll go away it at that. The US has been so good to me, no matter all the unfairness. There are some people I’ve come throughout which were completely obnoxious however I don’t take these issues to coronary heart as a result of I understand how far I travelled to reach within the US. I simply see them as ignorant individuals.

Of all of your productions, which is your favorite?

Each undertaking I work on is my favorite as of the time I’m engaged on it. So, for now, I’ll say Bob Coronary heart Abishola, the sitcom I’m presently on, (is my favorite) as a result of it has offered me plenty of experiences that I’ve not had earlier than. It gave me the chance to direct, to be a cultural guide to the present and likewise be a sequence common as an actor. I’m having a very good time engaged on the present proper now.

As a theatre arts practitioner who has labored in each Nigeria and the US. What enchancment would you wish to see in Nollywood?

First, I give kudos to the practitioners in Nollywood and what they’ve been capable of obtain. I’ve seen the standard of manufacturing enhance tremendously through the years. I feel persons are changing into extra educated. Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless loads to be improved on. The extra educated and skillful our practitioners change into, the higher the standard of movies we’re going to see that may compete with different motion pictures on this planet. I wish to emphasise the necessity for talent and data acquisition. The extra educated we’re, the higher high quality movies we’re going to make.

Being born and bred in Ilesa, Nigeria, how have your cultural experiences helped you develop?

With out the upbringing I had in Ilesa, I don’t assume I might have gone this far. By this, I don’t essentially imply these experiences have been nice in any respect. Going to high school, the academics beat one up daily; even senior college students beat one as effectively. It was disagreeable. Nevertheless, it made me robust and taught me perseverance and likewise to maintain on preventing, no matter all of the obstacles on my path. That was the strong basis I had. There have been plenty of rejections on the way in which however values instilled in me whereas rising up, similar to onerous work, diligence and being enthusiastic about something that I do, have actually helped me; extra particularly, my Nigerian accent. Once I first acquired to Canada, earlier than transferring to the US, it was very troublesome for individuals to grasp me as a result of my accent was very thick. However through the years, it improved. Though I nonetheless communicate with an accent, individuals perceive me clearly. If my college students don’t perceive me within the classroom, there can be an issue. Now, I’m a cultural guide on Bob Hearts Abishola, just because I’m the one one who actually grew up right here of all of the solid members. I used to be in my late twenties after I left (Nigeria). So, at this time I’m translating scripts from Yoruba to English, and my experiences rising up right here assist with that.

Having acted in each motion pictures and TV sequence, which do you discover extra taxing and which do you take pleasure in extra?

I completely benefit from the TV present I’m on proper now. It has lasted for a number of years, so I’ve had time to get acquainted with it.

As a performer, how do you cope with anxiousness?

I barely get anxious now although that used to occur at the start of my profession. Nevertheless, with the expertise I’ve had, nothing shakes me anymore. This confidence comes from a spot of not solely having plenty of expertise within the business, however I additionally perceive that the best manner to deal with anxiousness is to be effectively ready. When one is aware of that one is as ready as doable, one’s confidence shall be sky excessive, and one shall be able to cope with any eventualities.

What motivates you and lets you keep centered?

My ardour and my imaginative and prescient drive me. These are the issues that inspire me and assist me to remain centered, as a result of I’m very particular about what I wish to accomplish in my private {and professional} lives. When challenges come my manner, I simply take into consideration the goals, visions and aspirations I’ve. That is what fuels me and retains me motivated.

Do you will have plans to relocate to Nigeria now or anytime sooner or later?

That will be a categorical no. It isn’t as a result of I don’t wish to be right here however I want to remain linked with the pores of the leisure business in Hollywood, which is the leisure capital of the world. Thus, the extra I learn about what’s going on, the extra I’m in a greater place to serve the business right here and the nation at giant.

Which Nollywood actor or filmmaker would you wish to work with?

All of them, so long as they’re very gifted {and professional}.

You have got been extensively acknowledged to your function in Bob Hearts Abishola. In what manner did that undertaking stretch you creatively?

It was the primary time I used to be going to be on a sitcom. Previous to that present, I’ve at all times had an attraction to intense drama, and for sitcom, it’s totally different by way of the talents required. It actually taught me loads and helped me perceive that style of TV reveals.

What’s your platform, African Theatre Artists Society, about?

I’m the founder and director of African Theatre Artists Society, Los Angeles. We mainly deliver the African theatre to the viewers in Los Angeles. I’m going to be directing a play known as, Wedlock of the gods, in September. I shall be doing this with the College of Dramatic Acts as a result of I’m on the literary committee that chosen all of the performs the scholars are going to be performing in. ATARS is similar factor as Africa theatre ensemble, however proper now, I’m the founder and inventive director and we’re doing the identical factor in Los Angeles that I did in Toronto.

What do you do in your enjoyable time?

It is dependent upon what temper I’m in. I am going to cinemas loads to look at motion pictures, not solely as a result of I’ve to concentrate on what’s occurring within the cinema world, but in addition as a result of I take pleasure in watching motion pictures. I attend basketball and soccer video games as effectively. I additionally go to the theatre loads as a result of that’s what I do and I like it. I really like going to the seashore too.


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