By Chukwuma Ajakah
English students of the Lagos State University, Ojo, on Tuesday, July 30, attended a lecture series on the career prospects available in Creative Writing and Film Making. The event held at the Central Language Lab of the university was organized by the English Department to among other things, enlighten the students on the opportunities they can explore to harness their latent potentials in writing and the relevance of creative writing in the society.
Explaining the purpose of the “Lecture Series”, the Head of Department, Dr Rachel Bello, remarked: “The students need to know that creative writing is not for angels neither is film making for people with extraordinary skills. We have to demystify these for them to cue in. We brought the resource person to teach our students the nitty-gritty of creative writing and film making as well as the need to link such works with society because it is not enough to know how to write, the writing must be relevant in solving societal problems”.
The guest lecturer, Joseph Edoki, author of the novel, The African Dream implored the students to see creative writing and film making as veritable tools for socio-cultural, economic and political transformation. Guiding the audience through the rudiments of the writing-acting profession, Edoki explained that creative writing can be effectively deployed to effect desired changes in a society like Nigeria where every other approach seems to have failed.
“Literature,” he said, “can propel an individual into doing great things and bringing a change to the society. Such change might be emotional. It may not involve infrastructure. It may be just happiness in place of sadness.” With copious references to the novel, the author revealed that writing can trigger a revolution to reposition any country. According to him, being educated is not enough, “Most of the problems in the country are caused by leaders who supposedly have sufficient education and are aware of the prevailing deplorable conditions the masses face daily.” Edoki believes that the creative writer can work in conjunction with film producers to adapt prose fiction and plays into films for a viewing audience. This, he stressed, will attract viewers who may have no interest in reading the written work. Edoki explains that the novel was adapted into an educational film “to expose the symptoms of a sick society and show how good governance and responsible citizenship could be used to bring about healing in the land.”
Academics that attended the Lecture Series include Prof. Gabriel Osoba, Dr. Steve Ogunpitan, Dr. Pius Akhimien, Dr. A. Ladele and Dr. Patrick Oloko of University of Lagos.
The audience watched film clips of The African Dream featuring popular Nigerian stars like Akin Lewis and Tina Mba veterans in the industry. Edoki pointed out that such stars are needed to attract the target audience and subsequently convey the creative writer’s intended message. “People feel characters more when they watch. There is need to combine creative writing and film making,” he said, adding that most viewers prefer films that star popular characters, but shun those that feature amateurs.” Prof. Gabriel A. Osoba, a lecturer in Stylistics commended the guest lecturer for his ingenuity in the creative adaptation of the novel into a film.