Filmmaking, especially a serial storyline, can be a project with lots of stress -even for established stars. But Bisola Akintomide -a final year student of the Mass Communication department at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko- blazed the trail with a one-of-a-kind interesting series on youth lifestyle titled ‘Diaries of Gen Z’. After releasing the third episode recently, she disclosed her experience, challenges and her intentions in the filmmaking industry in an exclusive interview with AAUA INSIDER.
Q: Can we meet you?
A: I am Bisola Akintomide, a final-year student from the department of Mass Communication at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State.
Q: What is the series – Diary of Gen Z- all about?
A: The Diary of Gen Z is all about us (the Gen Z, youths of this generation). How we are often misunderstood and tied to the barrier of doing what our parents want us to do. How we relate with our friends, the things we do, our actions, and our ability to stand up for ourselves and others.
The video (in series) talks about different teenagers in a JAMB tutorial centre preparing to go to university. This part is the reformative stage in every teenager’s life because you meet people from different schools altogether in a tutorial centre and different characters. How do we relate to them? What do we do and the effect of the friendship we keep with them? So, this series talks about our generation, how we relate with people and the things that affect us. Also, how the older generation understands us.
Q: ‘The diary of Gen Z’ movie is one of its kind. What prompted you into it?
A: What prompted me into the story was the fact that I’m a YouTuber and a writer. I’m majorly into fiction writing. But I have an attachment to television. I feel like visuals tell stories better and more vividly to people than reading a book. Also, people will rather watch a movie than read a book(this generation).
Also, I need to pass a message across to this generation concerning things we are going through. All the things we are passing through in this generation, the older generation has passed through it. But there is a way we interpret it now that is different from the way they interpret it then. There are so many things that confuse us and our morals in society. There are things we feel are correct but they are not right. I need to tell them how things are.
So, since filmmaking and scripting are something I’m good at, I decided to script them. Filmmaking is a career I’m taking up after school, so doing this is just throwing myself out to the world. Preparing myself for the bigger picture. It’s just a stepping stone to the bigger picture.
Q: Who are your target audience for this movie?
A: My target audience is Gen Z and mainly teenagers. Generally, everybody. The Gen Z parents, the young adults, and the teenagers.
Q: This kind of work is challenging. Can you tell us about the challenges encountered and how you overcame them?
A: Challenging is an understatement. I faced so many challenges on so many levels. One of my major challenges is the fact that I am not a professional yet. Though I know a lot about filmmaking I’m not a professional because I don’t have the experience. I once did a short 15 minutes movie on my Youtube channel last year; that was my first experience. My next experience was when I performed the role of an actress.
Though I might have the experience of an actress but not a filmmaker. So that’s my major challenge. There were many flops and setbacks but thank God I was able to pull through. There is one thing I’m very good at, I’m always prepared for anything. I always have a contingency plan.
I started developing the idea of making this movie last year when I got back from SIWES. I met with two people that I shared my idea and they encouraged me to start. Along the line, they were with me through the production.
So as I’ve said earlier, I’m always prepared. If there is any flop, I’ll always come up with a plan B. I’m not the kind of person that waits for motivation from people to do something if there is an impromptu task or a flop. It will slow down my work, instead, I make my decision without waiting for motivation.
There are so many other challenges but I’ll stop here.
Q: How were you able to combine academic stress, personal life, and the production of the movie at a go?
A: About the academic stress, when I wrote the script, that was last year in October; I finished the script in a month (writing, editing, scripting review, and feedback). I was just attending lectures and I wrote my script then. I’m not a social person so all I do is go to classes and write the script. After that, we did the audition. When I had to combine things was during the production which took place in March 2022. It was after our school examination, everybody wanted to go home but I had to beg the actors to wait for just a week.
Most of them couldn’t wait due to excuses and I had to re-do another audition and take up a role. I didn’t plan to take a role but I had to because of what happened. Then strike came, and there was nothing academic to do except for production.
My personal life was hectic but I was happy because I had people who supported me. My parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones. They just wanted to see the best out of what I was doing. They were understanding, they didn’t mount pressure on me because during the production I was not able to communicate with people. My phone was only with me after everything at night. But I thank God for the kind of people he has placed around me, they were understanding.
Q: How has the production been? Is there any support from anyone? Financially or physically?
A: Sincerely, it has been great. I can’t say less because it placed me in a position where I can say, ‘when you put your mind to something, you can do it.’ You can do anything if you are ready to give it your time, dedication, and commitment. I got support from people, financially, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
There was a time I was in a dark area and it seems the production will be cancelled but I had friends who lifted my spirit. There was a time I was crying and one of my friends saw me. He asked what the problem was and I explained to him about the production. We took a long walk and we talked about it. He motivated me and made me realize what I was into is a great thing that cannot be cancelled.
Also, I told God about it and he supported me. I told God He cannot leave me alone because we started this together. Financially, I got support from my friends and family members. I did a proposal, sent it out to people and I was able to get the amount that will sail me through the production. Particularly, my family. They are so supportive.
Q: Gen-Z is often perceived as a set of youth with unpleasant personalities. What do you have to say about this?
A: Yes, you are right. Often, people perceived Gen Z as a set of people with bad personalities and it’s wrong. This is one of the major reasons for this series. Sometimes, the older generation and ourselves fail to look at the back story and it’s not healthy. There are some people that go through a lot at home. Also, the pressure many people feel from their friends, home, or society affects the way they talk, think, reason, and act. Before you judge a person, take your time to know who a person is and that’s who I am. I don’t have many friends because I see how most people behave and it’s not nice but I don’t talk because I don’t want to be a judge over anybody. Instead, I study why a person behaves the way he or she does. Afterwards, I can ask questions.
I’m not comfortable with the way people define Gen Z as a destructive generation. No, we are more than that. I feel we are the most successful generation that has been. Just take a look at the teenagers and young ones, we are hardworking and doing something beautiful with our lives. People don’t see us that way because we don’t follow the older generation trends. That doesn’t make us bad people, we are only different in a unique way.
Q: What can you say about the movie industry in Nigeria generally? The level of development in production quality and other areas of improvement/substandard?
A: The movie industry in Nigeria is experiencing a massive change and development which is a good thing. The filmmaking, cinematography, and story presented are all nice. Most of the Nollywood directors and scriptwriters are doing well now. Most of them now go to a film school unlike before when they just do anyhow. They are now going through the right process just to make professionalism at its peak and it’s a good thing in Nigeria. I can’t wait to see how far I would go in my education in filmmaking. I will go to any length to hit the professionalism point and grow with it.
Q: I know you are passionate about filmmaking. State your reasons.
A: My reason for being passionate about filmmaking is that I’m a writer. In addition, growing up, I’ve always seen the literary world as a mirror to view society. This is through books, music, arts, movies, stories, and word of mouth. All these are just like a mirror to view society. If as a child then, I can view society through all of these, I feel there are many things people coming after me or ahead of me can see through all of these, and that prompted me to start filmmaking. I knew so many things as a child before I became an adult.
Furthermore, I love watching movies, being entertained, and seeing how other people think. Even though I’m not the character and I don’t know what’s going on in the mind of another character, I just love to see the actions and thoughts of others. Even though we can predict it, I just want to see it.
Moreover, when I was younger and I watch Nollywood movies, I see flops and I easily criticize. Later I realized it was bad. So anytime I watch a Nollywood movie, I praise them because it is a lot of effort put together. No one is perfect. I felt I have an interest in film and I decided to venture into it. I’m passionate about youths and teenagers and the only way to capture them is through television.
Q: You’re in your final year. Tell us about your vision beyond school.
A: I’m a mass communication student, after school, I’ll put my certificate to use. My area of specialization in mass communication is Public Relations and Advertisement and I’ll work in the field. Also, I can handle anything relating to broadcast. Moreover, I have plans to go to filmmaking schools in Nigeria and outside Nigeria. I’ll have to explore the ones in Nigeria first. I have the intention of producing my movies. Also, I have plans of working as a Public Relations and Advertisement Personnel. I have plans of having my own production house one day.
Q: What do you have to say for students who may want to venture into something like this?
A: Well, I would say it’s a good and great idea. Anybody can do it. You just need to have the vision, dedication, and commitment—also, the loyalty of people around you who see the picture with you. Anybody can do it, you just have to be committed. If it’s about the finances, when you share your vision with people, you’ll be surprised how people will turn up for you.