The Zikoko Guide to Making a Nollywood Romantic Comedy

February 21, 2022

Finding success in Nollywood is not beans. With the industry growing into one of the biggest in the world, almost everyone wants a taste of the lights, camera, action. But do you know what it takes to make a Nollywood romcom? Well, luckily for you, we do. To help our aspiring filmmakers, we compiled a list of things you need to make a successful Nigerian romcom. Are you taking notes? 

1. Your female lead must be an IJGB with a quirky job

This is the foundation of your film. You mess this up, and your film won’t last two weekends in the cinema. What you need is a female lead who just moved back to Nigeria and has a successful career as a Sh-E-O working as an art dealer, florist or ballerina — the more unrelatable she is, the better. These jobs will also explain why she’s always at a cute café, restaurant, premiere or fashion show, as opposed to dancing to the drums of capitalism like the rest of us. 

2. You’re nothing without your accents 

It has to be a war of the accents. Everyone needs to be doing gbas gbos when they open their mouths. You give me American-Russian and I’ll give you Lekki-British. The only people allowed to speak like normal Nigerians are the security guards and maids — make sure their “local” accents are exaggerated and silly just so the audience can laugh at them. 

3. Everybody has to be rich AF 

Poverty is cute, but not for romcoms. What’s not clicking here? Even world-renowned poet, David Adeleke, once said, “Love is sweet o, but when money enter, love is sweeter.” In Nigeria, we don’t believe in poor or middle-class romance dear. How do you hope to capture all the pretty nightclubs and restaurants if your main characters don’t have excess funds to go there? 

4. If your male lead doesn’t have a six-pack, cancel the film 

You need a shirtless scene that’ll cause commotion in the cinema, and for this to work, your male lead must have ridges on his stomach. Please count them o! He must have a minimum of six packs because anything less than that doesn’t work. God forbid you have a regular-looking man who eats carbs after 7 p.m as your lead actor. What will people say? 

5. Make sure it’s an ensemble 

Romcom that’s not an ensemble in big 2022? You must be a joker. Pack as many stars as your budget can allow. Mix it up: Asaba Nollywood, New Nollywood, BBNaija alumni and Instagram skit makers. Mix all of them and put them into one pot — it doesn’t matter whether they can act or not, just put them in it. Get that bag. 

6. Your love interests have to hate each other at first

He must think she’s too opinionated and full of herself, and she must think he’s a player and pretty boy with nothing in his brain. This hatred is fake though, because deep down he admires her independence, while she admires the fact that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. Last last, all this initial gragra will end in hot fo—romance. 

7. A female best friend co-worker or mother dedicated to finding the female lead some good penising 

Your female lead needs ginger to go out there and find a man. Who better to provide this push than her mum or best friend. These characters must be nosy and tread the thin line between cute and annoying. They must also remind your female lead that, “A woman is like a flower,” and that she may soon have cobwebs between her legs.

8. The one dimensional male best friend 

This guy’s role goes in one of two ways: it’s either he has small sense or he’s just a clown. This is where your influencer or BBNaija alumnus comes in. He exists solely to give the male lead really good or really fucking awful advice. There’s no in-between here. 

9. Something must try to put sand in their love garri 

Love in Nigeria is a battlefield, and to properly depict this, you have to test the love of your lead characters. Show us why they’re meant to be together, even though their chemistry is as bad as yesterday’s fried rice. Throw in family disapproval, busy careers or a wicked ex that is against their progress,  and you have a great story on your hands. 

10. You have to give us fashunzzz and aesthetics 

Can your lead actors act? Not really, but who cares when they’re serving us back to back lewkks. Make sure your female lead never wears flats, and make sure your male lead is always in a suit even though his only destination for that day is shoprite. Distract us from the chaotic and unrealistic plot with high fashion and we’ll be okay. T for Tenks. 

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