"It is not all rainbows and sunshine in the entertainment industry, and the young actors out there need a voice. This is my voice!"
According to Robinson, who sent his story to Pulse Nigeria and other media houses, his experience is part of the injustice faced by young Nigerian actors.
Pulse Nigeria reached out to the producer, Onyewe, who politely refused to speak on the matter. "No comment," she said.
Read his story below:
"My name is Samuel Robinson. You may know me for my role as Akin Bello Ebony Life Tv’s "Desperate Housewives Africa."
It is no new story that young actors in Nigeria are treated unfairly by producers, Directors etc. It varies from Sexual Harassment, unfair and unequal wages to not even being credited for a movie or TV series. This is my story that I would like to share about an injustice that was done to me.
A couple of years back whist just beginning my acting career, I auditioned and was cast to play Young Victor In a movie titled "8 Bars & A Clef." I was excited. Though the money wasn’t anything to write home about I saw it as an amazing opportunity for me to learn and gain more acting experience.
It seemed like a privilege to work with Actors such as Kehinde Bankole, Bimbo Akintola, Wale Ojo, and Linda Ejiofor. While filming the movie, I twisted my ankle performing an intense scene and was incapacitated for a few days. It was a very intense project and I literally sweat, bled and cried for this movie. We completed filming and I went home.
Almost three years later, I was contacted by the producer Chioma Onyewe. She informed me that she would like to shoot some extra scenes for the movie. She had screened it before an audience and she said they felt disconnected from my character’s transcendence into an older version of me played by IBK Spaceshipboi.
She asked if was available and I told her that I was at the time in Calabar filming a project for EbonyLife TV called "The Governor". She asked when I would be back we set the dates bla bla bla (lets get to the juicy stuff).
Chioma and I were Friends at the time so I didn’t think it was necessary to give her a contract ( she never extended one to me) for the agreed sum that I would be paid for that day. We had a verbal agreement that would be paid a particular sum on that day. The day came, it was intense and gruelling I had to carry cement, shovel gravel, walk half naked and sell DVDs’ in the hot sun.
Watch the movie and you’ll see these scenes. (I know this is long, keep reading it’s about to come to an end.) We wrapped shoot and I went to Chioma to as for my money so I could head home. She said she didn’t have it. As she was my friend and all, I didn’t push it. A month later, I needed money urgently and remembered that I still hadn’t been paid for by Chioma. I sent her a message asking to be paid. She replied that she still didn’t have it and I replied saying that it had been a month, and she told me she was tired and she would send it when she had it, then she blocked me on whatsapp where I was messaging her. It took me e-mailing her and copying her Dad’s company, her mum and her brother for Chioma to pay me.
I called her a few months later to ask for footage for my show reel as some international agents were requesting for it. She told me and I quote “Samuel don’t call me, don’t correspond with me” then she blocked my calls.
This is the best part, Chioma began publicizing her movie ad didn’t inform me a major cast in the movie. She put up publicity items without mentioning my name or tagging me in them. She scrapped my name from the cast list. She set dates for the movie premiere without informing or inviting me.
I felt a need to share this to shed light on the injustices young actors face n this country. Was I wrong to demand money I worked for, long after it was overdue?
It is not all rainbows and sunshine in the entertainment industry. And the young actors out there need a voice. This is my voice!"
The upcoming movie which was first screened at AFRIFF in November 2015, will debut in Nigerian cinemas in June. Watch "8 Bars & A Clef" trailer below.