Highly talented film maker-cum actor, Yomi Fabiyi is one of the veterans in the Yoruba movie industry. He joined the industry in 2001, after learning under Baba Suwe and Odunfa Caucus.
According to him, learning under the two was like acquiring two different degrees in different universities.
He is one actor who started with nothing, but through hard work, dedication and patience, he made it to the top, producing block-buster movies back to back and winning lots of awards home and abroad.
He recently spoke to BIODUN ALAO. He took his time to explain a lot of things that are wrong with the Yoruba movie industry. He says it is necessary for every actor to go through training, drilling and tutorship before joining the movie industry, which according to him, will remain a solid foundation for every good actor in the industry. He also explained why the industry is filled with half-baked actors and actresses in the industry. Below are the excerpts.
I want you to share your success story including how long you have been in the industry?
Plus and subtraction, I think I’m in my Nineteenth year in the industry.
How did acting start for you?
To be honest with you, I didn’t discover myself. Someone else discovered me. It started with a woman on the third street away from where I lived. You can have it and yet don’t know you have it. She was a food vendor and I often visited her shop, I cracked jokes, and she discovered that she was always recording more sales whenever I was in her shop. Many customers like to listen to my jokes and also listen to me so she sold more whenever I was in her shop, so, because of that she used to give me free food and always encouraged me to always come to her shop. So, there was a particular time, she was like, “go and look for actors and make a career from acting and I believe you will make it from there.” I was like, where on this earth would I meet these actors? They were more like aliens then. Back then. It was a big deal to tell a star you also wanted to become a star, unlike now that everything has changed. You can reach celebrities on different social media platforms and they will answer you. Luckily in my search to make headway, I was given direction to Ebute Metta, where I could see Baba Suwe, Yinka Quadri, Taiwo Hassan and others in Odunfa caucus. So, I managed to see Baba Suwe, and he helped and encouraged me to join the movie industry. I noticed I just wanted to express myself, but I was scared and shy about it. He took it from me and gave me a soft landing, so I began following him immediately, and that was how my journey into the movie industry started.
At what point in time did you get your big break in the industry?
With all sense of humility, I don’t think I have actually got any big break in the industry or breakthrough, so to speak.
But it is noteworthy to say, I’m actually growing by the day. The reason I don’t want to use the word. “Breakthrough” is because most people could break through and be like the rave of the moment, after that, everything just dies off and you don’t get to hear about them again, and I’m always scared of that. I joined the industry and I kept improving daily in everything I do. I am so passionate about the industry, I want the industry to grow, I want to contribute my quota to its growth and development. So, I have never made any breakthrough, I just want to always come out all the time with quality and raise the standard. I just want to be in the industry and raise the bar. Though some will say, I have already had my big break, but honestly, I just want to help the industry grow.
What would you say is the secret of your consistency in the industry?
There’s no harm in sharing the secret of one’s consistency in the industry. I have always tried to do one thing. I don’t crave attention. What I mean is that I just want to do something excellent. If I have an opportunity to produce a movie and the concept that comes to my mind will not see me playing a major role, I wouldn’t abandon the script and be looking for a script that will feature me by all means. I don’t need to write a script that will show that I’m a star of the movie. I follow the natural trend, instead of going against that trend, I will relax, I don’t force things to happen. Like they used to say, the future has already been decided, we are just living it. So I’m only living what the future had decided upon my life. I don’t create an artificial future. If you do that it means, you are also going to create where you are going to end, but if you allow events to unfold naturally, it will be better. I use my common sense. I don’t rush things, I don’t unnecessarily want to be in the spotlight, so whether it’s a major or minor role I’m playing the quality has to reflect. Then, at times, when I need to introduce artificial scarcity I do, I make myself scarce in movies for a while, spend time on other projects, then when calls start coming in, mostly from fans complaining of not seeing me in movies or that producers had specially cast me for particular roles. Knowing full well I have not featured in movies for a while then I go back and feature in the movie again.
Also at times, I took a short break from the industry, travel abroad and quickly do a short course. So, I often do this in my calendar. Most things people don’t understand is the fact that when you are scarce, you add more value to yourself. I don’t place myself in that situation where producers would use me to replace their main cast or the situation where they would say, he’s always available when you need him. With due respect, lobbying is part of the industry, but I don’t lobby for roles. So, quality, consistency, proper management help to make one relevant in the industry. Fine, you might not be the reigning star, but producers would not see you and say, who is this.
What does it require to be a good actor in the industry?
Hmm! Humility loyalty and patient are virtues and these are scarce with the current set of actors in the industry. For you to get an opportunity to act a scene in a movie back then, it was very difficult because you must have been drilled and they must have tested your perseverance before they could say, okay let’s trust him with this. But these days a lot of people want you to trust them without any intention to sacrifice. Talent is not enough, you need more to get fame and also maintain stardom. You also have to stay true to a structure. Take for example, if you are coming into the industry and you are with Warner Bros, and let people know Warner Bros gave you the foundation. And if you are with Odunfa Caucus, let people know because when you do that, they will test your perseverance, humility, loyalty and level of respect, because culture and respect are among the pillars of the industry. Before you can say, I want to start making decisions on my own, I want to start rubbing shoulders with people who are regarded as veterans, bosses before they can give you such a leverage, they must have known that you have gone through some training that would allow you to actually sustain and maintain that thing in you.
A lot of these new generation actors should understand that if they are asked to go through the procedure, it is not because one is making life difficult for them but actually drilling and preparing you so that you can maintain and sustain that stardom. Stardom is spiritual, it is supernatural, it is not a garment that you can just enter a shop and buy. It is a scarce virtue, the majority now have it, but they don’t have the fundamental background to sustain it.
That is why many of them mess up. Before people started recognising us, we spent years in the background, but the present set of stars we have now don’t go through such fundamentals, and they regard everybody as equal and the same, that is why you see anybody could just call anybody up, insult anybody mainly on social media, and this whole thing is affecting the industry. That is why you see that acting is not at the level it should be in the industry.
No required training, and when they don’t have this, they are limiting themselves to certain roles. At this level, we should be seeing more intense role interpretations in movies. No deep storylines. They don’t respect those who have been trained so deep in the industry to teach them what they need to know. So, all these indirectly are affecting the industry. So my advice is that as you are coming in, take your time, set a time table for yourself, no matter the level of talent you have. Ask for drilling and mentorship, without mentorship, you can’t go far. If you create artificial mentorship for yourself, it would not last for too long. If you are mentored, the true mentorship will be there, and you will become like a child to that person. Then, your foundation is solid. As an individual, if your parents are rich or poor, if you become successful later in life, you can’t deny them except you a bastard. But these days, new actors don’t even want to get associated with such background and foundation. So, until you submit yourself to such foundation, you would never value what you have, and artificial foundation would not last for long. So, I advise every young and new actor to always submit themselves for thorough mentorship before anything else. Submit yourself for proper training, practice and tutorship. So, you can weather any storm when the time comes.
Can you tell us about the different training you went through as an actor?
Yes, I trained under Baba Suwe, he was a very busy actor back then. He was always shuttling from one location to another, and I admire him a lot, but after training under him, I still went to learn more from Odunfa Caucus.
It was like obtaining a BSc in Unilag then going for a Masters in another University. Education is continuous, so I told Baba Suwe back then, that I wanted to go and acquire more knowledge. I did all that because I wanted to be deep-rooted. I was not ready to scratch the surface. I wanted to be patient enough for people to know how I came up. I must have understudied enough people to be able to stand firm.
So, those are the two processes I went thorough under “Baba Suwe and Odunfa Caucus.”
READ ALSO: 10 VETERAN ACTORS ARE NOW CRITICALLY ILL
Send Us News, Gist, more... to firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @CitypeopleMagz