From Hollywood to Nollywood

An industry affected significantly by the rise of globalisation is that, of film and production. Global films with transnational appeal are produced in various countries across the globe, but it is Nollywood films produced in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, that are, perhaps, the most intriguing.

Established in the mid 1990’s, Nollywood was inspired by African traditional travelling theatres. Nollywood films are made direct to video and, as such, are never screened in cinemas. In 2007, Nigeria’s film industry produced 1687 films, making it the third largest film industry in the world, in terms of volume and production rates. Thus, it seems that while the business of film production has spanned wider than Hollywood and the American film industry itself, the cinematic experience remains somewhat localised. If this is the case, what makes possible, the retention of such great popularity regarding Nollywood films?

The argument in the University of Alberta’s ‘Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption’, is that outside of Nigeria, and indeed Africa, Nollywood is still largely a curiosity but within its borders, the Nigerian film industry has had nothing but success, after unanticipated success. Often, these movies are completed in a week with a budget of no more than $20,000.The films draw upon traditional characters and events inspired by dramas from other such countries, as Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico, in which, they produce soap operas titled Telenovelas. Nollywood films play on this structure, with a mix of melodrama and culture. Perhaps what makes the popularity of Nollywood films so isolated, is the television aesthetic, of which, the films adopt, appearing more on the side of an extended length television show, than a typical feature film. Nonetheless, the films remain popular within Africa, with the average film selling more than 50,000 physical copies.

“It’s born out of passion. We are using what we have to tell our stories and get it out there,” says British- Nigerian film director and founder of Blu Star Entertainment, Michelle Bello.

Despite the rapid growth and success of the Nollywood film industry, there is one major downfall. With films being produced solely for immediate transfer to DVD, this enhances the possibility for piracy. An estimated $1 billion is lost to piracy each year, with bootleg copies of a film often hitting the streets within hours of its release. The World Bank estimates that for every 10 Nigerian movies sold, only one is a legitimate sale.

In order to rectify these losses, the Nigerian Copyright Commission is working to reform a law that governs the ways, in which, filmmakers and producers can be compensated for the loss of profit from their art and intellectual property.

With unprecedented acceptability in Nigeria and across Africa, it is only a matter of time before globalisation influences the popularity of Nigerian films worldwide. Soon Nollywood films will become, not a curiosity, but a widely accepted style of film and production, increasing profitability for production companies, and, in turn, increasing revenue for the film industry in Nigeria.


SoundScan to SoundCloud: Good artists copy; great artists steal

The production of Hip-hop has long been tied to the availability and progression of technology. Transpiring in the Bronx of New York City in the 1970’s, harnessing turntables and microphones, Hip-hop has continued to utilise technological advancements. Technology has allowed for the emergence of Hip-hop as a widely accessible commodity, allowing for user interaction and production of an insurmountable extent.

Remix culture is the encouragement of the combination or editing of existing materials to produce a new product. It is the process whereby content production has become democratised. In terms of Hiphop, the emergence of remix culture has allowed for the rise of break beat culture, EDM and Mashups. The creation of such genres brings about the idea of ‘Technology of self’. Despite being a collaborative process for the most part, Hip-hop production allows the individual to produce content without the interference of record companies or other stakeholders. This individualisation of production elicits a particular aesthetic within Hip-hop that has become extremely popularised.

Original Podcast

In 1991, Mike Fine and Mike Shalett introduced SoundScan. This system implemented a method of tracking record sales. Through this process, we were able to recognise that Hip-hop was on top of the sales charts. Now days, Youtube and Soundcloud allow for the recording of views on tracks uploaded by amateur Hip-hop artists who participate in the process of remixing music to create a completely new sound.




The Rise of Produsage: The Arab Spring

In February 2011, Egyptian President Mubarak resigned following weeks of protest against his regime. The Egyptian Revolution, A.K.A the January 25 Revolution, was sparked following “calls for protests from online youth groups.” The protests, organised solely via social media, specifically Twitter, led to clashes between security and dissidents, causing 846 casualties and over 6,000 injuries. Social media played a key role in these demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa, which became known as the Arab Spring, effectively leading to the overhaul of governments in countries inclusive of Egypt.

Credit: Justiceinconflict.org

In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift from consumption to production, with the term ‘Produsage’ becoming popularized. Produsage can be described as ‘the writing readers’ or ‘the viewers who picked up a camera”. It is all about giving media users the ability to produce content, and in the case of the Arab Spring, the personal use of social media in order to spark a revolution.

Orignal Meme

Social media users have initiated the transition from Monologic media, such as television, whereby the process of receiving information comes in the form of dissemination, to the use of Dialogic media, like Twitter, that allows for the transformation from dissemination to dialogue and conversation. This shift allows for such insurgent activity as the Arab Spring to spread both rapidly and successfully.

Credit: Thedailybeast.com

From Production to Produsage: From Social to Anti-scoial

Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage”  – Amy Jo Martin

In light of the above quote, I pose the question; do we as a collective audience use social media in the interest of engaging or withdrawing?


It is indisputable that the nature of media audiences has changed over time, not only as a result of technological innovation but also due to the growing usability of media platforms that allows individuals to become ‘Produsers’, ultimately leading to the increasing prevalence of user-led content production. But how does this relate to the prevailing absence of somatic interaction?


It can be said that we as human beings, place grave valuation on the concept of face-to-face contact and socialisation. At least…I know I do.  Yet with the rapid development of produsage in the modern world, the notion of social interaction without intervention of technology is fast becoming obsolete.  Produsage, a concept devised by Australian media scholar Axel Bruns, suggests media users play the role of producers whether they are aware of this role or not.  In doing so, people have become engrossed with creating and maintaining an online presence, paving the way for the domination of social media, in comparison to the growing subordination of corporeal interaction.

Subsequently, the evolution of media platforms, from the first black and white television set to, the ever so fashionable, smartphone, has allowed for the current lack of barriers surrounding the usual working day, thus, providing influence upon social interaction, or rather, the lack there of. Now days, those who work in media/ technology based jobs are given the opportunity to take their professions home, in turn, creating a decline in gregarious interaction within the household.  This concurs with, and reinforces the idea, that development in forms of media does so happen to impact upon the need for physical networking.

It is the utopian viewpoint, that a strong connection to media sources, whether that’s television, radio, print, or social, creates a sense of enlightenment amongst a modern audience. This view can, however, be scrutinised when considering the dystopian alternative that suggests an addiction to media outlets is somewhat of an unhealthy obsession.

With all this in mind, it is up to you my friends; to decide what stance you will take. Will you let the rapid advancement of produsage turn you into an anti-scoial media user? Or, will you be a social butterfly and conversation producer?