1. As an actor, what are the greatest challenges you face?
Few/lack of opportunities. Whilst we have many a budding talented actors passionate about their craft, we lack the opportunities to quench our thirsts especially financially. We are therefore forced to have a plan B income avenue and plan B is usually not something we love to do but have to in order to survive. I’d like to see many actors survive solely on acting if only the opportunities can allow.
2. As we build a world class media, what would you say is the role of the actor?
The role of the actor has always and will probably forever be the voice of the society. We speak where most would shy away or be afraid of speaking. We depict real life scenarios where most are oblivious of and make people see their lives through actors. At the same time we educate the society through our craft and last but not least, we entertain the societies who already have a lot to stress them with. With a world class media at our disposal, all this will be made bigger and better and that will in return bring in revenues and create employment.
3. Do you think that the industry is professional? And why not/ why is it?
Good question. A debatable question where many will have different opinions about. My take however is we are semi-professional and we havent reached the height of professionalism as an industry if at all we have one established (debatable too).
A fully professional industry must have bodies/associations that govern them.Bodies that have rules and regulations that clearly state policies of how things should run. At the moment it’s everyone for him/herself and God for us all. Everyone with a passion for being an actor will call themselves an actor but lack of accreditation and schools or guilds that can actually identify actors in Kenya is lacking and that makes it a very haphazard industry.
4. Are actors paid accordingly and are there set standards for this?
No. It’s sad that actors in Kenya tend to be the lot that are least regarded in the film industry and most of the times they are the least paid in the hierarchy yet we are the people carrying the programs to the audiences. Part of the reason is again lack of associations/guild that can fight for this. Fight for standard fair rates for actors.
5. What do you think can be done to make the industry more professional?
Unified bodies that work in tandem with each other to make world class films. Producers’ guild, directors’ guild, actors’ guild, writers’ guild, crew guild etc. If all these were formed and work together and speak the same language and understand each others problems, the film industry can be a force to reckon with and we can approach the government with something solid and we can be given a listening ear.
I am glad that the Kenya Film Television Producers Association(KFTPA) which I am a member of, is doing their best to achieve the much it can in streamlining things in the film industry.But without the support of other filmmakers, we are still back to square one.
The Kenya Actors Guild has taken time to kick off but it’s only a matter of time before we are up and running. In the mean time we also have actors.co.ke which preaches the same, professionalism for actors and something we can be identified with.
6. As a contributor to the BFMA, what do you hope actors will take away from the experience?
Every business person knows or should know that marketing and networking themselves is a sure way to get ahead in the competition. Same rule should apply to actors too. Instead of waiting for opportunities to fall on our laps which is what most actors do, let’s go after the opportunities and BFMA is an event an actor shouldn’t afford to miss because of the new networking opportunities that will present itself with all the film makers from Kenya and around Kenya that will be present.
compiled by Christine Mwai