The Nigerian animation and visual effects industry is a young and new one. There are many people in it with lots of drive and energy. But one of the factors affecting it has been that of the establishment of proper studios and the current absence of collaborative projects between artists and technicians in the field.
Finance is a key factor, especially in Nigeria. In some countries grants and other support systems are available to support those in the creative industries. Of course the creative industries had to fight to get that. But their governments have realized that the creative industries can be a huge earner. The creative economy has been identified by the UN as one of the economies that will benefit developing countries immensely if harnessed just as it did for established economies. Unfortunately most African governments, including Nigeria’s haven’t quite realized the potential.
Most people in our fledgling animation industry are young graduates with little financial backing and no large industry to take them up and pay them a decent salary. They have to make it up as they go along. It’s not like our main established industries (law, engineering, telecoms, banking) where there are clearer entrance routes and more money to be made. We are in the pioneering phase right now. Passion can only get you so far when you have no cash (maybe I’m getting to old!)
To now dedicate your time and effort to an animation project with people just for the sake of it is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I think that is precisely what creates the best work. It’s just tough to do from a logical day to day stand point where bills have to be paid.
The ‘ego’ issue is also another factor to consider. There are positives and negatives to this. We all want our projects and studios to be the best. I think natural selection will sort things out. Once VFX/animation studios start to emerge that can hire people, get projects consistently etc most people will want to work for them. But at the stage where there are so few, people are still trying to figure out whether their studios will be the industry leaders. I make no apologies for saying my studio is one of them.
Having said all of that, things are changing for the positive as more practitioners meet and network. The future in the industry is looking interesting.