Growing up in Nigeria, I remember watching movies and wondering how could I be one of the actors in the film or how could I make movies like the one I was watching. My desire to work in entertainment stayed with me for years. And luckily, it wasn’t long before I moved to Houston, Texas with my family.
Living in the United States fused my hunger for filmmaking because of the availability of many TV channels and 24 hour programming.
In high school, my childhood fantasy became reality when I got an opportunity to work as a featured extra in some Hollywood films that came to Houston. The opportunity to be in these films allowed me see what actors and filmmakers went through to make and be in films. From there, I went from acting to producing and writing.
I wanted to attend film school. But because I had a family to support, I was unable to do so. So I did the next best thing – I attended a local college and took all the film and communication classes I could get my hands on.
During this time, I produced some short films in collaboration with other students. I also networked and got to know some people in the industry who were working as adjunct professors. I also met people I watched on TV regularly, like Lois Childs, the former 007 Bond’s Girl. She told me “Susan” you have what it takes to make it in this industry. “You will go far, just stick with it and don’t give up.”
Although I have not yet produced my blockbuster, I feel I am well on my way. I am one of the most sought after producers in my local Houston film community. Additionally, I was able to revisit Africa and complete my most recent film “12 Noon” in Abuja Nigeria in August, utilizing some of the most popular A-List actors in Nollywood, the second largest film market of the world. My other movie, “Mind of the Enemy” shot last year and completed this summer premiered in Abuja and is set for a theatrical premier event in Houston, Texas in November.
I asked Jason if I could share some advice for those of you wanting to venture into filmmaking, acting or writing. And my advice is this: Work towards your vision and never give up. Make sure this is your passion… You have to love it. When taking on a project, set goals and plan because good planning has a lot to do with your success. Also, always have a marketing strategy! I wish somebody told me about marketing strategy because I learned the hard way. And Finally, collaboration is good but be sure of who you are collaborating with.
Like minds always work better together!
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With over 15 years of experience in both the Nollywood and Hollywood film and entertainment industrys, Susan Ngozi Nwokedi is the Founder and CEO of TopLine Production and Entertainment, Co., and its international affiliate, TopLine Global International Mega Links, Ltd. (“TopLine”) is a full house production and entertainment company based in Houston Texas and Nigeria.