If you are an avid Nollywood fan, then you know bloopers in the film industry are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Bloopers come at the end of a film or a series episode, during or after the closing credits. They exist to provide amusement, though it comes at the cost of breaking the fourth wall. In a blooper, you might see actors fumble their lines, unrehearsed spit-takes and generally, playful unprofessionalism. Perhaps the greatest examples can be found at the end of every movie in the Rush Hour franchise, that popular comedy featuring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. I ask, why are many Nigerian films blooper-free? Given our love for comedy, and our propensity for comedic situations, it just seems odd.
Bloopers are inevitable while filming, given that naturally, humans trip over their words which could easily have a comedic effect. That said, bloopers are surely caught on camera; however, the Nigerian audience rarely sees them in the finished product. Speaking to movie director Solomon Essang, he argues that “bloopers exist but filmmakers don’t put them out. They get lost on the editing table”. On why bloopers barely make it out in the final product, he said “I believe they don’t see the value in it. I bet you if someone starts, others will follow suit.”
Why Should Bloopers Be Encouraged In Nollywood?
Including bloopers right after a movie is a way to end the movie on a positive note. Actor and former Big Brother Naija housemate, Elozonam Ogbolu argues that bloopers are important because they are “a good way for Nollywood to engage the audience and give them more content beyond the movie itself. It is like an extra add-on, like a post-credit scene that you can use to engage your audience. It’s a lot more entertaining.”
Bloopers allow movie-watchers to see their favourite Nollywood actors miss their cues, make random blunders, and get tongue-tied. They show the audience that the scenes behind your favourite movie or series are a lively mess. Nollywood actors tend to present the best version of themselves on social media, and one may start to think of them as inaccessible deities: too rich and famous to be human. Bloopers can help humanise the faces you see in films.
Bloopers will also help the Nigerian audience see the amount of work that goes into the making of a film. This may give viewers a new understanding, and perhaps even make them more considerate when they review a film. By acknowledging the complexities of filmmaking, viewers might be less likely to dismiss a film as bad in an offhand manner. This aligns with Essang’s argument that beyond their use as a marketing tool, bloopers can “give the audience a sense of the scale of the project, the difficulty and what it takes to make the movie”.
On how bloopers influence the audience’s perception of actors, Nollywood actress and commercial model Valerie Dish says, “I think bloopers are a way of connecting with the audience. It shows realness and authenticity. They need to know you put a hundred per cent into making the movie. I also feel fans will connect with Nollywood when they show our vulnerable side.”
Bloopers are a great way to hold the audience’s attention due to their amusing make-up. Though it’s predominantly banter, they also give insight and a peek into how a movie is created. They reveal a chunk of the actors’ true personality, fun side as well as the friendship between the cast and crew. The funny clips also show fans the exciting chaos that occurs behind the scenes and the tons of effort put into movie production. Bloopers are important for actors or the industry to build a bond or deeper connection with their fans. Seeing that comedy thrives in Nigeria, it’s evident Nigerians will enjoy a good blooper.