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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Friday, February 12, 2010


I have kept a detailed diary on and off most of my life but the idea for a diary at this pivotal point was inspired by my friend Remi Lagos who bought me a beautiful note book and wrote in her sprawling bold prints “to our dearest aje in peace, love and happiness from olodo, with the very best wishes for now and always”. The note pad was titled love, I have filled that and I am currently writing in the next one also titled love and will then move to happiness.

I wanted to write my thoughts down to quieten my mind at a time of deep fears, anxiety and change. It got worse, it got desperate and then it got demented after which one becomes fearless and strangely at peace. What will come in the following weeks are my exact thoughts and feelings as written at each point during the shoot of TWF.

Sunday May 17th 2009

Up at 4.48am with a sore throat and cold.
The house is abuzz. My sisters, the Nazi (my cook Bose) and Toyin (our maid) were making breakfast for the crew and I.
Bayo (make up artist, friend, stylist, mother hen) walks into my room with the different costume changes and matching accessories for the day. I sit in my underwear, drinking my start the day tea and reading my research as he hems the corduroy pants for the football field. Segun my brother and dresser styles my hair, whilst our improvised stylist’s assistant, my gorgeous 6 foot plus super model like sister Lawunmi arranges our bags.

60 minutes later, they have eliminated all signs of illness or fatigue from my face and I am in my personalized Chelsea football shirt and amended corduroy pants. Downstairs, Brian, Mike and Jeff (technical director, DOP and Sound Engineer) from Cape Town are whining about the lack of coffee.
Bayo quips “wetin dey do these oyinbo, we no dey drink coffee for here o, abeg make una give them kola nut jo”!

Chris (director, producer, slave master) is nobody’s daddy and is going over his meticulously arranged order for the day. He has insisted on doing a technical recce of every point we would be filming to the irritation of the governor’s people. Chris is also a bit cranky because we don’t have all our equipments in from London.

We wait for a go ahead from the governor’s people, each in his and her world, only Bayo appears relaxed but then he had eaten his usual breakfast of puff puff covered in sugar downed with one litre of processed orange juice and a shot of brandy.

We get the go ahead and leave in a convoy at 8.20am, with Tony my fitness instructor turned body guard fighting with Bayo and Segun for who should be in my personal space. Why any of them thinks l require extra protection in the company of the state’s governor is beyond me.

We arrive at the newly finished Teslim Balogun stadium and I sit in the car reading a book and trying to detach from the drama around me as Chris and co determine best positions.

The governor’s football playing buddies start to arrive and I know a number of them quite well, as I used to spend many weekends watching them play. That was almost a decade ago, the years show. I have a panic thought, does it show that starkly on me too? But then I think, I was in my twenties then and whatever damage a decade has done cannot be ruinous yet, that is still coming.

Suddenly the governor arrives and everyone jumps to attention. Of course things never work quite as planned but I have spent my career being quick and adaptive so I deftly step in his path, impaling his security and protocol details with my eyes and will and start talking with him telling him exactly how we prefer the shoot to go.

Even though we sent a detailed show plan, they still thought we only wanted to film him playing football. We were determined to film him playing football with me whilst we conversed. I don’t play football so it became an impromptu football lesson. I am lousy at it, he is a sport.

There is a Super Sport crew around led by my friend Felix Awogu with whom I had a lot of fun covering the Athens Olympics, so I grant a quick interview, a reminder of my sports journalism days.

We leave the governor at the pitch and drive to the State House to set the stage for our lunch and interview. I change quickly in the living room and Bayo and Segun eliminate the exertions on the field from my face and hair.
Fashola returns a few hours later and foes upstairs to change after which he and I have an interview over lunch. It was the best part as it was more controlled and he was very revealing.

The man eats moderately and healthily; I couldn’t eat much during the interview but down my fish, rice and dodo quickly after the interview.

Then begins the dramatic part, Chris has designed an elaborate plan where two advance cameramen will be on okadas at specific points on his planned drive path so they can capture the way the convoy turns beautifully at those points whilst another camera will be in the car with us and the sound engineer at the back.

Great, except that the specialized truck from the governor’s convey although luxurious is not comforable so Jeff has to contort his 6 foot 3 frame and bags of precious equipment into the boot, whilst Brian hand holds a camera on an improvised steady cam in the front seat with the governor and I squeeze into the remaining space. Not the easiest shoot but we pull it off with Jeff in near rigour mortis and Brian’s shoulder frozen. I have a crick in my neck and lord knows what pain Fashola was concealing.

At the final location –Sky restaurant of the Eko hotel which has a great view of Lagos. The advance production team of Seki and Ife are jittery and I know something is wrong. We had designed a citizen’s panel to consist of a youth, a person living with disabilities, a professional woman, a Lagos indigene and so on. Most don't show up, Dr. Abiola and Danlami are late; we start trying to find last minute replacements whilst the governor waits, his guys getting impatient. I figure the guests think all politicians are late, well not this man, and not this crew led by the slave master.

It turns out well enough in the end and I am very impressed with the governor who is unused to a film environment but has had immense patience and affability with the tiring and tedious processes.

Afterwards I go with my posse to Terrakulture to chill out and perform my 3rd change of costume, hair and make up for a special birthday event for Bobdee, Ovation’s larger than life publisher, led by Bayo, Segun and Tony. These boys are insane causing a stir as we walk in.

I retire home at 1am and take off the make up, flatten the bouffant hair and step out of the tight dress. I see my red, exhausted demented eyes staring from a face waxen with pain and exhaustion and a nose expanded with tension as snot runs out. I pop my hormonal relaxant and smile, one down, 14 to go. Tomorrow I will not look like this, I have Bayo and Segun.


Jide Salu said...

Dear Funmi,

You don't know me from "adams" (I bet you would, very soon)but let me be the very 1st person on this post to congratulate you on TWF's maiden edition.

I got the timing wrong, and would love to know when it would be repeated on A.Magic.

Anyway, Funmi, the last 15mins I saw revealed, even before reading this post, that a lot of effort had gone into the production.

It showed. It towers above many Nigerian produced programmes.

Without writing a book on TWF, I must say I am already a fan (for selfish reasons) which you would soon get to know of, and I can't wait to watch the next episode featuring my favourite Nigerian artiste of the moment - 9ice.

Well done Funmi. You deserve all the accolades.

Take care and God bless.

Check out my review later today at http://www.jidesalu.com