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Blogs - CinemaUg (Film and Beyond)
What Uganda's film industry can learn from the music industry to grow impact and success.
What Uganda's film industry can learn from the music industry to grow impact and success.

If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is the fact that musicians are more popular in Uganda than filmmakers, and songs are more popular than movies. There is no survey to allude that Ugandans listen to more music than they watch movies, but from my observation, Ugandans, especially the middle and upper lower class, consume as many movies as they do music, just not for Ugandan movies. In fact, in Hollywood, actors and filmmakers have close to the same star power as musicians. Why is it different for Uganda, and what can we do about it?The music industry in Uganda, like on the global scene, has experienced remarkable growth and impact locally, on the continent, and globally, thanks to artists like Eddy Kenzo, Chameleon, Maddox Ssematimba, Philly Bongole Lutaaya, and so on, which is not the same for the movie industry. This is due to many reasons but partly also because the music industry has been here longer than the film industry. Music, unlike film, has had Ugandans involved from back in pre-colonial times. Ugandans have been creating music with locally made instruments like Adungu for Buganda, Drums, Endigidi, and many other weapons that were used in the traditional society.Whereas film could be compared to the stage plays that have also been around for a while, instruments of recording have just come around to be a norm like three decades ago. So, it makes it easier for Ugandans to adapt to music and music-making than film and filmmaking. In short terms, music had a great head start compared to film. That’s something we can’t control, but there are those reasons that we can look at that are within our means of control to try and match the music popularity in Uganda. So, let’s look at them.Embracing Digital Transformation.One of the key lessons from the music industry is the power of digital transformation. One of the reasons music is so popular is how easy it is to access. The rise of digital platforms, streaming services, and online distribution channels has democratized access to music, expanded audience reach, and created new revenue streams. We’re talking about the freely accessible YouTube, Spotify, TikTok, and more. Artists have learned that putting their music on these platforms for free creates greater returns in terms of revenue, i.e., YouTube payments, but also a boost in popularity as more people watch and listen to their content. Similarly, the film industry can leverage digital platforms for content distribution, audience engagement, and monetization. In Uganda, the biggest challenge for film has been film access due to poor distribution channels. Embracing digital technologies enables filmmakers to reach global audiences, explore niche markets, and diversify revenue sources beyond traditional box office sales. One of the filmmakers who has tried that method is Loukman Ali of LoukOut Films who has created great short films and uploaded them on YouTube for free. He is arguably the most popular filmmaker in Uganda due to that and of course other reasons.  Ugandans need to know there is good content being done by Ugandan filmmakers and that can only happen if Ugandan filmmakers sacrifice some of their best content and distribute it via YouTube for free. Cultivating a Strong Local Identity.The music industry in Uganda thrives on its rich cultural heritage, diverse musical genres, and authentic storytelling. Local artists have successfully carved out unique identities that resonate with domestic audiences while also attracting international attention. Similarly, the film industry can grow its impact by celebrating Uganda's cultural diversity, telling authentic stories that reflect local realities, and showcasing indigenous talent, narratives, and landscapes. Cultivating a strong local identity not only fosters audience connection but also distinguishes Ugandan cinema on the global stage.Investing in Talent Development.Talent development is a cornerstone of success in both the music and film industries. The music sector in Uganda has seen the emergence of talented artists, producers, and songwriters who have honed their craft through training, mentorship, and industry support that are not well streamlined but by older artists training the upcoming ones indirectly. Likewise, the film industry can invest in talent development programs, workshops, and mentorship initiatives to nurture a new generation of filmmakers, actors, technicians, and storytellers. Building a robust talent pipeline not only elevates the quality of production but also drives industry innovation and sustainability.Collaboration and Cross-Promotion.Collaboration and cross-promotion have been instrumental in the music industry's growth and visibility. Local musicians often collaborate within themselves but also with continental and international artists, they participate in music festivals and leverage digital platforms to reach global audiences. The film industry, on the other hand, has had a hard time collaborating, especially “seasoned filmmakers”. The film industry can foster collaborations between local filmmakers, production houses, distributors, and international partners to co-produce films, access new markets, and amplify promotional efforts. Cross-promotion through music videos, soundtracks, and film tie-ins can also enhance audience engagement and broaden reach.Entrepreneurship and Business Acumen.While the music industry has heavily relied on talent to push its brand across, there have also been great entrepreneurs that have invested heavily in the music industry like Kyazze and Benon of Swangz Avenue, Manager Roja, Jeff Kiwa of Team No Sleep, and so on. Also, most successful musicians in Uganda have demonstrated strong entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, and strategic partnerships that have propelled their careers and financial success. Artists like Eddy Kenzo, Ykee Benda, Bebe Cool, and others have shown how good they are when it comes to grabbing the available opportunities to grow their revenues and careers. Similarly, filmmakers can benefit from cultivating a business mindset, exploring diverse revenue streams (such as merchandise, endorsements, and licensing deals), and forging partnerships with sponsors, investors, and brands. Understanding the business side of the industry, including marketing, distribution, and audience analytics, is crucial for sustainable growth and industry leadership.Leveraging Social Media and Influencer Marketing.The music industry has effectively utilized social media platforms and influencer marketing to connect with fans, build communities, and promote music releases. Great fanbases like Team Eddy Kenzo, Gagamel Family, Sheebaholics, and so on have created great value for their artists by helping them win Awards, creating revenues by attending their concerts selling and buying their merchandise, and so on. Similarly, the film industry can harness the power of social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to showcase trailers, and behind-the-scenes content, and engage with audiences in real-time. TV Shows can create fanbases that are strong enough to influence discussion online about the series, but the industry can also use those same channels to pass on information relating to other projects. TV Show fanbases like Team Sanyu, Prestige Fans, and Nabbossa fans online can be nurtured into serious communities that can influence other Ugandans to care about Ugandan film content. Collaborating with social media influencers, bloggers, and digital content creators can also amplify promotional efforts, generate buzz around film releases, and attract younger demographics.Audience Engagement and Interactive Experiences.Interactive experiences have become increasingly popular in the music industry, with virtual concerts, live-streaming events, and interactive fan experiences gaining traction. There are often meet-and-greets with artists, online concerts like Tusker Malt Coversessions, and more. The film industry can explore similar avenues by hosting virtual film screenings, interactive Q&A sessions with filmmakers and cast members, and immersive storytelling experiences through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Engaging audiences in meaningful ways fosters loyalty, and word-of-mouth promotion, and enhances the overall viewing experience.Continuous Learning and Adaptation.Both the music and film industries thrive on continuous learning, adaptation, and staying ahead of evolving trends and technologies. The rapid pace of technological innovation, changing audience preferences, and global market dynamics require industry stakeholders to be agile, innovative, and open to experimentation. Embracing new storytelling formats, exploring emerging distribution channels, and leveraging cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) can position the film industry for long-term success and relevance in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.Symphony of Growth and Innovation.In conclusion, the journey towards growth and success for Uganda's film industry mirrors the harmonious evolution of the music sector. By leveraging social media, embracing audience engagement strategies, fostering collaboration and cross-promotion, and nurturing entrepreneurship and business acumen, the film industry can orchestrate a symphony of growth, innovation, and impact. Drawing inspiration from the music industry's resilience, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit, Uganda's film industry can write its own success story and inspire audiences both locally and globally.Written by Martin Kabagambe.

Gender diversity as a tool to enhance the local film industry.

Having been the bridge between the Ugandan film industry and the Ugandan audience for about six years now, we have observed patterns of inequality in how different genders and tribes dominate the Ugandan film industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean there is an oppressor and the oppressed; it just shows that some languages and genders have been in disadvantaged positions for a long time in the film industry due to uncontrollable conditions within the industry and the history of Uganda and Africa at large.For example, you are more likely to find more women in acting roles than in technical or managerial roles. Similarly, you’re also more likely to find someone from the central region of Uganda in films than from any other region. This is likely because generally, women have been in disadvantaged positions in many jobs historically, and for the latter, most modern advancements have happened in the central region given its proximity to Kampala. These inequalities are changing gradually due to education and partly due to feminism for the women's issue. However, the regional imbalance issue is still slow in its change. We can all help to see it change.Different initiatives have been introduced to try and reduce that imbalance, like the Regional Short Film competition by the Ugandan Communication Commission. Women in Film Uganda also promises to hold training in the upcountry regions in the West and North.But we’re not here to talk about other inequalities or how to help them; we’ll speak about that in another blog. Let’s talk about how we can use gender diversity to help women level up to men, especially in technical roles in the film industry.In recent years, the conversation surrounding gender diversity in the film industry has gained significant traction globally. While Hollywood has been at the forefront of this discussion and it has been welcomed with mixed feelings, likely because of the way Hollywood decided to implement it, it's crucial to recognize that gender diversity is not just a Western concern; it's a global imperative, and Uganda is part of that landscape in the global creative universe. The Ugandan film industry can benefit from gender diversity if the concept is implemented well to not only foster inclusivity but also lead to creative excellence and industry growth. Here are some of the ways:Overcoming Challenges and Building a Supportive Ecosystem for Female Filmmakers.It’s essential to acknowledge and address the challenges that women filmmakers may face in Uganda. Gender diversity makes it easier to spot and address most challenges of female creatives. Some of these challenges include biases and stereotypes, especially for technical roles in filmmaking, limited networking opportunities, and balancing career and family responsibilities. There are instances where we’ve wanted to host some female creatives on some occasions, but we couldn’t because of family commitments. While this can also happen to men, it’s most common in female creatives. Creating a supportive ecosystem involves implementing policies that promote gender equality, addressing unconscious biases, providing mentorship and networking avenues, and offering flexible work arrangements.Creative Excellence.One of the key benefits of embracing gender diversity is the infusion of diverse perspectives and storytelling. Women bring unique experiences, narratives, and visions to the table, enriching the cinematic landscape with fresh ideas and narratives that resonate with a broader audience. This was also echoed by most women creatives like Lora Atwine at the 2023 Women in Film Symposium at the British Council. By empowering women filmmakers, the industry opens doors to a treasure trove of untold stories, cultural insights, and innovative storytelling techniques.Empowerment of Women Filmmakers.Empowerment is at the core of leveraging gender diversity. This involves providing women with equal opportunities, resources, and support to excel in their respective filmmaking roles. Initiatives such as training programs, mentorship opportunities like Women In Film, funding support like Opportunities are Here, and networking platforms can play a pivotal role in nurturing and empowering women filmmakers. By investing in the development and growth of female talent, the industry not only creates a more inclusive environment but also taps into a reservoir of untapped potential.Gender diversity is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic one for sustainability and growth. Studies have consistently shown that diverse teams and perspectives lead to greater innovation, higher productivity, and increased profitability. This has been evident recently in the Ugandan film industry as we’ve seen many Ugandan female filmmakers like Elenor Nabwiso, Doreen Mirembe, Kevin Johns Nabukenya, Patience Nitumwesiga, and more create more compelling movies that not only showcase greater innovation but have also helped them earn a living and create greater opportunities to create wealth for themselves, fellow women, and other populations. By harnessing the creative energies of both men and women, the industry can develop a robust ecosystem that attracts investment, fosters talent retention, and drives economic growth.Collaborative Partnerships.Leveraging gender diversity requires collaborative partnerships and industry advocacy. Stakeholders across the industry, including filmmakers, production houses, distributors, government agencies, NGOs, and advocacy groups, must work together to champion gender diversity and inclusion. This includes advocating for policies that promote gender equality, supporting initiatives that empower women filmmakers, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect. A few shoutouts to organizations that are championing gender diversity; Women In Film Uganda, which is focusing on training and mentoring women creatives but also advocating for better working conditions for them, Sauti Plus which has created training opportunities for women under its iKon Fellowship Program initiative, Tassles Film has also helped create spaces where women can advocate but also find business solutions to their needs in the industry like the Business Summit for Women In Film and more organizations.The good news is that most of the things we’ve written here are already happening on a small scale; we just need to scale them and make them more beneficial for women to have a great lasting impact. You can play your part.Written by Martin Kabagambe

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How the Ugandan Film Industry Can Learn from Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria to take its industry to the next level?

How the Ugandan Film Industry can Learn from Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria to take its industry to the next level?The Ugandan film industry is growing at a commendable pace, with both the quantity and quality of movies improving day by day. The Uganda Communications Commission reported receiving over 300 films for its 11th edition of the Ugandan Film Festival, the majority of which were made in Uganda. This equates to roughly one movie produced per day in Uganda, highlighting a significant output in terms of quantity.However, when it comes to quality, there are still many areas needing improvement, from acting to technical roles within the industry. Additionally, the industry itself is somewhat fragmented and appears to be surviving on a precarious footing, lacking the structural efficiency seen in more developed film industries.In a well-structured, well-functioning film industry, one would expect the influx of movies to correlate with the number of movies premiering in cinemas. This would entail a well-functioning production industry, a robust marketing sector, and an effective distribution network. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Uganda. While we might have a functioning production industry, the marketing and distribution sectors are still underdeveloped.Our neighbors to the east, Kenyans, and our distant neighbors in West Africa (Nigeria) and South Africa seem to be doing better than us in these areas. So, what can we learn from them? A lot.Let’s explain. Government Support.The South African government has provided tax incentives to many international film production companies to shoot their films in South Africa. This is one of the reasons why many international films, such as Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Maze Runner, The Kissing Booth, and many more, were filmed there. These incentives help grow technical talent and increase equipment availability for movie productions. Currently, any camera needed for any shoot can be sourced from South Africa, as many big productions leave their equipment behind as a quid-pro-quo for the incentives provided. While Kenya has implemented similar incentives on a smaller scale, Nigeria has not done so to the same extent (We’ll come back to that in a bit).In contrast, in Uganda, most international film productions are seen as revenue sources and are often overtaxed, causing them to consider alternative countries, even for stories connected to Uganda. For example, the 2018 movie 7 Days in Entebbe was supposed to be shot in Uganda, but Malta offered better financial incentives for shooting, so the movie was ultimately filmed there using their airport. This was a loss of money, skills, technology, and limelight for the Ugandan film industry.This issue extends to the importation of much-needed equipment to improve our quality. Speaking on Twitter Spaces about government intervention, filmmaker Loukman Ali decried the heavy taxes levied on film equipment being imported into the country. This makes it hard and expensive to increase the equipment capacity in the film industry. Although it’s difficult to blame the film industry for such policies, it’s something that needs to be addressed at a national level if we are to compete with the best markets on the African continent.So what can we learn from Nigeria:We cannot solely rely on government support, as governments, especially in Africa, are often slow to innovate and support creativity. This is where the case study of Nigeria comes in. If you have been involved in discussions with Nigerian filmmakers and actors, you would realize that they face issues similar to those faced by Ugandan filmmakers regarding government intervention. However, they have built a larger industry from scratch using their efforts as creators. Nigerians recognized their strengths and capitalized on them to grow their organic audience, helping them become the second largest film industry in the world by volume.You might wonder where all these movies are going and how they are making money despite the competition. Nigerians have built their audience over time. There is a saying from Arts and Culture Journalist Andrew Kaggwa Mayiga that; “You cannot build a film industry without a strong cinema-going culture,” and Nigerians have understood this better than anyone else on the continent. Despite their less structured industry, they have managed to create a way for Nigerians to watch their movies, which has not yet happened in Uganda. Ugandan filmmakers have many excuses for why this isn’t happening as quickly as they would like, but if they can find a way to navigate these excuses and create an organic, consistent audience, it would be a better start than even relying on Multichoice.Consider this: Nigeria grossed close to 17 million USD at the box office in 2023, with only about 1 million USD coming from international films. This figure excludes movie budgets and non-professionally screened films not using box office counters. This translates to approximately 61 billion Ugandan shillings from local films going into Nigerian filmmakers’ pockets from their organic audience. Sacrifices have to be made.What can we learn from Kenya? Kenya, apart from being an East African economic giant with a support system beyond the film industry, doesn’t have much to threaten us in terms of film. However, they are still doing better than us in professionalism and making money from film through investors. Kenya benefits from being the East African economic powerhouse, which looks attractive to many international film investors. As their economy grows, so does the number of capable entertainment buyers. Although Kenya doesn’t have a big film audience compared to South Africa and Nigeria, as seen in the latest Netflix audience statistics of 2023,  it has still managed to stay in the top three for film funding and investment.Apart from their larger economy, we can learn professionalism from Kenyan creators. Professionalism goes beyond being creative in writing and delivering content. It includes how you handle your cast, manage your finances, pitch your ideas, and document your bids. Kenya has been better at this for a long time. This is why when we pitch to Multichoice, we pitch to Kenyan executives, and why most international streaming platforms prefer Kenya over us for investments, as seen with Netflix. We should strive to be as professional as possible to gain the trust of larger investors in the film industry. We’ve had about three big projects recently handled by international streaming giants; we need at least two more each year to learn how to deal with international investors and lobby from them.There is much we can learn from these three industries, but today we’ve singled out these aspects. If we can get them right, we’ll move from the takeoff stage we’ve been in since 2018 to a more significant stage in the film industry.Written by Martin Kabagambe.

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Foreign Investment vs. Local Investment: Where Should I Go?

I recently argued with someone about why Ugandan musicians have not tried to go continental on the African continent or global. Why is there so little effort towards that? We didn’t have an answer. However, there seems to be a reason why Ugandan creatives are comfortable with their local audience. In the film industry, it's even worse because they don’t even have a significant Ugandan audience. I want to compare this to filmmakers sourcing money from investors. What is smarter? To go out or stay local?First of all, who is a Film Investor?A film investor is basically an individual or entity that provides financial backing for film productions. They could be motivated by the potential for profit, a passion for film, or a desire to support certain themes or filmmakers. I'm going to classify them into four categories to make it easier for you to know where you can find them.1. Government and Public FundsThis includes something like the Ugandan Communications Commission's Content Development Support Program, or any other fund set up by the government to help creatives. It's already happening in Uganda, and UCC has spent close to two billion Ugandan shillings on funding film projects. They have also created smaller tiers for newcomers to compete in regional film competitions. These funds are usually easier to handle as the money from these funds is not typically demanded back from the creators. So, if you see such an opportunity, grab it because very few investors don’t operate that way.This can be classified as local investment, and I encourage anyone to participate if there is an opportunity. I will not discuss the effectiveness of these funds in helping the industry because, as is always the case with the public sector, ticking boxes is often prioritized over creating real change, especially in Africa. We’ll talk about that another time.2. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Cultural OrganizationsOther organizations that may not give you a headache when it comes to return on investment are NGOs. They will, however, influence your creativity as they will demand what they want to push as an agenda. NGOs fund content for social reasons and use that content to teach, and advocate for changes either in society as a whole or in the public sector. Usually, executives in NGOs are not creatives and rarely put in the effort to hire creatives to represent them. They will always try to influence the content to ensure “the message is as clear as possible”.There are also NGOs focused on arts and culture, and these tend to be better when it comes to the creativity of the content you produce since they have creatives in their administrations. I will pair these with cultural organizations like kingdoms. These also fund film projects, an example being Goethe-Zentrum Kampala, UNESCO, which funded the African Folktales Reimagined, Buganda Kingdom, and other arts and culture institutions. We have many NGOs in Uganda that have funded content programs, but they can also be international. Most NGOs currently funding film content in Uganda are international.3. Institutional Investors.These might or might not be on your neck for return on investment depending on the agreements you make with them. Institutions like production companies may provide funding for a movie they want to market and sell, and your only responsibility will be to produce the film. These are easy to deal with as there is no pressure to sell the movie. Examples include entities like Netflix, MultiChoice, and StarTimes.Some institutions will give you money but want their money back with profits. In Uganda, I have not seen them yet, and I hope they don’t think they can make that bet here, as the audience is scarce. I don't want to see a filmmaker in jail over unpaid profits from a film.These investors can be both local or international depending on how good your pitch is. Institutional investors are good because they are businessmen who want to make money off the content you’re producing. They will use all their necessary structures to make that happen, saving you the hassle of marketing. In Uganda, since we have a very limited number of these, I could even say it’s only one who is serious, the industry and filmmakers have not really benefited on a grand scale as we would expect from such huge investment. This is because monopoly breeds complacency, resulting in low-quality movies. Additionally, their distribution is so poor that we never get to watch these movies. If they are losing money, that's on them. However, it would be great if we had these movies screened through known channels for Ugandan audiences to build from there.Nevertheless, our lone institutional investor is doing better than anyone (or none), and we hope, as filmmakers, you’ve had your chance of getting paid by them​​​​​​​4. Individual InvestorsFinally, some individuals decide to fund movies. These can be for-profit or non-profit depending on their reasons for funding. For example, when you crowdfund for a movie, the people who donate may not expect profits in return. It’s not common in Uganda to crowdfund for a movie, but I have seen one movie do that and get some money – the short film Nambi, which got close to 5k USD.Other individual film funders will likely want to make money on the movie to recoup their investment. So, if you’re considering going to them for money, make sure you can pay them back. There are also individual arrangements where the filmmaker doesn’t need to pay the money back; always go for those.So, Where Should You Go?Should you go international or stay local? Even though there is so much money in international funding, it’s much harder to get funding from there. The only known international funding in Uganda so far was Loukman Ali’s Katera of the Punishment Island, which was funded by UNESCO and Netflix as part of the six-part short anthology series African Folktales: Reimagined. Should you aim for the big leagues? Absolutely. But should you focus solely on them? I wouldn’t advise that. It’s hard out there. The easy ones will always need you to compromise your creativity, which should be a big deal for you as a filmmaker.There are a couple of opportunities that can work easily for you on the local scene, even though there aren't many. Diversify your efforts, and if that's a hard pill to swallow, collaborate with fellow filmmakers and self-fund. That is always the easier way out, although it seems hard for most Ugandan filmmakers.For musicians, there is nothing that should stop you from aiming as high as possible. The audiences and opportunities are very different for music and film, and you can make it if you put in the effort. Joshua Baraka can testify to that.Written by Martin Kabagambe.

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What Challenges Do Ugandan Filmmakers Face?

What Challenges Do Ugandan Filmmakers Face?Uganda has a rich and vibrant film industry, with talented filmmakers producing high-quality content. However, like many independent filmmakers around the world, they face unique challenges that can hinder their success. In this article, we will explore some of the challenges that Ugandan filmmakers face and how they are overcoming them.1. Limited Funding.One of the biggest challenges for Ugandan filmmakers is limited funding. Unlike big-budget Hollywood productions, independent filmmakers often have to rely on their own resources or seek out funding from grants and investors. In Uganda, less knowledge about how to source filmmaking money from investors makes it difficult for filmmakers to secure the necessary funds to bring their visions to life. This can result in low production values and limited resources for marketing and distribution. There is a change happening since the entry of big movie financiers like Multichoice, StarTimes, and the Uganda Communications Commission. We hope that change accelerates the learning curve for pitching for Ugandan filmmakers so that they can access other sources of filmmaking resources.There are alternatives to pitching for resources, such as combining resources among independent filmmakers through collaborations. However, this hasn’t been a popular approach in Uganda due to most filmmakers' creative differences and sometimes rigidity in creativity.2. Limited Access to Equipment and Technology;Another challenge for Ugandan filmmakers is limited access to state-of-the-art modern equipment and filmmaking technology. Many filmmakers do not have access to high-quality cameras, lighting equipment, and editing software, which can impact the overall quality of their films. This can also make it difficult for them to keep up with the constantly evolving technology in the film industry.Reasons for the limited access to modern technology range from the expensiveness of the technology to the lack of skill to use it. The latter wouldn’t have been a big issue since every technology is learned and skills are acquired; the former is usually the obstacle to access. We have seen movies in Uganda that have tried to use current technology in the visual effects department, like the short film Nambi and the film The Lions of Buganda, which was shot mostly using green screens, among others. However, these methods still remain within affordable means of filmmaking. The best cameras and some necessary gears to create good films remain expensive and inaccessible to the Uganda filmmaking community.3. Lack of Distribution Channels;Once a film is completed, the next challenge for Ugandan filmmakers is finding distribution channels. With limited access to cinemas and traditional distribution methods, many filmmakers struggle to get their films seen by a wider audience. This can result in low box office numbers and limited exposure for their work. Most movies in Uganda literally make less than $1,000, which is far below the cost of making a film anywhere in the world. It becomes extremely difficult to recoup the money these filmmakers invest in movies, given the fact that it’s even their money, as we’ve already explained above, which adds another level of difficulty to filmmaking in Uganda.To make matters worse, even the few available distribution channels are not being utilized fully by filmmakers either because of ignorance or inability to support their movies to use those channels.For example, there have been distribution opportunities on airlines like Qatar and Emirates, but only a few Ugandan filmmakers have had their films on either because they don’t know such opportunities exist or they don’t know how to exploit them. There are over seven cinema halls across the country and thousands of video halls, commonly known as Bibanda, but even these have not been utilized well for common film screenings in these areas. Unlike the airline example, filmmakers know about these channels (Cinemas and Bibanda) but have not tried to use them due to issues regarding marketing and promotion of their movies (we’ll talk about that another day). So, this challenge of lack of distribution channels is somehow self-inflicted and can be solved with baby steps of utilizing the already available channels gradually until they become popular.With the available channels not being utilized, filmmakers have turned to festivals to earn some money back. However, festival earnings are usually small, and very few festivals around the world pay money for movies winning awards. It would be unfair to finish this without acknowledging filmmakers who are doing great when it comes to distributing their content. Filmmakers like Loukman Ali have had some success on international distribution channels like Netflix. Of course, it was a big challenge, but it’s that one drop in the ocean that matters.ConclusionDespite the challenges they face, Ugandan filmmakers continue to produce compelling and thought-provoking films. With limited funding, limited access to equipment, and limited proper distribution channels, they have shown resilience and resourcefulness in pursuing their passion for filmmaking.These are very few and part of the larger problems that we’ll keep exploring as time goes. Today, we decided to just look at those.Let us know what you think is the biggest problem Ugandan filmmakers are facing.Let us know in the comments.Written by Cinema UG.​​​​​​​

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Embracing Opportunities: How to Succeed as a Ugandan Actor in 2024

Happy New Year, and let’s make 2024 count, with mostly the wins to make it count, by being intentional with our moves. This is the year we stop allowing fear to steal the opportunities for growth of our career from us.So, let’s face the new year with boldness and spear through to reach the goals we have set. Welcome to 2024.In this article, we will be talking about how to set goals, and how to achieve them in 2024 as actors in the Ugandan Film Industry, what lies ahead for the actor, what opportunities are there for you and everything you need to look out  for in 2024.Many actors say that they never audition , reason "I didn't receive an answer on the previous audition." Dear, the NOs are part of this job, you are going to have to push beyond the feelings of rejection and you will see that the NOs can and will turn into YESs.Being an actor in 2024 is all about commitment, resilience and diversifying your talent. Keep growing, invest in knowledge, networking, volunteering and mentorship. Take a look at your 2023 and audit it, find the areas in which you have grown, and do a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.What do you have to do in 2024 as an actor?Before we get into what you have to do, let's share some good news you probably missed last year. Uganda Communication Commission gave a grant of over 1.5 billion Ugandan Shillings to over 14 films. Let’s say if every feature film set hires 40 people those will be 560 jobs created and that’s not all, have you seen Sanyu Series, Beloved or Damalie? These TV series hired close to 300 people in 2023 each, The jobs are there. How are you positioning yourself as an actor?1. Set clear Goals for being an Actor in 2024.Iyanla Vanzant wrote: “If you don’t have a vision, you’re going to be stuck in what you know. And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen.”  That statement is valid until you take a bold move, I pray that by the end of this article, you will set SMART goals. Think about what you want, and what it will take for you to get it, then write it down. For example, I will audition 5 times this year, I will attend 3 masterclasses in line with my career. I will do 2 professional photoshoots this year or I will work on my brand to mention but a few make them specific and work towards growing your career milestones.SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound Keep your goals realistic/relevant. Keep the goals realistic about what you can achieve, if you set out to take on 5 audition roles, this is going to require that you list down the projects that you want to work on whether short film, feature film or documentaries, reach out to the directors and express your interests. Remember NOs are part of this job , always pick up yourself and board the next bus to a YES.Set deadlines or targets for your goals. Targets will help you to stay in check. For example, by March I want to be done with 1 masterclass in self-tape, this will help you to look out for that training but also remind you of the effort that you are making to be better. Diversify your craft and goals. You might be a great actor/actres but when your heart starts to pick interest in another field in film, do it- it might be in costume design, makeup, or DOP don’t hesitate to take a chance on yourself, it's worth the try.2. Learn from 2023. There is a saying- you can’t see the future if you don’t learn from your past. Have you had a day in 2023 when they asked for your headshots and you sent selfies because you didn’t have any professional headshots? Don’t make that mistake again, casting directors move on quickly. Have you had a day where they asked for your monologues and you didn’t have any to share? We want to challenge you this year to learn from your past. Take a professional headshot and store the photos on a cloud where you can easily share a link. Pick a monologue from your favorite film, do it, and store it on the cloud as well for easy sharing. Make sure the mistakes you made in 2023 are lessons that push you to do better this year.3. Take an assessment of your achievements. Recently one of the best actors Robina Akello got a role on Sanyu TV series as a maid "Alunyu" she has gone ahead to capture the hearts of many telenovela lovers that her character is becoming one of the most loved and related to she didn’t know she will be this far with the role but she has achieved it. Celebrate all your wins, small or big, they will empower you to move forward.4. Have the boldness to acknowledge how far you've come. Last year at the second edition of Theatre and Performing Arts, Mumbejja Mariam Ndagire shared how they started at Bat Valley, how they used whatever they had to see that people came to the theater, the years of practice, showing up, the discipline of not giving up. When you ask today who are the Best Actresses we have in Uganda, Mumbejja Mariam Ndagire's name will be the 3rd if not the 1st on that list, she made that name on stage. You need to give yourself some credit, you must not lose focus on the future, and take stock of how far you have come. If you manage to achieve your 2024 goals, look back and appreciate the work you are doing. Always remember you are your biggest cheerleader.5. Learn from the good and the bad. Remember we told you that the NOs are part of this job, but you need to make an effort and see why you are not getting the roles. Here is a tip- on the day of auditions, look out for the casting director, share your sincere desire to receive feedback and tell them it will help you to grow and also how to handle the next audition.We have already shared some of the opportunities that are in 2024 and here is what you have to do.Work on your professional Actor's tool - Kit: Casting profiles. CV. Showreel. Headshots. If you have been sending selfies to casting directors, 2024 is the year you brush up and level up. At Cinema UG we have an actor professional CV package starting from 150,000 Ugx. Don’t forget that you are in a competitive world, put your best foot forward and promote and brand yourself well.Diversify: Remember how we told you to get engaged in other film fields that speak   to the core of your heart, this will help you earn an extra income as a makeup artist, a costume designer or any other field you choose.Network: There is power in networking events and we believe 2024 has a number of them loaded i.e. Ikon Awards 2024, UFF 2024, Women in Film second edition, Ngalabi Short Film Festival, Film Club Uganda that happens every Tuesday at National Theatre, try to have a purpose for every event that you attend this coming year i.e. meeting the casting director of Beloved, Damalie or Sanyu can be your target and remember always have your kit ready.Take an acting class Ahh!! you might wonder, YES take that class, when was the last time you took a month or 3 months of serious study in your line of work? When was the last time you enrolled for an online film class? It's time this year you take back your boat of knowledge and purpose to expand your interact. The acting class will help you learn how to secure the next job but also see the acting job professionally.Finally, but not least6. Grow your creative community. Do you honestly have a group of accountable partners that will tell you about your mistakes? Those who will celebrate with you during your wins but also hold you when your ship feels stranded? The creative sector registers high rates of mental illness, depression, anxiety and suicide because oftentimes the journey gets lonely but will a lot of doubts and fears of how genuinely celebrate you when you win. Grow your community.In conclusion, 2024 is going to be the year that you make it to be.Written by Cinema UG

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The 7 Ps of Film Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Your Movie.

Marketing for Film is the process of getting people interested in your film. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal target audience and their interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.The market research stage will therefore provide data regarding the 7 P's of marketing. These are Product/ service, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process.Product: in film, the product will be the film however the nature of the film will be the determinant. The film is defined through its themes. So any filmmaker should be able to identify the theme in the story they’re telling. Is it about love, family drama, horror, adventure, sci-fi, historical, biopic, high school classic, musical, or sport? This different theme will be fundamental in helping the marketing team identify the target audience and how to package/brand the film.Price: after identifying the target audience, it is important to analyze the pricing theory that will be most viable in achieving the financial goal of the film. The distribution plan will also be considered for example how much will theater ticket cost, how much will the DVD cost, and how much should be expected from the SVOD, VOD, and probably the pay TV.Promotion: this is the process of creating awareness of the product within the target audience. This is a lengthy and demanding process that will require the use of ABOVE THE LINE, THROUGH THE LINE, and BELOW THE LINE marketing strategies.People: this is the most important utility in the distribution chain. People are the target audience, the reason why possible you’re making the film. It is therefore crucial to identify the right audience and understand their interests as a move to create a film family that will guarantee a market for your film.Packaging: we have already discussed branding your film. Packaging is the look and feel of any product. The film will also require a good package. This will be achieved through identifying the themes and giving the film a look that says everything about the themes within. When we package, you will create a brand identity that your film family will religiously want to associate with. This in turn will enable the creation of a film franchise. Symbolism is also very key in this element.Process: this now answers the question of how everything is going to be achieved. Yes, you have developed an amazing marketing and distribution plan but how will it be achieved? This will include strategizing and drawing time frames as well as achieving target dates.This is therefore referred to as strategic marketing analysis. The main reason and advantage of engaging the marketing agency or company team is to have a risk assessment process and potential return on investment (ROI).Any filmmaker therefore with the intention of doing a film project as a business should understand the relevance and importance of the marketing team from the very start. One of the things very crucial about any product or service is packaging or the look and feel of your product. This is the process of creating a brand. Through the process of marketing research, the film will get an identity which is the brand. This is a powerful tool that will help you create a passionate brand family. You will develop a culture where people feel attached to the film brand and this will help you in trying to monetize the film beyond screenings and franchises as well.The film marketing budget will therefore take a good portion of the entire film budget because of the essence of marketing to film. Filmmakers should have a clear marketing and distribution roadmap right from the start as long as the ultimate goal is to achieve a return on investment.It is therefore very challenging for any producer to achieve financial returns on their film if they only start marketing after production. It is like starting a beef business without knowing the community is vegetarian.Oftentimes filmmakers are not good at business/ marketing, it is therefore imperative for the writer to consult a distributor or marketing agency about their film idea, where and how it will make economic sense, and what idea can be of help in identifying the target audience. Sharing ideas with the marketing team at the initial stage makes the entire marketing plan/ road map more smooth and seemingly achievable.NOTE: Whether for profit or not, marketing is a very crucial part of filmmaking and the stages of engagement will depend on the audience, purpose, and sources of funding.​​​​​​​By Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor/ Writer/ Director

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Why Uganda Tourism Players Should Invest In Film Industry?

Nigeria, which is Africa’s giant in the movie business, reaps over USD 3 billion from the industry. It’s also among the Top 5 global earners in the film business. The money is generated from the box office, local market, and tourism fuelled by films. That is what is missing in Uganda’s tourism industry. Uganda seems to be rich in stories, and physical features for shooting locations, and actually, we also have the talent. So, what is the real problem? Unlike Uganda, South Africa offers tax holidays, and waivers, and even reimburses money when a filmmaker spends more than a million dollars on film production in South Africa. Foreign filmmakers are encouraged to hire local South African talent in their production. This is not the case for Uganda, which still lags in harnessing opportunities. “Seven Days at Entebbe was shot in Malta because it gave the production company tax waivers and an airport that resembled the old Entebbe Airport. We missed seeing our local attire, aerial view of Lake Victoria, and scenes of Entebbe.Most of these scenes would have turned into tourism spots,” Mr. Kagwa, who sits on the Uganda Oscars selection committee, told Daily Monitor. Someone may underestimate the power of film but the facts will prove you wrong.According to some reports, the Queen of Katwe movie increased the number of foreign tourists in the slum areas of Katwe and Kampala as a whole. The movie was screened on the Disney Channel with an average of 1.23 million viewers. The Disney Facebook page has over 30 million followers, not forgetting the rest of the social media platforms. Actor David Oyelowo has over a million followers on social media while Lupita Nyong’o has over 5 million followers on Facebook and Twitter combined. That means Uganda was exposed to the rest of the world, and this did not only happen once (during its theatrical time) but also afterward because movies continue to be viewed even after their Cinema time.​​​​​​​With shooting locations such as River Nile where the Hollywood movie “African Queen” was shot, Queen Elizabeth National Park with a good Savannah climate for action movies, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Lake Bunyonyi which inspired some features in Black Panther, and many others, Uganda’s physical, cultural and social features hold big potential for film investment.The film Last King of Scotland increased awareness (knowledge) about Uganda more than anything else as it attracted Hollywood and world cameras to Uganda. The actor Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for the film, making it even more popular. The film did not only bring Hollywood stars such as Kelly Washington and James McAvoy to Uganda, but it also boosted Uganda’s tourism appeal abroad. One of Uganda’s most famous locally produced movies, “Who Killed Captain Alex” got over 2 million views on YouTube just for its trailer. Imagine it was shot in one of the best tourist sites around the country! Investing in the film industry to promote tourism is way cheaper than direct advertising by the Uganda Tourism Board. An average Ugandan movie goes for USD 15,000, which is over 60 million Ugandan shillings, and on average it reaches at least 2 million Ugandans. A simple advert on television can cost up to Shs 400 million depending on the time it runs. The former stays for many years (if not forever) but the latter might be forgotten a month after it has stopped running. So, how can this be done?Reduce taxes on high-quality film materials such as cameras for private investors to afford them. This will promote quality in the film industry, restore confidence in the Ugandan film fan base, and increase its viewing.  Sponsor film writers, producers, and directors to produce films that show the beauty (physical) and culture of Uganda directly by injecting money not only into the film-making business but also into the distribution process. Take advantage of Uganda having a famous decision-maker in Hollywood. Tendo Nagenda is the Vice President of Production in the biggest production house in the world but has only managed to lobby one movie out of Uganda - Queen of Katwe. By Martin Kabagambe​​​​​​​

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Why as a filmmaker you need a press kit for your film?

We often get requests from filmmakers to advertise and market their films on Cinema UG's social media platforms. The first thing we usually ask for is the press kit. Unfortunately, very few filmmakers always provide the press kit for their films. So what’s the press kit and why is it important for your film?A press kit is a page or a folder on a film’s website, that talks about the film It includes, a synopsis, cast, and their photos, selected cast and crew biography, a few behind-scenes photos, and all the necessary information about your film. It makes it easy for journalists to get the facts, information, and media of your movie from one spot.  It serves as a comprehensive package of information and promotional materials designed to generate interest and coverage from the media, critics, and potential distributors or investors. ​​​​​​​Here are some key reasons why a press kit is important in film marketing:1. Media Coverage: Journalists and critics often need quick access to information and materials for their articles and reviews. Providing a press kit with high-quality images, trailers, and relevant documents can make their job easier and increase the chances of getting media coverage.2. Festival Submissions: When submitting your film to film festivals, having a press kit can be a requirement. Festivals use press kits to evaluate the films they select and to prepare materials for their own promotional efforts.3. Marketing and Promotion: Distributors, sales agents, and other industry professionals may use your press kit as a resource when considering whether to acquire or promote your film. It provides them with a comprehensive overview of the film's potential.4. Consistency: A press kit helps ensure that everyone involved in promoting your film has access to the same information and materials. This ensures consistency in messaging and branding.5. Networking: When attending film festivals, markets, or industry events, having physical copies of your press kit to distribute can help you network with potential partners, investors, and collaborators.6. Online Presence: A digital press kit can be easily shared on your film's website, social media platforms, and through email. This allows you to reach a wider audience and generate buzz online.7. Information Dissemination: A press kit contains all the necessary information about your film, such as the synopsis, cast and crew bios, production notes, and other relevant details. This makes it easy for journalists to write articles or reviews about your film.The journalist looking for a press kit already knows about your film and wants to get his facts right and the right media that he will publish about your movie. Unfortunately, most of the filmmakers we have talked to will send you one thing at a time as you ask. Some journalists do not have that time.  The press kit won’t only make it easy for you to promote your film here in Uganda but will also be required in some submissions to festivals.The press kit is sent to the organizing committee of the festival along with an application for participation or at the festival request when the film is already included in the competition program. Some festivals will publish press kits on their websites, others place print versions at the information desks in the press rooms and distribute them to the media before press shows.Most times the press kit comes into the hands of journalists before the screening of the film, forming the first impression of the film and its author. So, you must work on it in the best way you can.Learn what are the key elements to include in an Electronic Press kit in our next blog.By Jesca Ahimbisibwe and Martin Kabagambe.

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How to identify your film's market at script level?

Film as a business means the final product which is either a short film, feature film or series becomes a commodity of demand which will require the principle of marketing. The big question therefore remains, ‘How then do I identify my target market at the initial stages?’The most important element in any story is its “theme.” Theme drives the plot within any given story. As a storyteller, what themes drive your story is a fundamental question in helping you identify your target market.  Themes in the film refer to a central unifying concept. It evokes a universal human experience and can be stated in one word or short phrase, for example, love, death, or coming to age. A theme may never be stated explicitly but is exemplified by the film's plot, dialogue, cinematography, and music. (Lion King song). So it is the theme that will ideally identify what your plot is all about and who could be interested in it. On several occasions when you interest people about your film, the first question they might ask you is, “What is your film all about?” In short, they are trying to ask you what the theme of the film is and if it could be in their interest. Therefore being able to identify the themes within the film will greatly help in identifying the marketing plan or direction. Most film festivals Will actually be very specific on the themes they require for any film to participate in the festival. So if you intend to use the festival as a distribution platform, knowing the theme for the festival will help you know if your film qualifies or not.THEMES answer the question “What story am I telling and who could it relate with because it is most likely that only those people who relate to the themes within your film will spend on it and that is your primary market. Themes as described earlier will drive your plot/ story and this will be manifested in different forms like the character, dialogue, sound, color themes, and cinematography. This is exactly what marketing is all about. Marketing your film will require your characters, unique quotes within their dialogue, amazing sound, symbolic color themes and all this explains why and how themes are very important in identifying your target market. Factually if you’re unable to identify any themes within the film script, possible you have no target market and nobody could be interested in watching your film.Finally, the marketing team will ask you what themes the film incorporates in a bid to identify the potential market and how best to reach them while using the theme codes. It will therefore be a mountain task for the marketing team to successfully reach and exhaust the market if the film can’t exhibit any themes. It will be like winking at a girl in the dark, you know what you’re doing but she has no idea whatsoever.By: Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor / Writer / Director / Consultant​​​​​​

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When does marketing for film start?

Marketing as a noun is the activity or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. Therefore film as a form of entertainment can be classified as a service and thereby calls for marketing.Marketing for Film is the process of getting people interested in your film. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal target audience and their interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.When does marketing for film start then? Since marketing isn’t just an invention but a process that takes several stages, marketing film therefore starts immediately after you conceive the idea. Like any other new product or service, when an idea is generated the marketing team starts the market research process to try and identify things like the potential target audience, their interests, the competitors, distribution channels, and any relevant data that will make the product/ service a success.The market research stage will therefore provide data regarding the 7 P's of marketing. These are Product/ service, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process.This is therefore referred to as strategic marketing analysis. The main reason and advantage of engaging the marketing agency or company team is to have a risk assessment process and potential return on investment (ROI).Any filmmaker therefore with an intention of doing a film project as a business should understand the relevance and importance of the marketing team from the very start. One of the things very crucial about any product or service is packaging or the look and feel of your product. This is the process of creating a brand. Through the process of marketing research, the film will get an identity which is the brand. This is a powerful tool that will help you create a passionate brand family. You will develop a culture where people feel attached to the film brand and this will help you in trying to monetize the film beyond screenings and franchises as well.The film marketing budget will therefore take a good portion of the entire film budget because of the essence of marketing to film. Filmmakers should have a clear marketing and distribution roadmap right from the start as long as the ultimate goal is to achieve a return on investment.It is therefore very challenging for any producer to achieve financial returns on their film if they only start marketing after production. It is like starting a beef business without knowing the community is vegetarian.Oftentimes filmmakers are not good at business/ marketing, It is therefore imperative for the writer to consult a distributor or marketing agency about their film idea, where and how it will make economic sense, and what idea can be of help in identifying the target audience. Sharing ideas with the marketing team at the initial stage makes the entire marketing plan/ road map more smooth and seemingly achievable.IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU MARKET A FILM AFTER PRODUCTION?All those film projects are commissioned through grants and similar funding where the primary goal is not a return on investment but rather educational and societal awareness. Such projects will require marketing just to inform the audience of the screening schedules and the themes of the film. These are most non-profit making film projects with special and particular audiences.NOTE: Whether for profit or not, marketing is a very crucial part of filmmaking and the stages of engagement will depend on the audience, purpose, and sources of funding.By Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor/ Writer/ Director

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Uganda Film Festival to Award Makeup Artists

For the past nine years, the Ugandan Film Festival has celebrated the best of Ugandan cinema. However, in those nine editions, there was no category that recognized the art of makeup. That all changed with the 10th edition. The festival organizers have finally acknowledged the significant contribution that makeup artists make to the film industry.Makeup has always been an essential component of filmmaking. It helps to transform actors into their characters, making them look and feel like someone else entirely. From creating wounds and scars to aging actors, makeup artists play a crucial role in bringing a film to life. In many ways, they are the unsung heroes of the film industry.Despite the vital role that makeup plays in filmmaking, it has often been overlooked in many film festivals, including the Ugandan Film Festival. For years, makeup artists have had to settle for recognition from their peers, and their work was not always appreciated by audiences or critics. That will change going forward.  This addition comes after several other events in the film makeup world that have happened this year so far, that is, Enakaziba Makeup Exhibition and the fact that the recently concluded iKon Awards has the category. The addition of the Best Makeup category is a significant step forward for the Ugandan Film Festival. It shows that the festival organizers recognize the value of makeup artists and their contribution to the industry. By creating a dedicated category for makeup, they are giving artists the recognition they deserve and encouraging more filmmakers to pay attention to this essential aspect of filmmaking.One of the main benefits of the new category is that it will help add efforts to already existing initiatives in raising awareness about makeup and its importance in filmmaking. This, in turn, will lead to more filmmakers prioritizing makeup in their productions, which will ultimately result in better-quality films. When makeup is done well, it can add an extra layer of depth to a character and help to create a more immersive experience for the audience. By recognizing the importance of makeup, the Ugandan Film Festival is encouraging filmmakers to pay attention to this crucial aspect of filmmaking and to produce better films as a result.For the filmmakers and the make-up artists, it’s your time to also shine at the Ugandan Film Festival with the faces you’ve created.

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Trying to get hired as an actor? Listen …

Getting hired as an actor in this Ugandan Film Industry isn’t easy, especially for the new actors in the game. I will be listing down what you need as an actor to excel at auditions. Okay, let’s talk about auditions. Auditions! are an interview for a role or job as a singer, actor, dancer, or musician, consisting of a practical demonstration of the candidate's suitability and skill. Auditioning for a movie is not a cup of tea, especially when you are new to the process. It’s always the anxiety and insecurity.​​​​​​​I will take you through some of the things you should know before you go for the auditions. What to do and what not to do during that moment to please the casting directors. I will use examples and explanations given by the three guest speakers at a recently concluded Film Club Uganda meeting on Tuesday 5th April 2022.  The guest speakers of the sessions were Richard Mulindwa a director with Limit Production, Andrew Kagwa Mayiga a season art journalist, and Michael Wawuyo Jr an actor.        I will break this into three to approach this problem;How to do what is expected of you?How not to do what is not expected of you?What is the one thing you need to do before the audition that will help you at the audition? When these three are understood well, one is expected to get a gig, but even when he doesn’t get it, if the casting directors love you, you may be called on their next project.How to do what is expected of you dress appropriately. The dress code gives the casting director an impression of you even before acting. I will just say, don’t be shabby, but don’t be over-fashionable. “Don’t overthink this one. You’re going to a job audition. Be professional without overdressing. Don’t dress too “part specific.” If you are reading for a doctor and show up in scrubs, it’s harder for anyone to imagine you as the lawyer—especially if the producers are choosing from tape.” Jeremy Gordon, an L.A.-based casting director says.  Use your waiting time wisely. There is a lot to talk about but I will summarize it as much as possible. Arrive as early as possible, if possible, earlier than the set time by the casting directors. Don’t use your waiting time gossiping, instead use it as a time to rehearse and master your lines to relieve all the stress and pressure. Introduce yourself. This is a tricky one, you have to be ready to read the room and know what to do when, and how. First, the casting director(s) will likely tell you what to do once you enter. If they don’t ask you anything, just say the name and the role you are auditioning for. Be confident, it’s usually a likable character. It sounds simple but it takes practice. Walk in the door with your head held high. Be wary of shuffling feet. 1. How not to do what is not expected of you.Don’t be overconfident. Being overconfident makes you do things that you think are right when in actual sense you are messing up. Be humble and do what you should be doing and don’t cross the line. Don’t be rude and a know-it-all. Michael Wawuyo called it a diva. No one wants to interact with someone who thinks he/she knows more than them. Directors want actors who are directable and can do what exactly is told to them. Be that actor in the room. Don’t watch the directors. Act it out from your heart and make the body bring out what is inside the character. Don’t yell throughout your entire audition. No one wants to be screamed at for two minutes… or five minutes. Find levels, dynamics, natural builds, and rhythms within your audition material.2. What is the one thing you need to do/know before the audition that will help you at the audition? You need to work at it every day. If you want to be good at something, work on it every day as you add a brick to the house you are building. This is the same for acting; auditions portray what you have been doing all along as an actor. If you can do a monologue every day, that means that every day that passes you become better at it. Expect rejections. You will not get a role every time you go for an audition; it doesn’t mean you are too bad to act. In fact, you will get many of those, but the more you go to auditions the more you learn what is required of you and make yourself better for the next one.Know your “type”. Knowing yourself is the first step towards improvement. Knowing your strength and weakness will help go for those roles you will most likely win, or those roles you will execute best.Work on yourself. By this, I mean your body's physical appearance and smell. Director Mulindwa emphasized that an actor must look good. If you can go to the gym, please go there; if you can do anything to look good please do. Although there is always a role for anyone, the good-looking actor will always get the first cut unless they are looking for a specific person of your type. If you can get an acting coach, please do. This goes to especially those that aren’t signed under any production company. Those in a production house practice almost every day because they have projects to work on.Written by Martin Kabagambe 

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