By Agatha Emeadi
Popularly From Bami Greg, Maureen Airebamen is an interesting, multi-talented woman who is a writer, producer, designer and actress in films airing on African Magic and IrokoTV.
In a recent chat with the Sunday Sun, Bami revealed that when he was nine, his father gave him a computer to write his scripts while his siblings played. In this interview, she pulls back the curtain to give EXPLORE a glimpse into her life and insight into her work in the creative industry.
What critical gap can you see between the entertainment industry in Nigeria and what we have in foreign countries?
Writers are generally kept out of the production process. Once they write, they are not consulted again, which is not healthy for the story. Because the director needs to understand the mind of the writer and even though many of them believe that, they can actually make their job easier by consulting the writers. It’s important that as a director you work with the writer because he’s the writer’s baby and no one can tell your story better than the writer.
What improvement do we need in terms of policies, the welfare of members of the creative industry as most of them often fall ill and receive little or no care…
The government needs to create better incentives and rebates to encourage operators in the industry. Plus, big-name filmmakers should encourage and help younger kids to climb higher and achieve more. With support and encouragement from all angles, the production will be very successful.
Where did it all start for you?
I studied philosophy and graduated from the University of Benin. I also hold a master’s degree in public and international affairs. I have always loved the performing arts. Since my kindergarten days, after school, I played theater for my mother in the living room and recited poems. It inspired me to start exploring this creative path within me. When I was nine my dad bought me a desktop computer which I used to write scripts and it was just a happy place for me. While my siblings played in their spare time, I wrote scripts because I had a very strong imaginative prowess and I dreamed a lot. I dreamed up stories and I concocted them. After graduating I came to Lagos and got a job in banking but got bored after a while and left to pursue my dream in screenwriting and filmmaking. filmmaking. I started writing scripts for African Magic and other independent producers like IrokoTV.
How did you come to Tinsel’s team?
Hearing! I went to audition. I was also on Hush, another African Magic production, Two Sides of A Coin, The Arrangement and Survival’s Guilt. I actually had Hush as a writer, but I decided to audition for one part and got both.
What made you stand out?
I did a monologue. Shakespeare’s monologue for one of his plays as a male character, Brutus. The guy got emotional because I spoke like a man and pronounced it like a man, which was different. The crowd was crazy, they said wow and called me the next day. That’s how I got this role.
Are you talking about your first script and the others?
My first script was Control Freak. It was written in 2015 and streamed well on African Magic and also wrote “Nwanyioma” for a producer who was in Top 10 in 2015 on IrokoTV app. Nwayioma did very well and the director was fantastic. Both scripts worked well and we were all happy. So I thought, ‘why don’t you start producing your own work?’ That’s when I wrote another script and produced in 2019 called Jumbled. I had a great story and it did very well in the cinema. Jumbled had actors like Lilian Esoro, Kenneth Okolie, Femi Adebayo, Eucharia Anunobi, and Wale Ojo. This was my major breakthrough and I discovered room for improvement. Feedback was also very good. After that, I started getting a lot of calls and decided to focus on production. I used to act and write back then. I was on Tinsel for a long time. I played the role of an office staff member. I stayed there for about three to four years. We used to shoot on a monthly basis and decided that scriptwriting was what I wanted to do. I just produced my first comedy web series titled “Third Avenue Series”, centering on two male roommates and a female squatter. Ironically, the woman took over the room from one of the housemates and it became part of their lives. I am delighted to have been commissioned by Acceleratetv where it is broadcast.
What are you currently working on?
I was asked to produce a series called Third Avenue in the middle of last year. It’s my story but with my experience of working with African Magic, I realized that it is richer when you receive contributions from someone else. So, I had a lady named Elo, who is new to screenwriting but very good. We worked on it together and she wrote three episodes very well. She did more and I produced it last year. I had actors like Jidekene Achufusu who starred in Living in Bondage, Lillian Afegbai who was in Big Brother, David Jones David and Tope Olowoniyan with the stage name Pamela.
We produced it last year and it’s currently airing on AccelerateTV. Traffic is fine. I got into AccelerateTV and had to do a pilot episode because it was my first TV series. I did the pilot with some friends like Blossom Chukwujekwu, Esther from Big brother. Then my friend Esse Akwawa saw it and liked it. She said she would share the idea with her boss, Colette Otusheso, general manager of AccelerateTV. She saw it and liked it and commissioned me to do the show for them. I was the producer and I had a director, Tope Alake, who was doing very well. We had a great team and things went well. Of course they had their quality checks and she was confident that I was going to deliver. It’s posted on YouTube and the traffic is amazing. I hope we will do a season 2.
As a talented young woman, do you have a bad experience with guys?
Sure! As a girl, guys will lie to you saying they like you. Meanwhile, you’re probably a chic side, not even an immediate chic side. Just someone they want to have fun with. Also, I’ve had guys claim to like me but we still check my phone to see my bank account. I’ve had these kinds of experiences and then they want to come to your house and eat pretending they love you. Meanwhile, they are just after your money or just want to sleep with you. It’s so bad in Lagos and these are things that people can associate with both men and women.
Would you say that society encourages all of this?
Oh yes! It does. Even on social media, the people we applaud are living fake lives. For example, it could be someone who borrows clothes, sleeps with 10 men to keep busy, etc.