My journey from banking to movie production –Airebamen

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By Agatha Emeadi

Popularly Bami Greg’s, Maureen Airebamen is an interesting multi-talented lady who is a scriptwriter, producer, designer and actress in movies shown on on African Magic and IrokoTV.

In a recent chat with the Sunday Sun, Bami revealed that when she was nine years, her father got her a desktop to write her scripts while her siblings played. In this interview she parts the curtain, to give EXPLORE a peek into her life and an insight to her work in the creative industry.

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What critical gap can you see between the entertainment industry in Nigeria and what we have in foreign countries?

Writers are usually kept away from the production process. After they write, they are no longer consulted which isn’t healthy for the story. Because the director needs to understand the writer’s mind and even though many of them believe they do, they can actually make their work easier by consulting with the writers. It is important that as a director one works with the writer because it’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, welfare of members of the creative industry because most of them often fall ill and get little or no care…

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The government has to create better incentives and rebates to encourage operators in the industry. Also, renowned filmmakers should encourage and assist the younger ones to climb higher and achieve more. With support and encouragement from all angles, production will be very effective.

Where did all these start from for you?

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I studied Philosophy and graduated from University of Benin. I also hold a Masters’ degree in Public and International Affairs. I have always liked the performing arts. From my nursery school days, after school, I would perform drama for my mum in the sitting room and recite poems. That spurred me to start looking into that creative path in me. At nine years, my father got 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 dreamt a lot. I dreamt of stories and cooked them up. After graduation, I came to Lagos and got a job in the banking sector but got bored after a while and left to pursue my dream in script writing and film making. I started writing scripts for African Magic and other independent producers like IrokoTV.

How did you get into the Tinsel team?

Audition! I went for audition. I was also on Hush, another African Magic production, Two Sides of A Coin, The Arrangement and Survival’s Guilt. I actually got Hush as a writer, but I decided to audition for a role and I got both.

What made you stand out?

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I did a monologue.  Shakespeare’s monologue for one of his plays as a male character, Brutus. The guy was moved because I spoke like a man and delivered it like a man which was different. The crowd was crazy, they told me wow and called me up the next day. That was how I got that role.

Talk about your first script and others?

My first script was Control Freak. It was written in 2015 and aired well on African Magic and also wrote “Nwanyioma” for a producer which was in the Top 10 in 2015 on IrokoTV app. Nwayioma did very well and the director was fantastic. Both scripts did well and we were all happy. So, I told myself, ‘why don’t you start producing your own work?’ That was when I wrote another script and produced in 2019 called Jumbled. I had a beautiful storyline and it did very well in the cinema. Jumbled had actors like Lilian Esoro, Kenneth Okolie, Femi Adebayo, Eucharia Anunobi and Wale Ojo. That was my major breakthrough and I discovered the room for improvement. The feedback was also very good. After it, I started getting a lot of calls and I decided to focus on  producing. I used to act and write at the time. I was on Tinsel for a long while. I played the role of one of the staff in the office. I was 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 called ‘Third Avenue Series’ which centred on two male flatmates and a female squatter. The female ironically took over the room of one of the flatmates and it became a part of their lives. I am delighted to have been commissioned by Acceleratetv where it is being aired.


What are you currently working on?

I was asked to produce a series called Third Avenue mid last year. It is my story but with my experience working with African Magic, I realised that its richer when you get inputs from someone  else. So, I got a lady called Elo, who is new to scriptwriting 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 got actors like Jidekene  Achufusu who acted 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 is presently showing on AccelerateTV. The traffic is beautiful. I got into AccelerateTV and had to do a pilot episode because it was my first television series. I did the pilot with a couple of friends like Blossom Chukwujekwu, Esther of Big brother. Then my friend Esse Akwawa saw it and liked it. She said she was going to share the idea with her boss, Colette Otusheso, chief exective of AccelerateTV. She saw it and liked it and commissioned me to do the series for them. I was the producer and I had a director, Tope Alake, who did very well. We had a great crew and things moved smoothly. Of course, they had their quality controls and she trusted that I was going to deliver. It is showing on YouTube and the traffic is amazing. Hopefully we will do a Season 2.

 As a young talented lady, have you a bad experience with guys?

 Of course! As a girl, guys will lie to you that they love you. Meanwhile, you are probably a side chic, not even an immediate side chic. Just someone that they want to have fun with. Also, I have had guys that claimed to like me but we›re always looking at my phone to see my bank account. I have had those kinds of experiences and then they want to come to your house and eat while pretending that they love you. Meanwhile, they are just after your money or just want to sleep with you. It is that bad in Lagos and these are things people can relate with both male and female.

Would you say that the society encourages all these?

 Oh yes! It does. Even on the social media, the people that we are clapping for are living fake life. For example, this might be someone borrowing clothes, sleeping with 10 men to keep up and so on.