Producer and Director, Biodun Stephen sits with Chude Jideonwo, host of #WithChude to discuss switching careers, becoming a director and producer, working on phenomenal projects likeIntroducing the Kujus, Glimpse, Aki and PawPaw, Breaded Life, and working with Bimbo Ademoye, Bisola Aiyeola, and TiminiEgbuson.
“Right after university, I got a job in radio. I was at Star FM. At that time, Radio business had not developed to what it is now, it was just you playing music and talking. Later, I got an opportunity to work at Insight as copywriter, so I worked there for a few years. Then, I got bored and I said, ‘maybe, I have missed the radio’. So, I returned tothe radio, but this time I knew what I wanted to do. We started something called ‘Whispers’, for people to share life experiences. All this while, we were still going for auditions. I had slipped into depression in between. This time, I had my first and second daughter. I realized that I wanted to be on TV, and I was not doing what I am supposed to do’. Then my husband said I should go and learn something related to TV; this was when I decided to go to film school. When I returned, we did ‘The Visit’. Before the nominations of the AMVCA 2015, I had a total breakdown. I had returned from studying abroad at the London Film Academy, and I thought thatwould get me through the doors, but it wasn’t happening like that.So, I had a huge breakdown, and I was crying. Usually, my husband cannot handle me crying but for some reason that day he was calm, and he said, ‘Let’s pray’. He just said one prayer, ‘God, please fulfill our desires’. Shortly after that we got the nomination for AMVCA, and I think that was God just telling me, ‘This is what you are supposed to do’. It then hit me, my place was not in front of the camera, my place was behind the camera. The moment I accepted that wholeheartedly, and I stopped chasing being an actor, everything fell in place.”
Biodun also shared about her creative process, saying, “I write as a fragment of me, I don’t waste any necessary experience – good, bad, or ugly. I always incorporate them into my stories. When I am writing, I write as the actor. Every emotion that the actor was feeling, I felt it when I was writing. I write with the strength of the actor, so it is easy for the actor to take on the role or embody it because I wrote it with them in mind.”
Speaking on the inspiration behind her film, ‘Joba’, she shared,
“I was listening to a song by Psalmos featuring Tope Alabi, ‘Jesu Joba’. I was going for a meeting from my house in Ogba to Lekki. It was on repeat, and I just said, ‘There’s a story in here.’ God showed me the story and I kid you not, I was in traffic, and my windshield turned into a TV. I started seeing the pictures. I heard Abraham, I heard Isaac, I saw when he was about to slaughter him. Everything was mumbo jumbo, and I was like, ‘Lord, hold this, let me get home, let me get home.’ I got home, went into my room, and I texted my husband, ‘Don’t come in until I’m done.’ Then, I started writing. I finished writing at about 3 am, and I went to sleep. After that, I posted on social media that I had just written a beautiful, powerful story that I’m so blessed with. I was just talking about it, and two days later, somebody sent me a text from South Africa and said, ‘God said let me work with you on this film.’ I did not answer, I thought it was a scam. I did not reply. Then the next day, the woman said, ‘The Holy Spirit said you have just created a film that we should do together. I’m in SA, and this is my number.’ My husband said, ‘Well, let’s call the number.’ We called, and I asked, ‘In what way (do you want to work with me), ma?’ She then inquired, ‘How much do you need to make this film?’”
Biodun also shared how the film ‘Glimpse’ was part of her story. She recounted that she had issues with her landlord’s girlfriend who was demanding rent renewal during the early part of her marriage when they couldn’t find the money.
“Someone had told me, ‘Come and see me. How much is the money? We will sort it out for you.’ It was a lot of temptation. I remember going in for the meeting, and the man promised to give me the money the next day. He called me the next day and told me to meet him at a hotel. I informed my husband, and he said he would drive me there. When we got there, he said he forgot the cheque, and we went back home crying.”
Watch the excerpt here: