Film & Television

Why Actors Need Multiple Streams of Income- Omokhodion


Felix Ugo Omokhodion is an in-demand actor, model and producer. He became popular for his 2006 television series, ‘One Love’, and has also played key roles in best-selling Nollywood movies namely ‘Things I hate about you’, ‘The Chronicles’ and ‘Celebrity Marriage’.

With a first degree in Computer science from Lagos State University and to up his ante, he proceeded to Lees Strasberg Film Institute, Los Angeles, California where he studied Method Acting. In this exclusive interview with Ngozi Uma, he speaks on his early beginning as an actor, and what Nigeria Actors Guild and government can do to build a well-structured film industry in Nigeria. 

Can you share with us some of the challenges you encountered at the early beginning of your acting career? 

As an actor, the challenge I faced in the film industry was after my first TV show ‘one love’. I thought it was going to be an easy run; I was already popular. It was between 2006 and 2007. I felt that the job would keep coming like that (laughs) but it wasn’t really like that I have to keep going for auditions. Many actors can relate to how we used to go for audition marathons. I had to audition for roles, and I had to prove myself again and again. Not only that, I had to find a way to train myself formally as an actor and practitioner when I made some money; and learn how to really thrive in the industry, to know the onions and everything about acting. Not just being an actor but the business part of being an actor

Another challenge was my evolving into myself. Trying to be a better version of myself. Coping with the evolution of things: new stars keep coming up, new kinds of content, and direction of the target audience in terms of content creation. You know how it is with Nigerian people, you always have to be able to keep them glued to what you are offering if not they would get bored.

You have starred in many movies, which of the movies are your favourites?


I have a couple of movies that I have acted in that are close to my heart. They were wonderful stories and there was chemistry among the actors on set. Like ‘Things I Hate About You’ where I acted along with Jackie Appiah and Calista Okoronkwo among others.

There is ‘ The Chronicle’ where I had to portray the character ‘Mbakwe’. It is a story of the Oriental Brothers. I enjoyed the character a lot because I had to come out of the box. I always enjoyed it when I am presented with a challenging character.

What inspired you to join the film industry? Were there role models that inspired you?

I was a model before I became an actor and feel like I didn’t choose acting but acting chose me. I remembered then, I was sitting down when I saw an advert on TV.  A TV show was in need of actors. The TV content ‘One Love’ was produced by Tajudeen Adepetu. Something just told me to go for it. I have always loved show business and I am a model. And I went for the audition. Fortunately, I got picked for the lead role for the family drama series and that was actually where my acting career kicked off.

The actors I used to love and I am still a big fan of are foreign actors: Dustin Hoffman, and Denzel Washington, they were big inspirations for me. Nigeria actors: Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD), is ever a legend, then Ramsey Nouah, and Majeed, these are people I had and still have great respect for. Their crafts inspired me.

Coming from the field of computer science, at what point did you realise acting was for you and how has the knowledge in computer science helped you in your acting career?

Being a computer scientist, I would say back then no one thought that acting could really be a full-time career. My parents and I felt that way. Initially, I was supposed to read medicine, but I had a love for computer science.  Computer science was the future, you can actually fit into any work environment, be it engineering, be it medicine, or whatever kind of job, because the world was evolving and everyone needed to be computer literate to an extent. I just felt it was the centre of everything. But I have always had a passion for acting.

The field has helped me as an actor to access social media, and to put up a work profile. Social media is your marketplace. I have been able to tap into that.

Nigerian actors and actresses are making visible marks in the film industry both locally and at the international level, how would you rate the film industry in Nigeria now compared to when you started?

I would say the film industry now has really grown compared to back in the day. It is an applaudable growth. Back in the day, we had individual producers bringing out money from their pockets to produce films. Then we had people who were not really film professionals. They were just marketers who are businessmen who wanted a film out so that they can make their money back. At one point, there was not too much professionalism in terms of quality production. We have evolved into an industry where we are recognized worldwide. Producing great content, we have actors who can now thrive in their career as actors.

Artists are taking advantage of the platforms they have to tell their stories, enlighten people, and support positive movements which they think would be better for the general humanity, and Nigeria. And at the same time create wealth for themselves.

Looking at the Nigerian film industry from the outside it looks very glamorous and lucrative judging from some celebrity’s wealthy lifestyles, how true is this notion?


Different actors don’t only have filmmaking or acting as their only source of wealth or income, they have other things they do. What I can say is that from my personal experience, if you are a good actor, if you are good at networking, if you are sociable and you are able to play well apart from using your intelligence, you are good socially and emotionally you keep evolving as an actor, you will thrive and be very successful in the industry. As an actor you must be able to socialise, there is nothing like ‘one man mopol’.

For people who are living a glamorous style, some are real, and some are fake. Some people believe in the popular saying ‘fake it till you make it’. I am not one of those. I think some of these artists have really done well for themselves, they have worked hard in the acting industry, and they have created for themselves a kind of crowd that enables them to market products they want to market, and dive into different kinds of businesses. You already have an accessible community of people who trust in you and believe in you, they want to buy your product and want to be associated with your brand. Those who have been able to play around have been able to create wealth for themselves.

How would you describe yourself, and what are your greatest fears in life?

I can describe myself as a very simple man, because I am not very materialistic, I am a strong believer in Christ and a lover of the craft as an actor. I love my work and I am extremely passionate about it. I believe acting is an opportunity to tell the stories of other people. I take my work as a worship to God, so when I am acting and telling stories about people I take it very seriously because this is real, it’s about the lives of people and experiences of people and you want the world to be able to connect with the message. I believe every film is supposed to have a message, not just entertainment. We are meant to educate and enlighten you in one way or the other. I have no fears in life, as for me, I have trust in God, I have no fears at all.

You studied method acting at Lees Strasberg Film Institute, Los Angeles, California. From your perspective, are there things done wrongly in the Nigerian movie industry that you want stakeholders to correct?

 Our industry is not very well structured like Hollywood, the American film industry: They have a strong distribution system, a strong acting guild, and a director’s guild. They have a system that is well structured, so it makes it easier for filmmakers to make back their money because it’s well structured.  It’s easier for an actor who is talented to be able to explore many opportunities. Even if you are not on the big screens, there are TV shows and there are other places you work and earn from it as long as you are good at what you do and you can network.

I think the Nigerian government needs to encourage Nigerian filmmakers more. And they can do that by empowering individual filmmakers and making it easier for them to access funds to produce content. There are too many demands to be able to access funds. We also need a strong cinema network distribution system. We don’t want a monopoly, we need a lot of them. I think our guilds need to do more. They are not very effective in terms of mobilisation, and how actors operate in the industry, and their ability to protect the interest of the actors. I am not condemning them, I just feel like they probably need to do better. I think the present administration speaks as an actor about Emeka Rollas; he is taking bold strides, bringing youth actors who can add value into the system.  We need a stronger committee to checkmate contents that come on board. I also think creativity should not be hindered, we should not hold back creativity. As a religious country, we should not stop the creative process of practitioners who are trying to tell a story but we can guide them.


Actors and actresses are always concerned about their looks, could it be that physical looks are considered above talents during casting?


I think it’s a basic criterion everywhere, even in Hollywood. Actors and actresses need to look good. Everybody wants an actor, someone who is appealing to the eyes. A good-looking guy is the same with women. It’s just you being that brand. How do you become a brand? You become a brand by looking like something that is attractive that people want to look at. A person that people can say they want to be like. You look good so that you can stand out and also have talent.


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