Step Up Nigeria just launched Emeka’s Money Animated Film on our YouTube Page Step Up TV. The film features Emeka, who works for the Governor of his State, Governor Teso Chinedu Olayinka. Emeka’s friends pay Emeka a visit at the governor’s office that changes the lives of many people in the state. To get the full story, please watch the full short film.
Ahead of the launch, Step Up Nigeria podcast host Feranmi Adeola interviewed the cast members of the film. Here’s the interview with Rodney Abia who played Emeka’s close friend, Uche in the film.
Feranmi: Hello, please introduce yourself.
Rodney: I am Rodney Abia, I am a sound designer, which means I do all things sound. I am a music producer, composer and all of that. Recently, I decided to dabble into film and I played the voice of Uche.
Feranmi: Thank you Rodney. It’s good having you on our podcast today. Tell us a bit about yourself. Have you ever been in an animated film or any other film before this particular film?
Rodney: Being a sound person, I have done quite a number of them. I think the first one was ‘Neo-pact’, it was like nursery rhyme kind of thing. There were a lot of songs on it, more than a 100 and they had 6 characters and I played 2 of them. I was also the number 2 person in Downtown Lagos. Raymond and I played the voices together.
Feranmi: So Rodney, you played Emeka’s close friend Uche. I think every Nigerian politician has an Uche in their lives, I mean you are a politician, your job is to help friends and families right? So how did you get into character to play Uche and how has playing Uche affected you personally?
Rodney: I have had a little experience with that kind of thing – corruption. The film gave me a recall like, “this thing is touching sensitive places ooo”. It helped me portray the character right because you know exactly how to beg. I feel like Uche has a sense of entitlement, he came there with a strong head like “it’s my right, why are you not giving me this thing, what’s wrong with you na?” That was exactly what we needed for the character. We needed him to bring that extra pride to something that is not his, which is for the public.
Feranmi: What stood out to you first when you first got the script? And how do you feel about being part of this animated film since you have been part of other ones?
Rodney: First of all, when I get a script I am always excited. It’s like getting raw materials, I can’t just wait to see the end. I can’t even say which particular part, from getting the script and putting everything together and when it ends, I am excited. When they were recording, Ovie would always say, you can’t really get what’s happening because you are just being directed on what to do and what emotions to have. It’s when it all comes together it becomes magical. It’s crazy fun. It’s everything.
Feranmi: Teaching kids about corruption is a daunting task. I believe you are aware that that’s what Step Up Nigeria is doing. We are working with children in primary and Junior secondary schools in 3 states for now just to pass these values across to children. Even with this film, we hope to share it with schools so that they can play it for their students. Hopefully, we can change the way they think and affect the way the next generation does things. This brings me to the original film soundtrack, were you part of those people that made it?
Rodney: Yes, I produced it and jointly composed it with Angelo. Angelo did most of the writing and we came together to arrange it.
Feranmi: Fantastic work. The song is amazing.
Rodney: Thanks. I had a conversation with Mb, he told me what you were gunning for. Incidentally it’s something I have been toying with because I wanted to create something that sounded Disney but Disney African.
Feranmi: I think the song is fantastic. So what part did you enjoy most in recording this film? And do you think the creative industry should have more content like this out?
Rodney: I always get very excited when I begin selecting the people to play each part in search of that golden voice that speaks to me. The whole process is exciting for me because I like a challenge, I like to build new things into something great. Another thing that resonated with me was when Emeka said “I didn’t know I was doing the wrong thing, I thought I was doing the right thing”. A lot of people think they are doing the right thing because of the way it has always been and the worst part is we are giving it to our children and I think that’s where this film comes into play. As regarding more content like this being produced, that is a yes, most definitely. We need more content like this out for kids.
Feranmi: What message do you have for anyone who watches this film?
Rodney: Yo! Parents, Teachers, Government officials, please let’s make this country a better place. Even if not for us but for our children. It’s very important. If we are going to change anything we have to start from the grassroots and impact our children. We have to start teaching them the right thing, they are always watching and the little things we do matter. We should speak positively so that our kids can learn positive things.
To listen to the full podcast, see below;