THE NEXT BIG ACTOR (I) SHORT STORY
Singer Jane Diwa wanted another feather in her cap badly. She had tried songwriting but her manager had begged her to stop. She hadn’t the training to write sheet music and the outcome of her excursions into composition of lyrics were potential disasters due to her use of uncouth language, unco-ordinated ideas and lack of poetic skills.
She had a powerful voice for sure and had built a successful career around reissuing popular songs from yesteryears but she wanted more. Why? Her former friend and rival, the gorgeous soprano Teri Banba, had recently become an author. She had written a book about her struggles with depression and the media seemed to be talking endlessly about it. Jane wanted to do something different too to gain media attention and she wanted to do it fast.
From her experience in composing music, writing of any sort was off the cards. She thought of doing some work of charity but couldn’t make up her mind. Needy people were multiplying by the day and some of them were plunged into destitution by what she saw as “senseless, human-precipitated crises” like wars and grand-scale looting in government that entrenches, rather than ameliorates hardship. Her sympathy was all but used up. So, no humanitarian engagement at this time.
Besides, she needed something that showed she had extra skills beyond rendering amazing vocals. As she was anxiously ruminating on this “epic problem”, she received a call that gave her the “perfect” answer. The call was from one of her occasional lovers, a movie producer/director called Judah. He’d heard she was in Abuja and was inviting her somewhere sometime in the next week. She didn’t catch where or when specifically because she was already fantasising about seeing herself on the screen.
Not only did she accept, she gave him the impression she had missed him so much and would die if they couldn’t meet immediately. He was flattered but told her he was in a meeting with screenwriters for one of his forthcoming movies. Excellent timing! She decided to broach the subject right away.
“When are you going to feature me in a movie? I mean how long will it take you to make me a movie star?”
“What are you talking about, Jane? You can’t act.”
“Is it required? I can count a lot of movie stars who can’t either. All I need is you and a suitable script.”
“Can we talk about this another time? I’m in a meeting right now.”
“This is the best time to talk about it. Write me into that your movie.”
“I can’t. The screenplay is ready. We are just tweaking a few scenes to satisfy the financiers.”
“Well then, tweak it some more and write me in. Since I didn’t give you sufficient notice, I’ll be willing to accept a small role. But next time, I’ll be the main character. You can start by writing something where I play myself. But bottom line is, I want this thing in my portfolio already.”
Judah’s mind had been working as Jane spoke. This was an opportunity he could exploit to get some big money from her. She sounded desperate but he needed to be sure.
“How badly do you want this thing?” Jane knew how his mind worked. His question meant sex alone couldn’t cut it in this case.
“How does two hundred thousand sound?”
“You must be kidding! Am I selling tomatoes?”
“Half a million, then.”
“Give me a cool million and I will make you the star of the one we’re shooting in a fortnight.”
“That fast? Haven’t you done the casting and everything?”
“Not a problem. The girl in the lead is a wannabe. I can tell her whatever I like. Besides, she’s extremely talented and it won’t be long before she gets another break. But babe, you have some serious work to do to pull this thing off.”
“Hey, this is all happening so fast. Give me some ….”
“Developing cold feet already? It will be fine. Remember I’ll be in charge to guide and help you. How soon can I get the money?”
“Tomorrow. And if the picture does well, I’ll get two more shots.”
“Then we have a deal, actor-singer Jane Diwa. Tomorrow evening, the project begins. Watch out, people! The next big actor is coming your way!”
-To be continued-
The second part of the story shows how Jane’s attempt at acting worked out. Will she succeed in becoming the next big actor? Find out in tomorrow’s instalment of this short story.
Is there something you badly want to achieve? What are your motivations for having that ambition? Do you feel you have something to offer in that area, are you eager to bless people with what you can do there or are you just competing with other folks?
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