Nigerian actor, Segun Arinze has described the makings of a great actor and what they ought to do in order to get to the top.
When asked about his career, the actor explained the elements that make a Nollywood actor stand out in a recent interview he honoured.
According to Segun Arinze, role interpreters must offer their “A” game, be committed, know how to relate to people, and grow as society changes through learning and unlearning.
You have been relevant for decades. What are some of the qualities that have helped you to last this long?
I am not the only one in that category. There is Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ramsey Nouah, Sam Dede, Norbert Young and Keppy Ekpenyong-Bassey. One just needs to bring on their A-game. One has to be focused, know how to relate with people and also evolve, as things change by learning and unlearning. One should know when to sit back or push forward. It is not all about one’s achievements because we would leave everything here someday. One just has to stay humble.
The movie industry is seen as glamorous, making many to want to get into it for the fame. What would you say is the other side of fame?
I need to first correct people’s misconception of the movie or entertainment industry as a place where people just hop in as they wish because they want to make money or quick fame, then jump out as soon as possible. Entertainment is a job for entertainers. Nollywood is an industry, and entertainers are also professionals, just like lawyers, bankers, doctors and journalists. It is a profession; and not a dumping ground for people who were unsuccessful in other fields. This is a serious-minded job, and we are serious-minded people. Our industry is not for layabouts.
What would you say are the qualities that make a good actor?
One is as good as one’s last movie. As an actor, one has to be open to learning. Irrespective of one’s profession, we all have to learn something new every day. One has to keep an open mind. It is bad if one is myopic and shortsighted. One also has to be creative and humble. A lot of people in the industry are not humble and that is because they think they have got to a certain stage in their career where they could misbehave. Many don’t know that an actor is as good as their last movie. It’s like being a football player. Footballers don’t shine on the pitch at all times. Even (top footballers like) Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fail to score goals sometimes. One must bring on one’s A-game at all times. One also needs luck to be on one’s side to be successful.
How have you been able to avoid/survive controversies over the years?
Controversies would always come, but what matters is how one handles it. The best thing is to keep one’s private life private, and one’s public life should be made public. I am not given to show off. I am old-fashioned. I just do my job, and relate with colleagues one-on-one when we meet at movie sets. I do not bring my private life to the public.
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