When I was 17 years old and fresh out of high school I told my father that I wanted to be an actor and I was going to the Kenya National Theatre to try out for a part.
He looked at me incredulously and asked “You want to sit on the pavement all day, smoke ‘fangi’ and beat drums??
You see, because he said no I HAD to go and sure enough there wasn’t much that would have inspired me to pursue my dream. Fast forward to 2011 and I had been nominated for a Kalasha Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama for my role in ‘Mheshimiwa’ a local TV show that aired on KTN. I was 21 and a tomboy. I had never been to an awards show before or walked the red carpet and my knowledge of hair and makeup went as far as what I was told to do when I got on set.
In this era of instant communication you can’t afford to not look good, you never know who’s snapping, tweeting and uploading; one wrong move and you’ll be considered a fashion pariah. It’s interesting to note that at movie screenings the focus is more on what the actors wore and who they came with than what the movie is about. In the 1900’s going to the theatre was considered to be for the rich who had the time and money for co-curricular activities. In order for the studios to recover the monies spent on production costs and advertising they had to find a way to attract the audience thus began the era of exclusive premieres and red carpet events.
Here are some interesting facts about movies:
- Women and children were allowed to leave the theatre during the last scene of the movie which as usually when there was a fight, an execution or a reunion (God forbid they should get emotional and spoil the ending)
- The first man to try special effects in a movie Georges Melies, was actually a magician turned film maker who used disappearances, double exposure and other camera tricks to create illusion.
- The least expensive movie ever made “Rescued by Rover” cost $37.40 and had a dog as its lead character. The movie was so popular that the negatives wore out and it had to be made all over again.
- The first ever parody of a film was Edwin S. Porter’s ‘The Little Train Robbery‘ (1905) a parody of his own film ‘The Great Train Robbery‘ that had been released three years earlier.
At the 2016 BET AWARDS Jesse Williams an actor most popular for his role in Grey’s Anatomy an American TV series gave THIS speech as he received the Humanitarian of the Year Award. His words completely shattered the stereotype that actors are just hot bodies and pretty faces that regurgitate scripts for entertainment. Some called it controversial but it went a long way in sparking a conversation about racism and how the people who are meant to serve and protect were engaging in mass murder of people of colour. What does this have to do with movies you might wonder? It just goes to show that no matter who you are you can make a choice to use or create a platform that allows you to talk about things that matter.
Oh and in case you’re wondering I won the award 🙂 see pics below.