By Hussein Kiganda
The scriptwriting (screenwriting) business is growing faster following the increase in the production of films in Uganda.
From music video scripts to movie scripts, the writers seem to have ventured into the business in large numbers considering the expansion of the two industries in Uganda – music and film.
Despite the increase in scripts, writers are still earning peanuts except for those who have succeeded in pitching these scripts to producers to make their script ideas come true. While some writers resort to making their own movies, most of the writers get still stuck with their scripts because it’s not easy to convince producers to invest money in them.
Tipping filmmakers about script writing, Dialo Sekidde, a film lecturer (teacher) at Kampala Film School and a film and TV production coach at the just-launched Smari Institute, urged the writers to mind the marketing part while writing their stories. He noted that most of them write stories without a business mindset hence facing trouble while selling their scripts.
“Ask yourself, would I buy this script if I was an investor? Stop writing scripts out of passion, start mixing passion with business. While writing the story, share it with a person with a business mind and let them advise you on how to make it better while making it investment worthy” Sekidde said.
He added that marketing a film starts immediately when you conceive the idea and where drafting a plan starts right after the idea is approved. He asked them to think of how their projects will look like, who will be their target, and how they will reach them?
Sekidde roasted filmmakers for bossing around with many scripts that are unsold and working behind the curtains.
“You are there bragging that you have ten scripts with you but these are not sold projects. And when you do the projects, you hide them until it’s premiere date, are you trying to surprise your audience or yourself? What are you up to?” he fumed.
Sekidde advised that filmmakers need to learn more about themselves, discover what they can do better and discover what each of them can do better, and position themselves for opportunities.
“We are at the stage of self-discovery, try to analyse your potential and place yourself in the right place. Know what exactly you can do best. Are you a scriptwriter, actor, or director? You cannot do all the things, it’s alright to have knowledge about other areas of film art, but try to find your strength and specialise in that. People should know you for something not everything, do not be everywhere but yet you’re nowhere, you are not an angel,” he said.
In 2022, Andrew Tumanyane is one of the few scriptwriters who managed to pitch his idea to a producer. His movie Beneath Beauty was funded by actress Aisha Kyomuhangi, who also took on the lead role in the movie.