Tade Ogidan: The Surulere Boy Who Started Movie Production At 16
He was born Akintade Ogidan on July 16th, 1960, in Surulere, Lagos, to the family of Akinola and Racheal Ogidan. He started his education at Government Demonstration School before proceeding to Surulere Baptist School, Surulere, Lagos. In 1972, he moved to Ekiti Parapo College, Ido-Ekiti. In 1974, he attended Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School, Ikeja, Lagos, and finally graduated in 1978.
Subsequently, he attended Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM, USA. At the university, he studied Film, Radio and Television Production. He also earned a certificate from the State University of New York, USA. Tade Ogidan, a Nigerian film and television screenwriter, producer, and director started movie production at the age of 16 before enrolling in the university. After his university education, he began his professional journey at the National Television Authority (NTA), Lagos in 1983.
After working with a local television station for over seven years, Tade moved on in 1990 to establish himself. Today, he is the MD/CEO of OGD Pictures and OGD Music Ltd., a production company through which he has produced several blockbuster movies. Generally, Tade is a creative producer. He is one of the movie producers who have made an impact in the Nigerian movie industry.
Tade was able to get some production skills from David Orere, who was a producer in NTA (then Nigeria Television Service) in the 1970s. At the time, David will take Tade to the studio to act when the need arises. But, Tade had no interest in standing before the camera. Rather, he developed an interest in handling the camera and telling the cast what to do. At the same time, he was writing movie scripts and learning production. In 1983, after completing his National Youth Service Corps scheme, he started as an in-house writer, producer, and director at NTA Channel 10. He also worked as a Continuity Manager at NTA 2 Channel 5 for a while.
Altogether, he spent almost 10 years at the NTA, Lagos while he was there, he produced and directed different drama series and drama specials on the channel and NTA National Networks respectively. After a while, he started gaining prominence with his production and directorial works. For instance, some of his works like Blinking Hope, The Reign of Abiku won awards in television festivals in the 1980s. He also began to work on different magazine shows, projects, and drama series. So, in 1990, Tade left NTA to venture into the world of business.
OGD Pictures Limited
Tade is the MD/CEO of OGD Pictures and OGD Music Ltd, a media production company. The first production under the company was titled Hostages, one of the movies that rocked in the 1990s. Subsequently, he produced the popular Owo Blow, 1995; the movie that shot Femi Adebayo to the limelight. Since then, Tade has continued to write, produce, and direct blockbuster films.
Under the OGD Music, he released The OGD All Starz Jamz. The Jamz showcased several Nigerian movie stars performing in songs. He also did TV commercials and projects for companies and major live events for the Lagos State Government. Recently, Tade in conjunction with High Impact Amusement Centre released a comedy adventure drama titled Gold Statue, 2019 after eight years of silence. The movie starred A-list thespians like Sola Sobowale, RMD, Segun Arinze, Gabriel Afolayan, Ali Baba, Yvonne Jegede, among others. Tade also produced some of Nigeria’s greatest movies of all time. And, he has worked with actors like Jide Kosoko, Kate Henshaw, Funke Akindele, and others.
Some of his Films: Owo Blow, 1995; Out of Bounds, 1997; 7 to 12, 1997; Hostages, 1998; Diamond Ring, 1998; Saving Alero, 2002; Ayomida, 2003; Playing Games, 2012; Dangerous Twins, 2004; Aya mi Owon: Madam Dearest, 2005; Family on Fire, 2011; and Gold Statue, 2019
Awards and Recognition
Tade started winning awards right from the 1990s. Some of his recent recognition are Movie of the Year ‘Gold Statue’ Best of Nollywood, 2019; Director of the Year ‘Gold Statue’, Best of Nollywood, 2019; and Best Feature Film Award ‘Gold Statue’, Lekki International Film Festival, 2019
“When a director clearly understands how things work, he can then choose to perform idan (magic), breaking creative rules to achieve something new.”
“I don’t want to do 100 projects in my lifetime. Whatever I do must be memorable, and that opens the door to bigger things.”
“If you are not looking for something demanding then you should go and sit on a cruise ship and enjoy yourself.”
“We all won’t be bankers, we all won’t be oil barons, but we will all work together in the beauty of the world.”
“You could have the greatest wings to fly, but you need to have the budget to fly with it.”
Lessons from his life
Overtime, Tade’s films have been widely received because of the excellent performances of his cast and crews. According to him, once he spots a potential actor, his work is to give them the necessary motivation to produce the best. In film making, the entire success is dependent on how different individuals can efficiently deliver. Tade understands the important processes involved in the success of a film, such as research for perfect illustration. For instance, Gold Statue had a lot of creative works infused in it, to make her audience understand its real intentions. Similarly, before you venture into a business, first get adequate knowledge of how things work.
From inception, Tade loved handling the console, camera, and standing behind the scenes. He was always shy standing before the camera. Therefore, he went ahead to hone his directing and producing skills. Today, he sources for actors to act while he concentrates on directing. He believes that when you know your area of strength, you can work better with others instead of trying to fit into their shoes.
In one of his media outings, Ogidan spoke on how he brings out the best in his actors and why he himself does not act since he seems to have the magic wand. “I simply help to drive the inner feelings and potential of the actors on my projects to bring out the best in them. I help in every way, including crying with them and talking them through those emotional scenes…while the camera is rolling on them – the actors.
“I can spot potential after meeting some people for just a few minutes; even when they never imagined that they’ve got anything to offer. I have given many such an opportunity. A lot of times, actors on my set are shocked at my performance behind the scenes while driving them to bring it out. They are so shocked that they wonder why I don’t act. That is never going to happen. I am extremely shy”, he says.
On what makes a good director, he notes that the person must have what he calls sensible training, growing through different departments of several productions. “That will help him/her to understand how things work. When a director clearly understands how things work he can choose to perform idan (magic), breaking creative rules to achieve something new. Directors should be considerate of their project team and actors. You should all set out to have a swell time executing the project. Directors, young and old, should always encourage all working on the project to understand that the success of the project will be a collective success for all. It’s usually a great driving force.”
Continuing, he said, “I have not shot a major main-stream project in a while. My worry is: where will I sell the new works into? I may pride myself on making good films, but I am not a marketing person. So it is one thing to make a good film and another matter to spend adequately on publicity and market the product. Most practitioners make modest projects for the cinemas and TV screens. I don’t have modest projects. I have not said that in foolish pride.
“I have certainly been doing other things that keep my team surviving. In fact, those are the real projects that we make money from. I have hardly ever made money – a sensible profit – from my movies. There are some of our colleagues who know how to market and make great noise for their projects. Kunle Afolayan is one. Judith Audu is equally good at this. So also is Mo Abudu. The reality is that most of the movies that have earned profit at an outstanding level got most of it from the patronage of their friends from private screenings. But not to worry, we are cooking some things, the kind of projects that I will feel good to execute.
“Distribution is the major challenge of our industry. Can you imagine if there were 3,000 to 4,000 screens across the country and films are released first into those? Practitioners would be better off. However, it is still an industry that is growing. Many more cinemas will be built. Cottage preview centres will come up as well. It is happening, albeit slowly.
“All of us producers, directors, even actors (who think they have the knack to run a business), should take advantage of the grants and loans being offered. Imagine if another 100 screens come on board, mostly owned by the real practitioners; more patronage will be experienced. We can then start to reduce the sharing formula that the distributors operate now.”