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From his days at Mnet’s Tinsel, to Hotel Majestic, ELTV’s Dowry and the web series #howsheleftmybrother, and most recently Hush on Africa Magic, Victor Sanchez Aghahowa has brought to life many much talked about characters and stories over the years. Joy Ehonwa had 10 questions for the multi-talented director, screenwriter and producer who is the Principal Creative Officer at TatafoHQ.

CN: Week in, week out, for years, people across the country and beyond have been glued to your work, especially your TV series. When you started out, did you think you would succeed at this level?

Would it be cocky if I said yes? But that is not really a function of ego, more as a function of obsession, I guess.  I am blessed that the shows I have worked on have attained a certain level of viewership. But the whole point of telling stories is to tell it to the largest possible audience, isn’t it?

CN: Did you do a filmmaking course, or you learnt the ropes on the job?

I have done a couple of courses over the years, but fundamentally, I would say I learnt on the job – and thanks to the wonderful resource that is the internet, there is a wealth of information out there anyone can benefit from.

CN: What do you consider to be the best career decision you have ever made?

Training other writers. I don’t think my career really started out till I started training other people. There’s the feeling in certain circles that sharing what you know is tantamount to empowering your competition. I think we need to collaborate more and compete less. The greater the amount of great shows vying for the audiences’ attention, the better the industry becomes for us all.

Working on a show that doesn’t finally make the cut feels like being told one of your kids is not good enough to make the school team.

CN: Are there any actors you would like to work with, locally and internationally?

That list is too long. Locally I have been blessed to work with a rather large percentage of the people I have always wanted to, but I regret that I never got to work with Justus Esiri and Sam Loco Efe before they passed. Internationally, out of the very, very long list, Eddie Redmayne and Donal Logue for some reason spring to mind first.

CN: What is the most challenging aspect of your work as a screenwriter?

Like all jobs, it has its full gamut of challenges, but the hardest part of being a writer/showrunner is pitching shows that do not get picked up; working on a show that doesn’t finally make the cut feels like being told one of your kids is not good enough to make the school team, and he/she should not bother trying out again next year. And that’s putting it extremely lightly.

CN: How can a young person prepare for a career in directing?

Read a lot, watch a lot, study a lot of great work, not just film and TV, theatre, literature, music. Become a student of psychology or sociology, become a student of humanity. Beyond the technical part that you have to learn, you have to learn to understand people.

CN: What’s the worst thing that can happen in your line of work?

Thinking you can exactly predict or worse still, dictate the taste of the audience. You can try your best to predict it, but you can’t dictate it. You cannot tell people what they believe. You can show them what you think about what they believe, and either challenge or reinforce that belief. Or even do both simultaneously.

CN: Let’s talk about #AMHush. People are crazy about it right now, addicted even. Yes, fans talked about Tinsel and Hotel Majestic, but this is just on another level. What would you say makes Hush so special?

Once in a while a story comes around that just connects. The fact that it is most talked about, I don’t think automatically means it is way better than everything else that came before it. A lot of hard work went into it so it is good it inspires an audience that cares this much. A lot of people cared about making it, so it is good a lot of people care about watching it.

Read a lot, watch a lot, study a lot of great work… become a student of humanity.

CN: Is screenwriting a gift or is it something that can be learnt, and do we have teachers in Nigeria outside of the university setting?

It is a bit of both. You have to care enough to develop your gift and to look for ways to learn how to hone your craft. Here’s the thing, I have always planned to retire at 40. I’ve got 6 years more before I retire. My plan is to train 10 showrunners in my stead. Showrunning is the pinnacle of screenwriting. I started actively training people about two years ago. I know a few other people who are doing the same. So yes, there are structures outside the university environment and I know there are more people interested in training people. I am having a semi-secret training session with emerging writers on the 4th of December.  So these opportunities are out there.

CN: What are your favourite movies and TV shows ever?

The Shawshank Redemption, Jurassic Park was pretty big for me, Casablanca. TV shows will have to be Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Shield, everything Joss Whedon touches, everything the shadow of Lin-Manuel Miranda has fallen upon, stuff that touches me.


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This article was first published on 30th November 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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