Onyinye Ubah

The very first time I gave a shot to the idea of providing weapon in a movie, I had never gone back since then. My first weapon prop was made with hundred percent plastazote foam and it turned out quite well. Funnily, I did not start off in the movie industry as a provider of weapons. My journey started off as a special effects makeup artist (which I still do), before the switch.

 The idea of weapons began brewing in me after I tried imitating T91 assault rifle I saw on military personnel. Due to my inability to afford metal, I went ahead and made use of plastazone foam which was readily available at that time. In my evolvement since my first attempt in providing props, I have engaged the skill of critical observation of real weapons.

My horizon began to broaden when there were some scenes in our movies that demanded choreography especially in Yoruba Nollywood. So, I began to put the actors through on how to fake knife stabs, fake punches and all the acrobatics needed in action movies. Overtime, I have come to  believe that my experience in martial art and weapon construction as a whole could breach the gap between Hollywood and Nollywood.

My breakthrough moment in the industry came in the movie, MATANGA produced by Olawale Samuel. It was there I showcased my function as a weapon artist. It is rather exciting to see that people are embracing martial arts and use of weapons in our movies, not forgetting the fact that it is foreign filmmaking idea and not ours. The growth process is expected to continue steadily but I believe that in the nearest future, Nollywood would be able to stand close to Hollywood in terms of actions.

It’s quite funny that when I started out first, many people wondered why I needed to add stunt coordination to my job but the yearning to see Nollywood make action movies like Hollywood made me take that step in bringing about change. I began chipping in some more props like Assault rifle props, C4 explosive prop, tactical jackets and holsters. It is a continuous process that knows no end because the need for improvement never comes to a halt. It is either I find myself working on set or at home improving on my skills.

My career path has been quite adventurous for me especially moving from painting to special makeup effect and weapons. The good part of it all is that I keep on revolving after studying Visual Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.

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