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Why Add More?

By Ali Nuhu | July 15th, 2016

As a child, my passion for acting was second to nothing. I studied hard in school, but my mind was always racing and I kept wondering, "how can I achieve my dream of becoming a professional actor?"

I was elated when I eventually got admission into the University of Jos to study Geography. Hmmm, yes… Geography and not Theatre Arts, or something related to the movies. Of course, I made up my mind to pursue my dream, no matter what.

One day, while in school, I came across an audition advert and rushed to NTA Jos, where I auditioned. As expected, many people showed up for the audition, but only a few were picked. Thank goodness I was among the few! I can still remember the lead judge telling us not to overdo things. “Be natural. You don’t have to add a line or demonstration if it doesn’t add value”, he said. So, I left with one key lesson: acting is about natural and believable delivery. Once you achieve this, you really don’t have to add more.

As a youth corper serving in Oyo State, I enrolled with a dance and drama team, still pushing to actualise my acting aspiration. We rehearsed rigorously every week, but I usually stayed behind after the team rehearsals to have my personal rehearsals. I must confess that I really overworked myself. One day, our instructor saw me dancing after rehearsals and said, "I think you’re overdoing this. Our rehearsals are quite rigorous and adding more to it unnecessarily could affect you physically.” When he left, I pondered what he said: "why add more when you've done all that is required?” Another lesson learnt.

Upon venturing into the industry, I worked hard and smart. As a newcomer in Kannywood, I had to make a name for myself, and I was fortunate to get a break in my first movie, Dijangala. Then I started jumping from one set to the next. I had no time for family, friends or leisure. My schedule became so intense that it started taking a toll on me and my relationships with my loved ones. A close friend drew my attention to this, and made me realise I was overdoing it and could lose my most treasured assets – my family – as a result. I quickly adjusted and started planning my time better, so I could spend more time with family, friends and just relaxing. You can’t imagine the kind of joy and peace this has brought me.

Somehow, the importance of not adding more unnecessarily keeps recurring and the lessons I have learnt. Finally, I got my big Nollywood break with Sitanda. It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t learnt this lesson: why add more? With my years of experience in the Industry, I have come to realise that less is more, or as some would say, quality is better than quantity. My advice to people, especially my fans, is don’t give up on your dreams. Follow your heart and walk the path with dignity. Work hard and smart, but always remember not to add more unnecessarily. Please, take time to enjoy yourself too.