Dr. H’Artbeats Series appears each Saturday with a fictional letter from an imagined lover of entertainment arts and reader of our blog, and raising very relatable questions and, sometimes also, laughable questions that people may often have about, or even in, the entertainment arts. Opinions of brief practical answers or responses, given amid gentle humour, are gathered for each week’s imagined reader’s question by the host of the series—and gathered from selected people that are believed to be well-disposed to give them, by the virtue of their experience, field practice, etc. The arts-entertainment-focused Dr. H’Artbeats Series, inspired by the literature-inclined Dear Brittle Paper Series on BrittlePaper.com, is written and hosted by Kayode Taiwo Olla exclusively on BraveartsAfrica.com.
Enjoy this week’s edition of the series.
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Dear Dr. H’Artbeats,
I read your column on Bravearts Africa magazine last week and I thought to write you too, sir—as I have questions that drum in my head even in my dreams sir! And it’s all because of my dad! Everything—just him! I don’t come into the center stage with him—just him in the spotlight!
I don’t know; I hate to admit my dad is selfish, but I’m afraid I’m really coming to admit that without question already! And I hate it when people are only like “Dad meant it for your good” when they don’t tell me how, like I’m still just a little kid.
Dad would not let me study Dramatic Arts in the university, that I so want to study—that’s the big problem. Dad wants me to study Law instead. I want to be a movie actor in the future; I’m just 16 and I already act on stage in the high school and even in joining mini mobile theatre groups and taking assistant roles. I love to act but dad wants me to study Law that I don’t have much passion for; and he still insists, sir!
I’m just done with my Senior School Certificate Exam and I made my grades in Arts subject. Dad was excited and very proud of me when he saw my grades and I was so happy I made my dad proud. But then, when he said, “Now you’ll be able to proceed to aiming to become the young Barrister of the family!” my excitement just got completely diminished, like a theatre fadeout. I wished I can walk out of there, just exit that scene! If Dad keeps talking about this I’ll just do same thing as Fela Anikulapo—I’ll collect the money and arrange for Dramatic Arts and keep fooling him that I’m studying his Law. It is on my graduation that he’ll first discover that his son has gone to get a degree in Dramatic Arts, period! But I think that’ll going too far and maybe it’s not right? But can dad also see he’s not to decide everything I’ll grow up to become for goodness’ sake? I’m fed up and I’ll soon go on hunger strike to protest! Or break all his Hollywood, Hollywood and Nollywood DVD’s—I’ll tell the stubborn baby of the house, whose mouth is like the clown character of every play that never keeps a secret—I’ll tell him that all those actors and producers of those movies should have gone to study Law like my dad wants me to study! That way it will get to dad without me saying it myself!
But, sir, must I have to do dad’s Law when I’ve got little or no interest in it, or can I hope to convince dad someday? What if he doesn’t change his mind still?—and daddy really may not, maybe not in this life! Sir, please look at my sorry predicament and advice me what to do?
PS. Please don’t sound like my mum, else I will cry some more tears!
I’m really glad that at this tender age of yours, you have a mind strong enough to determine what you want. I like it. I like you already.
So you’re 16 and your dad wants you to study Law as opposed to you wanting to study Dramatic Arts? I feel your frustration. What does your dad know after all? He probably wants to be able to tell every Tom, Cruise, Will & Smith who cares to listen that his son is a Lawyer… maybe a SAN! Who cares right?
Trust me, I know where you’re coming from. Coincidentally, I had a chat with a young teen whose mum wants her to read Law as opposed to her desire to study Mass Communications.
Right this minute, I could tell you to call Daddy’s bluff and go ahead with your own plans, whatever they may be. After all, YOUR name will be on the certificate and not his. Yeah? What’s the worse that can happen? He will later find out… at graduation or before and be utterly disappointed in you. Worst still, he could disown you! God forbid!!
On the other hand, let’s see it this way. If you do study law, what’s the worse that can happen? At the tender age of 21, you will be ready to proceed to the law school. At the age of 22 or 23, you will be called to the Bar as a Barrister & Solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria—or whatever country is yours.
At this point dearie, either of two things can happen. Either your passion for acting would have reduced or it would have heightened.
If its the first, you have nothing to lose. You will continue with your law degree. Mind you, you don’t have to practice. There are different sectors to the field.
If its the second, “there are two things involved…” (in comedy artiste Basket Mouth’s voice… Lol). Okay, the first is for you to change department to your first love especially if your CGPA is being affected. The second option is for you to try & scale through if you honestly can (I believe you can. I did).
If you do scale through, there are two things involved. I hope I’ve not lost you? *Smiles* The first is for you to go back to school and study Dramatic Arts. Remember you will be 21/22 by then? You won’t have to start from level one. You can go through direct entry. The second option is for you not to start again, but go to any good and professional Acting/Film Academy you know of.
Dearie, if you’re vigilant, you will notice that I didn’t totally ask you to damn you Dad & follow your heart. Wisdom they say, is profitable to direct. You see, when you’re done doing what your Dad wants, your heart will be at peace following your own heart. Please and please, don’t be hasty in your decision. Your Dad does means right. Yeah! I said it! Please don’t hate me too. Lol. If you honestly go through my chains of advise, you will see that there’s really nothing to worry about.
I studied Law in the university. But because of my passion for acting, all my days in fellowship on campus were dedicated to the stage. In my final year, I trained as a Photographer. Now, I’m a Barrister. I also take pictures as a hobby, and also direct teens in drama and write scripts. You see? Now, have nothing to lose!
Quite a handful of actors that I know of studied Law, in fact. A friend left her International Relations Course after her 3rd year to start law from the scratch. She’s been called to bar since, but she still wishes she was patient to have earned a degree in that course she readily ‘dumped’. Now, she would have had 2 degrees, and her dual certificates would make any employer want her.
On a final note, try and speak to your Dad again. If he persists, try and do what he wants. Does it make you foolish and without passion? Doing what he wants for now only make you obedient. When you begin to cross all those chains I painted above-depending on what you chose to do—you will be glad you took the right turning.
Jedidiah Ifeoluwadamilola Oligbinde, Nigeria – Law school postgraduate student, photographer & drama script writer
Young man, I will advice you to look for someone you can trust to convince your dad to look at things from your point of view. Moreover, you do not have to study theatre arts or dramatic arts before you can be an actor.
Richard Mofe Damijo read law and he is the best actor in Nigeria, genevieve and Omotola did not study dramatic arts before they got their fame.
You are still young and you may think you know what is best for you now. I think you should pick your bible and read proverb 3 verses 5 to 6, you will see that you need God to help you through. Have a wonderful future.
Sola Adeaga, United States – Movie producer & editor