One of the hallmarks of a thriving economy is found in the social blend where entertainment unfolds in varieties within its suburban settlements. From local events that employs the theatrics of performing artistes, to ticketed shows such as stage dramas, comedy shows, musical shows, and exclusive gigs; a fully-ploughed creative ecosystem brings spectacles, verve, and good living wages for practitioners. This is the course set in motion by Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The breakthrough project AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase; first of its kind, is one of the emerging platforms that has put steam into increasing the capacity and accelerating the active talent pool of Akwa Ibom State entertainment industry. As a key fragment of the functional whole, the talents showcase represents the entry strategy that unveils a 3-phrase stimulus plan for the ecosystem- DISCOVER, DEVELOP, DEPLOY. This engagement has robust economic and social impact potentials for the state and conveys a stream of actions that puts the creative industry in Akwa Ibom State on a trajectory to growth and global relevance.
A GLOBAL OUTLOOK
Tourism, which is a proven high-net earner for major world economies, is one of the core drivers of globalization, and as such a connector that opens up various races of the world to culture exchange and trade by providing key support structure that encourages diaspora participation and economic growth.
Focusing on Entertainment, major global cities have created strategic alignment and ride the wave of epic and acclaimed events, playing host to tens of millions of tourists who come to unwind and connect with the rich culture. Between the exotic Broadway shows which makes New York City the glam city of the world, Australia’s prominent Sidney Opera House that headlines star-stunning shows, to Rome’s amazing audience view of Teatro Sistina, and Beijing’s famous Capital Theatre; high-worth productions in Music, Dance, Drama, Comedy adds value to the talent pool and strengthen local economies. Pivotal services such as tech-based capacity providers and distribution agencies further stretch the potential of the skill-base that can earn consistently good wages in a well-articulated entertainment industry value chain.
In Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel acknowledges the potential that home-grown talents can contribute to the economy, and has initiated a stimulus program to DISCOVER, DEVELOP, and DEPLOY the best skill assets and productions to the world. AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase is an entry strategy to set in motion the plan to invest in the subsector.
Here is how the building units of this plan is laid:
DISCOVER- PITCHING OPPORTUNITIES WITH TALENTS
The surging youth population in Nigeria has a direct impact on our growth potential as a country. For Akwa Ibom State, with an estimated two million active young people both at home and abroad, the talent cluster for performing artistes leave much to be expected. AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase has set the precedent by opening up the stage for over 5,000 budding Performing Artistes to step up and showcase the skills discovered. From the auditions data, Music, Dance, and Drama are the top skill set that is prevalent in the ecosystem. The feedback from participants of the showcase validates that a sustained effort to discover talented new artistes is the most effective strategy to enrich the state’s creative community and make opportunities a-dozen-a-dime for career-minded beneficiaries.
Governor Udom Emmanuel “has all the pegs in the right hole”, the statement is glaring, thousands of young people that may never have seen a stage or the spotlight are on the verge, to contribute and excel in a promising creative industry.
Furthermore, the discovery of production-based skills which are significant in delivering rated performances is a niche that engages a projected minimum of 5,000 jobs annually, within a suitably-designed stream of program that feeds the ecosystem so far over 5000 youths have been given an opportunity to showcase their potentials across the state. Tech careers that support production and distribution are becoming the most sought-after skills, a goldmine of opportunity for imaginative and impressive young people to achieve relevance with their arts.
From Musicians, Actors, Dancers, Emcees, Comedians, Circus and Stunt Performers, Art Directors, Production Designers, Costume Designers, Special Effect Designers, Illustrators, Animators, Sound Engineers, Music Composers, Cinematographers, Photographers, Film Editors, to Brand Developers, Business Developers, Legal Counsels, Vendors, and Digital Media personnel; the knock-on effect of a deliberately created opportunity(Talent Showcase Events, Open-Mic Events, Sector-based Trainings, Bootcamps) for new talents to gain exposure and go professional carries with it a clear picture of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s brave vision, inspiring the potentials of young AkwaIbomites to ‘rise to the Faith of Greatness- ‘DAKKADA’.
DEVELOP- TRANSFORMING TALENTS THROUGH CAPACITY BUILDING
Like in sports, the performance of every game originates from the consistent input during training. For Artistes to consistently perform at top level, a strategic developmental process is imperative in refining raw talents into marketable assets. Identifying sellable talents and introducing seasoned trainings techniques and procedures for budding performing artistes to improve their core skills and strengthen their artistic depth positions the entertainment ecosystem stimulus plan on the trajectory to growth.
Capacity Building, especially for performing artistes, cannot be overemphasized. For budding career artistes in Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel has committed significant investment (in policy and infrastructure) to ensure that an initial cluster of over 5,000 young Akwa Ibomites with identifiable creative skills that can add value and boost the quality of creative output from the ecosystem are nurtured and molded into valuable industry assets. Encouraging collaborations with seasoned industry professionals from Akwa Ibom State and beyond.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is notable for encouraging and supporting youth development, supports a pragmatic approach to groom and progressively build the creative and technical capacity of performers and production personnel for the industry.
Through an annual capacity building plan, over 5,000 youths in Akwa Ibom State are receiving top-of-the-rung trainings in skills acquisition, such as Acting, Singing, Dancing, Event Hosting, Comedy, Production Designing/Planning, Costume Designing, Makeup, Special Effect, Stunt Actions, Video Editing, Photography, Videography, Music Production, Animation, and Personal Development. When completely transformed, these are the critical creative mass that will add real economic value through capacity deliberately harnessed by the industry stimulus plan.
DEPLOY- PUTTING OUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
The most compelling phase of this industry stimulus plan is designed to connect our trained and sellable artistic assets to the global market. Much credit to accessibility of technology, the ease of acquiring top-notch production equipment and distribution of content is the golden goose of the entertainment ecosystem. The industry’s trade potential is defined by good contents, and having an emerging cluster of over 5,000 thoroughly-bred professionals to develop, produce, and distribute over 1,000 great contents (events and shows ideas that cuts across fiction, reality, movies, songs, comics, industries, tourism, environment, culture, education, health, businesses, news, sports, broadcasting) annually to a global audience of 100,000,000 viewers, an industry is rife and on the rise.
Governor Udom Emmanuel knows exactly the potentials of this untapped market space, and as a known thinking-economist has added to his economic focus, the production of visible and viable value from the mass supply of our performing arts talents. The state-based support to jumpstart an industrial revolution in the creative industry ecosystem has come full cycle and how it is deployed will accelerate the growth of our tourism sector.
THE PRODUCTS- the development phase of this stimulus plan as stated earlier serves the purpose of training selected performing artistes to fit multiple and specific roles in music, dance, drama, comedy, broadcasting, event hosting, and stunt performance. Matching verified skills to production ideas sets the ball rolling in churning out fleets of content. In itself content is fleeting, hence the demand and the need to consistently create good contents (The Products), and distribute for a price. Over 1,000 productions annually, spread around businesses in the ecosystem will provide more than 5,000 jobs for performing artistes and production professionals, with exponential growth capabilities.
THE DISTRIBUTION- technology has greatly redefined the channels where audience around the world receives contents; as such it is embedded as the core driver for deploying this stimulus plan for the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State. Through Cable Television and Digital Media, thousands of produced and rated contents from the ecosystem can make primetime viewing on multiple platforms with foreign exchange earnings in tow. Social Media is big for views on images, videos, and live-streaming, and can be monetized with the promise and delivery of great quality content. More so, these great contents can boost the programming quality of local television stations in and around Akwa Ibom State, especially AKBC.
THE BOTTOMLINE- An estimated annual minimum of Millions of Dollars in revenue is the set bar for earning from distributing talents that has been Discovered, Developed, and Deployed. Governor Udom Emmanuel is right once again, and now the best of the pick from our entertainment industry sends their invitation to the world, in readiness to share our creative, rich, and awe-inspiring culture, talents, and experiences. On this trajectory, Akwa Ibom State is better for it.