Stan Nzeh is an actor, model and voice over artist. A Computer Science graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the Nnewi South, Anambra born actor who became our darling with his role in Tinsel spoke to YES INTERNATIONAL!’s Jennifer Orji on his career, life and more. Enjoy…
Please, introduce yourself.
My name is Stan Nzeh and I am an actor. I hail from Anambra State, Nnewi South precisely and I stay in Lagos.
Tell us about your background.
I am from a family of five. I am the first. I graduated from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, where I studied Computer Science and I have been acting professionally for five years. I did my first job in 2009, a small role in a TV series called Private Sector and after that, it’s been one job after another and I’m most known for my character in Tinsel where I play a very weird drunk. Aside that, I have some very good roles like Murder in Prime Suite, The Benjamins and a couple of others.
What makes a good actor?
For me, if I’m gonna be speaking from the viewers’ perspective, delivery, verisimilitude, believability. If you are an actor, you act and people do not believe what you are doing, then, for me, you have not delivered. It has to be very believable, it has to seem like there is no camera there. That’s one aspect of it. Secondly, you have to be entertaining. In as much as you are trying to make people believe, you do not want to bore people to death because it’s true that you want to make it believable. But some characters might be a bit boring, so you probably have to make it entertaining. So, yes, it has to be believable, it has to be entertaining so that you can entertain people. For me, that is what makes a good actor in any part of the world.
What has acting done for you?
Acting has really exposed me. It has taken me all round. If I wasn’t an actor, maybe I won’t be travelling as much as I do. Like next week, I’m going to Bonny. I’m not sure where that is, but I would find my way. I would be there. So, that is it. If I am not in Asaba, I am in Enugu or probably out of the country or somewhere doing something. It has really exposed me a lot. Things I didn’t know before, acting has opened my eyes to them. For instance, if I get a script about second world war, I might not know much about it, but because I have to act something connected to it, I have to make a lot of research, I have to read about it. So, it opens my mind, it makes me study, it helps me develop myself because you don’t want to be feeding your audience with garbage. You need to work on yourself. We are like preachers, we need to work to deliver. So, it has really exposed me.
What has acting not done for you?
What acting hasn’t done for me right now will probably be: it hasn’t allowed me socialize the way I would want to. But I know that it will get better with time. Right now, because of work, sometimes I’m not where I am supposed to be. It’s very hectic and most times, I might not have much time for family. I have been trying to create some time to go and see my mum in Abuja. It restricts me. Sometimes you are not able to call them a whole week, sometimes two weeks, because of the strenuous schedule. So, it’s limited my relationship with people, which for me I don’t like. But I am sure it would get better with time.
What’s your most cherished moment in your career?
It would probably be when I got on Tinsel. No, I don’t think it would be when I got on Tinsel. I think it was when my character developed. I was already on Tinsel then. After like five episodes, my character was supposed to be dead; like no more, we are done with you. But then I got a call one day and they said “are you in town?” And I said yes. Okay, we are having a meeting, we would get back to you. And after a while, I got a call; come get your new scripts and I’m like okay and this was like three years ago and since then, it’s been constant and it’s like a change for me in my career. The dream of every actor is to be working. You don’t want to be an actor and three months, you have not done anything. Sometime in my career, it was like that, but now it’s so good that I don’t think I stay a week without doing anything. So, for me, right now, that was a change, that was a twitch for me and the truth is it’s getting better. There are more things in front and I am looking forward to that.
How many projects have you done?
Ah! I have lost count o! I used to count and this is annoying. But we might do a rush count. Private Sector was my first job and after Private Sector, I did Famous Five. I did another series called About To Wed. About To Wed is popular. After About To Wed, I did a series, but cannot remember the name of that one. Then, I moved on to do Bella’s Place. After Bella’s Place, I did Dear Mother. After Dear Mother, I probably got on Tinsel. That’s seven. After Tinsel, I got Murder at Prime Suites. After that, I got Yes I Don’t. After that, I got The Call. Before The Call, I did Buffon. That’s eleven and I have done over five short films. Maybe. And I have four films I did in Asaba this year: Father Muonso, Black Cat, White Rebels, Iron King. Have lost count. To get the count, I probably need to look at the document that represents all that I have done. But I have done over 20 projects since I started. I have lost count actually, but I will put that together.
Aside acting, what else do you do?
I run a kids’ management company for actors. Most of the things I do are related. Sometimes I am off for three weeks, sometimes I’m off for a month, sometimes two. Which company would want to give you two months to go and shoot? It’s going to be difficult. So, most of the things I do are acting related. I run Element 49 Management. That’s for kid actors. Children between the ages of 8 and 14 who are interested in acting. I groom them, train them. I do a project called Kids Can Act. I did the maiden edition this year. So, I get kids, recruit kids and manage them for acting. And then I do voice over. So, those are the things I do professionally. I sing on the side. That is what I do as a hobby.
As an actor, have you experienced any embarrassing moment?
My most embarrassing moment would probably be sometimes when going home. Like today, I don’t feel like doing a cab. Today, I want to do bus. And I get into a bus and people are like excited. So, most times, it discourages me. I don’t even want to enter and stuff. So, yes, sometimes it can be really embarrassing. You are at the bus stop and you are trying to get a cab and people are all over and it’s not yet like I am A-list or B-list or even C-list. So, for that, sometimes for me, it can be a bit embarrassing. It drags attention. Aside that, I don’t think I have any embarrassing moment as such.
How much of your personality do you put into the movies you act?
I try not to, because for me, I like to play characters that are far from who I am in real life. So, most of the characters I have acted, like my character on Tinsel, is nothing like me. The only character that might be a bit close to me is The Benjamins. The character that I played in The Benjamins. But most times I get a script, I would want to get something out of the box. When I am asking for roles, I want to get something challenging, I want to go the extra mile to bring this character to life. I don’t want people to see me in all the projects I do. It is true that I might get some scripts that may be close to my life and stuff, but most times, I want it to be different. So, you might not see much of me in the projects I do, unfortunately.
If you were not an actor, what else would you have loved to do?
What else do I really love? I would probably still be in the media. I would probably be in broadcasting. I love radio. I did a lot of radio in school. I would probably be doing radio or something related to it. You said something I love. If you had said what else would I be doing, I studied Computer Science in the university, so I would have probably been in the IT world, collecting money in the office or doing some things at random. But passion. It would still be something related to entertainment. Maybe modeling. I model as well. Maybe that’s what I would be doing.
How does your day start?
Okay, I wake up, the first thing I do, if I am not pressed, I go straight on my knees and do devotion. But if I am pressed, I take excuse from God that I have to visit the loo and then come back. But then, it would probably start with my devotion, an hour of devotion most times and then I check my schedule for the day. If it was like two years ago when I still attended auditions, I would head to an audition, then do some primary things. Most times when I’m not working, if I’m not on set, I would probably leave from home, shoot till like, depending on the day. I can shoot all day. There are some days I shoot half. Like today, I had a shoot, but it was half day. It was till 12.00pm. So afterwards, I check my other appointments and probably hit the studio. I probably have other non-studio engagements like going to pick a script or going to do a voice over somewhere or going to see a director, a friend or hanging out with friends, most times in the evening.
How do you relax?
How do I relax? I probably go swimming. Yes, I go swimming. Then, when I just want to be alone, I love watching TV. So, I just watch TV, see a couple of shows. I love Ellen D’Generes, I love The Doctors. I am not a fan of series. Why because it takes so much of my time. I would love to, but anytime I start one, I would always want to finish it and it ends up clashing with my work. Yes, that’s how I relax. TV and if I am not doing TV, I go swimming with a couple of friends.
Advice to fans.
I am still upcoming. You know the amazing thing right now, I don’t know if you guys have noticed. 90 percent of people that get out of school want to do entertainment. Maybe I am exaggerating, 75 percent want to probably sing, model or act. So, right now, it’s difficult to say who is passionate about this. But my advice to people, get an education. That’s the only thing you can always fall back on. Make sure you have it. Then, if you say you are passionate about something, make sure you pursue it with passion. Whether entertainment or not, anything you love. Some people want to come into the industry because they want to be famous, and they end up getting frustrated along the line. You can’t meet deadline, you cannot meet up with pressure. So, my advice, follow your passion, whatever it is. If you follow your passion and you get paid for it, you would enjoy it. So, follow your passion.