Pretty actress and producer, Doris Simeon chatted with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s JULIET IKEOKWU recently on a pot-pourri of issues. Excerpts…
Yes, I just finished one of my short films titled Victims. It’s a story of campaign against malaria, because we don’t handle it well. We just want people to know that it kills. We are one of the ambassadors that will throw more light on it.
You said “one of your short films”, are the producer?
Yes! I produced and acted in it because it’s under my production.
So, what is the name of your production company?
Doris Simeon Productions; short as DS Productions.
Is Victims your first production?
No, it’s my fourth film.
How would you rate your production skills?
I would say this last one was quite relaxing for me unlike my first. I produced my first film in 2006. I tried to make sure that everything went well and I didn’t owe debts here and there; tried to make sure it finished within the time frame that I worked out. But no matter how you plan, you will have some hazards here and there.
Why are many actors and actresses going into producing movies? Is it because they are not getting roles or is producing more rewarding?
Maybe the English actors or actresses are the ones you would say just ventured into producing, because the Yoruba actresses had been producing way back. As practitioners, we criticize some works that we do, so we decided to set an example and show how it is done. That’s it; not getting any role.
Some actress in the industry have NGOs or pet projects as a means of giving back to the society, do you have or intend to have any?
I have a group, I will not call it a foundation and my passion is young widows and street kids who are victims of rape. I have my friends. Sometimes, maybe on my birthday, we try to do something to touch lives. I don’t make noise about it so that tomorrow people will not be like, what happened to that your foundation?
What can you say about the promiscuous impression the society has about actress and female entertainers?
I will say that the impression is wrong and it’s a big lie. But it’s a free world and if you want to, you will. It’s a thing of choice. But that doesn’t mean that the whole women in the industry sleep around, and that’s why they are not getting married. There are so many people out there who live their lives the way they want. How many do you hear about? But because we are the faces out there, everybody believes that we don’t have a private life anymore and everything that happens in our lives, they have to know about it. As if they knew when you were born. It’s just one of the things we face for being actresses.
Even if it brings the wrong men to you, it is still a thing of choice. You decide what you want and it is what you want that will happen.
So, what’s the hardest decision that you’ve made as an actress?
I’ve not really thought about it. Maybe trying to fix two jobs the same day. I was just gisting with one of my colleagues there about fixing three jobs the same day and they were calling me. I didn’t even know what to do in order not to offend anybody.
How do you encourage young people that want to act as a producer?
I usually tell them to be humble, learn from others, don’t think that you have arrived.
How do you unwind?
Mostly, I relax at home or I travel out, switch off my phones. I even travel secretly so that no one will know and I like to be around my family.
An actress told me that actresses don’t make so much money and that contradicts what they depict on the social media. What can you say about that?
I would say maybe because of piracy, that is why she said that. We don’t have a fixed price. When you are contracted for a job, you negotiate, if you agree, you do it. You don’t have people competing in the industry.
Talking about piracy, now that we have a new government, what do you think they can do to curb it or bring it to the barest minimum?
There is a saying in Yoruba that if you keep a meat for a cat to watch for you, you know that cats like meat, but the cat knows that if any meat misses, you will hold him responsible. That is how I think we can resolve the issue of piracy. We know these people; do business with them rather than try to fight them. Try to be friends with them.
What message do you have for your fans and people that look up to you?
Like I said earlier, be humble in whatever field you are, make it what you like and good things will always come from it.
Who is a good producer?
You must know how to manage funds, how to make fortune out of the little capital that you have. Look out for good stories that people will always tell people to go and watch, make the story entertaining, make it something that people will ‘pee’ on their clothes because they don’t want to go out and miss any part of it.
How long does it take to make a film?
I think it took me almost two weeks to produce my first film. I planned for like a week. I had to take a break before starting again. I had to call back the artistes, bring back the equipment andyou have to pay them again. Even the location, you have to repay for them. That’s why you have to make a quality movie that will get your money back when people watch it, because word of mouth goes far.
Can you give me some of the titles of your movies?
First one is Bonite, which won the Best Actress, indigenous, AMMA Awards in 2008; Iya Kun, we premiered that in London and Silverbird and then Asiri.