Film Masterclass With Kunle Afolayan Episode 2 – Developmental Stage

Film Masterclass With Kunle Afolayan Episode 2: The Developmental Stage from the Perspective of The Figurine Movie.

In this Second Episode of Film Masterclass with Kunle Afolayan Episode 2, the serial award-winning filmmaker will be looking at The Developmental Stage from the Perspective of The Figurine – the entire thought processes and how the movie came to life.

Kunle noted, however, that the developmental stage of filming is supposed to lead to pre-production as they sometimes go side by side.

Mr Afolayan also explained that the purpose of doing this exercise is to inspire generations to come.

“I think that it is important that we pass this on to the next generation. It’s very important to share our own journey for the benefit of all of us; our peers, those that are older and those that are coming after us.”

Film Masterclass with Kunle Afolayan Episode 2

Here are excerpts from the Film Masterclass With Kunle Afolayan Episode 2:

What Informed The Figurine Movie – The Story

Many of you already know that I started as a career person, working in the bank. During that time, I always think of why Africans are so superstitious. If anything positive or negative happens to us, we want to say Jesus, or Mohammed or Eshu, or Sango or Ogun, or generally religion. So, I thought, how come we don’t look inward and check what we’ve done right or wrong. These thoughts pre-informed the film’s concept – The Figurine. This was the catalyst. So I wanted to tell a story about it and play around coincidences and superstitions.

The Setting

My original idea was to set the story in Nigeria and abroad (somewhere in Germany). This was because of the differences in the pictures in terms of the environment when shooting. I wanted that look of shooting in Africa and also abroad. So, that was my idea.


As a filmmaker, you cannot do everything. After conceiving the idea, knowing that I am not a writer and since I know that I could not do it all alone, I knew that I had to engage people who are experts in such areas. So, someone introduced Jovi to me – a young talent who was just starting at that time. And I recalled meeting him earlier on. So, I ran the concept through Jovi and I said, “go and write it.” A few weeks after, he came to me with a notebook of the hand-written story. So, I read it and I was all jumpy because it was my idea to start with.

So, I got the Sophocles (a screenwriting software), got on my small laptop and started to type in the entire story and printed it afterwards and moved around reading the story.

Then, I met with Kemi Adesoye who was then working with Cool FM. When we were introduced, I was told she studied in New York Academy – the same school I wanted to go at that time. Kemi showed me two of her short films, so I told her that I had a script and I wanted her to read the script so she could tell me what she felt about it. After a couple of years (due to her schedule), she helped in making a few changes here and there and we got the first draft of The Figurine movie script. And at that time, it was titled The Shrine.


One of the big deciders of every movie is the funding aspect. Sometimes, in some places you go seek for funds, their conditions might be to change some of your original ideas. So, it’s up to you to say “hold on to your funds, I want to stick to my ideas,” or you can say “I can accommodate your ideas.” that was my dilemma.

Key Notes

Now, I need to note here that during film developmental stages, there are crucial decisions you will have to contend with as a filmmaker, but then you are expected to make a decision. Your decisions will determine if eventually, you will be able to make the film at the end of the day or how good it will turn out.

One of these crucial areas is sourcing for funds. This area will test your ability to stick to just being an artist or an artiste-entrepreneur, as only you can make the call of what decision to take if eventually, a prospective financier wants to change a thing or two about your ideas.

My advice about this is to seek to become an artist-entrepreneur. This is because you will always consider how you can get in some funds to shoot, and when successful, that can open doors to do more films, but on the other hand, if you want to stick to your guns to getting grants all the time, you will probably be making one film in 5 years or even one film in 10 years.

The developmental stages of filming are that part where you start to think of those who can bring it to life. Such as producers, actors, photographers, etc. From experience though, I always wear different shoes as the producer, director and the executive producer. I do this because I feel no one can do it better. I am not saying that there are no competent hands out there, but when something is your passion and it’s your calling, trust me, no one will do it like you.

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Episode 3 Preview

Film Masterclass with Kunle Afolayan Episode 2 ends here. The next episode will look at the preproduction stages of filmmaking in the next episode. In episode 3, I will let you know how I chose the actors,  photographers 

See below, the full clip of Film Masterclass With Kunle Afolayan Episode 2: The Developmental Stage from the Perspective of The Figurine

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