The Up and coming actress, Elizabeth Daniels,said in an interview on how she joined the movie industry
What motivated you to become an actress, has it always been your life ambition?
It has never been my dream to be an actor. That thought never crossed my mind while growing up. I found myself where they were having an audition and later that day, I was just goofing around with what I saw them doing at the audition. It got my friends tripping for me and they all started making contact with people who could help me enter the industry. It all started like a joke and here I am today.
Would you say you received enough training to be able to produce your own movies?
Attending Royal Art Academy was the best decision I have ever made in respect of my career as a film maker. I had no digital filmmaking experience when I entered the school. I remember vividly that the first time I saw a full script was at Emem Isong’s office. I was brought in by Desmond Elliot, with strong recommendation from Mr. Charles Altidor that I had untapped acting talent. When I was presented a script, I read through it like a magazine, with no experience, or knowledge of showing expression, or how to be in character. I got my first waka pass role that day though, in Catwalk series. I was excited. But I knew that was just the beginning for me. Royal Act Academy gave birth to this producer, because if I didn’t find what they were doing interesting, I wouldn’t have pushed myself this much. Whether I have learnt enough to produce my own movies, I would say I am on the right path. I am still gathering experience as I go along.
So many other actresses become so popular and even stay for years before eventually becoming producers, why didn’t you wait long before you dived into movie production?
I enjoy acting, but I have always been more passionate about film production. I have put in sweat, tears, and pains, to get to where I am. And to tell you the truth, experience is truly the best teacher. I am still learning and so far, it hasn’t been easy, but it is worth it all the way. Filmmaking is no child’s play, from my few years experience in the business. You have to be physically and mentally strong to be equal to the task.
Going down memory lane, were your parents in full support of your becoming an actress?
When I got my first role in Catwalk series, I had just graduated from University of Calabar. Even while I was in school, I was already Miss Independent because I had my own business to run, and made returns. I started selling kerosene from age 11, but my parents were always interested in every decision we make. But when I chose acting, I felt it was better to give them update about my new found career, before either of them saw me on the screen kissing or smoking and die of a heart attack. The first person I called was my mother, and the first thing she said when I told her was, ‘God’s name be blessed.’ She immediately asked me to call my daddy and get his blessings and call her back. I was scared of my dad saying no. I called her back to update her that my dad gave me a go ahead, even though I didn’t call him. But when gist started going round within my family, my dad got hold of it and called me, he asked the titles of all the movies I had done, and he was very proud of me.
Did you have a strict childhood being a daughter of a police officer?
My dad is retired, but still works for a Federal Government institution as the Chief Security Officer. He recently spoke to us about his political ambition. I was raised with so much love from my dad, and grandmother, whom I was named after. I was raised like a boy in a beautiful girl figure. I could do basically anything a boy could do. My favourite sport till date is soccer and wrestling. My dad raised me to be fearlessly strong, and to know how to defend myself at all time. I am the first daughter of six children, with an elder brother. My dad wanted more male children; you know how it is with African fathers and their love for plenty male children. So he got himself a second wife, who gave us another male son, and two daughters.
What could have made you decide to read Social Works in the university?
Social Works is a discipline I will implore the government to look into. In other developed countries, their contribution is massive. Social Works is a discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and the well-being of every individual.
As an up and coming movie producer/actress, how challenging has it been?
Getting funds to shoot a quality movie is always the number one challenge, which is one of the reasons why several producers cut corners and produce low budget movies. If you manage to produce a movie, pirates will not allow you enjoy the dividend so you can produce something better. Also we all know how some Nigerians operate when it comes to being professional, they don’t know business ethics. As an actor, working with some directors can be pretty demanding, especially some that would want word for word as it is written in the script.
Then again, some producers are not ready to give up comers opportunities, which is one of the reasons I am planning a production to introduce new faces and give them the chance to show their talents to the world.
What would you do if your man tells you to quit acting?
Before I will say yes to any man, he must be a man I have good communication with and who truly loves, respects and understands me. Being in Nollywood is because I have an unending passion for making quality films. Why would you wake up one morning and ask me to stop what I love doing? There has to be a good reason, else I am not having that.
Is it too early for the wedding bell to ring?
I can’t say wedding bells will ring yet but right now, I am in a committed relationship with an amazing man who adores and supports me. We hope to make that decision someday.