Saheed Azeez is an actor and also growing to become a production designer. I have participated in a few productions in the area of art direction/set design, both for television and stage. From Oyo state, born and raised in Ajegunle, Apapa.
Having earned a Diploma in Business Admin from Osun State Polytechnic Iree , I advanced to Lagos State University for a degree in Theatre Arts, and since then, always been in the world of the arts. Been part of many stage productions both as actor and crew (set/light designer). As actor, I have been involved in various stage project like; Death and the kings horseman, The gods are not to blame, The king must dance naked, Kurunmi, just to mention a few. I have also been part of various projects including Mnet; like the Africa Magic Original Films [Amof] both as actor and set designer. I also took part in the Africa magic telenovela HUSH, where I was a member of the crew as set dresser. I am best known as a fellow willing to put my very best into work and being part of great things. I am always ready to put forward my creativity ideas for the success of every project I find myself.
Dagger, Protégé, koboko [Yoruba movie], Vigilante, Hush, just to mention but few.
My childhood years were neither fun nor rough. I was born and brought up in Ajegunle, where most people refer to as AJCity. Amidst the struggle to survive even as a child, I also had loads of fun. Apart from the fact that Ajegunle is notorious for having the tendency to influence you negatively, one cannot over-emphasize the positive impact it has on any child with big dreams, because it prepares one for the harsh realities of the world. A ghetto-child who has been through thick and thin, but remains tenacious, is always ready to combat and win eventually in this competitive world. In Ajegunle, our parents made it their utmost responsibilities to make sure we trend the right path, by making sure we had the best education they could afford to give us. I’m most grateful for that, and everything I must tell you.
As a child, I always had dreams and aspirations-at some point I wanted to be an engineer (chuckles). You know, every child wants to live well and do something tangible for his/her family. We believe then that only doctors, engineers, lawyers could afford such a life. So why not hop on the bandwagon. And I almost did. But while in secondary, the wind of life took me to art class, and later I would soon find myself thrusting business papers in the polytechnic. Then, the silver lining came in the university when I gained admission into LASU to study the arts of the Theater.
Aside acting, I’m also into production designs i.e. art direction, set dressing, props, stage design and construction, voiceover, etc. Often times, my nifty fingers find themselves in interior decorations too.
You know nothing in life comes easy especially when its not handed to you on a platter of gold. Sincerely, I never wanted to be an actor, because growing up and while in the University studying Theatre Arts, I always had this feeling that anybody can act. So, why don’t I do what everybody cannot do? I decided to opt for designs instead since am very good in drawing and painting. But as a Theatre arts student you have to pass through acting either you like it or not. That’s how I fell in love with acting.
When it comes to challenges, there are truckloads one would face in acting or as an actor. It is never easy for me especially when you have to combine acting with set designing on the same set. For instance, in “Hush” and some other movies I featured in, I’ve had to shuffle between being an actor and a set decorator, or dresser. So, it was never an easy task for me at all. But when you love what you do, you have to find a way around doing and enjoying it.
Getting to where I am today took me a lot of hard work, determination, and focus. However, there’s still so much more to be done to get to that height I’ve always wanted to be in life. It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. Hard work surely pays but working smart pays way more.
As a trained actor, I don’t think you should be particular about the roles you play. You should be ready to play or take up whatever role is thrown at you. The ability to switch roles is what makes you a good actor. Aside the rugged street thug roles that I have been cast for most time, I have also played some roles that I’ve had to be cool calm and collected. Basically, I don’t think I’m particular about the roles I play. Although, in Nigeria most actors are particular about the roles they play because of ‘branding and packaging’. Mind you, every role given to an actor either big or small is challenging. How I deal with roles given to me is to consciously or subconsciously make myself that character. I also tend to do my research if needed and some personal rehearsals.
[Smiles]. If you ask my friends this question directly, you will be amazed the response they will give. But I think they will say;
I sometimes get angry on the slightest things. And I also sometimes procrastinate until it becomes a big responsibility to handle. [Smiles] Although, it’s not a problem anymore.
If you say my first experience as an actor on set, we will probably be referring to my first performance on stage. I can remember being nervous, standing in front of an audience. Therefore, the stage experience I had over the years gave me some form of leverage in acting in my first ever role on television. Acting alongside some of Nigeria’s best was not that intimidating but a big privilege.
ON HIS CAREER
One of my biggest roles so far was playing the street thug Alabama in “Hush”. The irony is I wasn’t prepared for it. I was brought on the project as a set dresser, and later cast as one of the street thugs who later became Alabama. So, talking about preparation, I was not prepared for it at all. But when I got the role, I knew I had to give it my best. Therefore I took the time to study the character very well, and with my background coming from the hood I borrowed from my ghetto parlance to further help elevate my characterization as described by the script and I will confess that the wonderful and talented actors on that project also helped in enhancing my interpretation.
That depends on the kind, be it a movie, series, or a telenovela. After reading the script, I try to understand what the script, story, and message been passed across. I make sure I understand the character or role I’m playing coupled with other characters in the script. If necessary, I carry out a research, and then I proceed to making myself the character in the story with constant rehearsals and lines digestion.
Do I get into character easily? I will say I actually get into the role I’m playing easily as long as I understand the character and what the script and director is asking of me.
Talking about challenge, it will be hard to say what the greatest challenge is. Because there are a lot of challenges and whatever challenge an actor faces is great on its own. I also think it all depends on the angle you are looking at it from. But for me, one of the major challenges is getting a good script. It’s hard to get a good script that will challenge you as an actor. There are good writers with awesome scripts and story-lines I must point out, we have good writers in Nigeria.
Timing for instance, can pose a challenge to the actor. You get a script today and they want you to come on set for shoot next day, more like an impromptu shoot, because they believe an actor is a magician. Well, I sometime think actors are magicians because you find out that even in this kind of situations, the actor still delivers. But the stress they go through in interpreting the role is not often encouraging.
Another problem is good pay, most actors are paid meager fee. They don’t get paid their worth, maybe because the project is low funded or otherwise, this unconsciously kills the actor’s morale to give his all. We can’t shy away from the fact that we are doing the job not only for the love, but also for the money. ‘Man gat to pay bills mehn’. Low funding is a big challenge on the actors and the production in general because whatever affects total production affects the actor. There is also the ‘Padi Padi’ trend…Continue Reading
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