Light, Cameras, Action and Tierny Olalere becomes Asake, another person entirely- like Houdini pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
For Tierny, every single one of the fifteen films she has done since she got her first major role in 2020 has been an opportunity to experience another consciousness – another life. Whether it is in “Alagogo Ide,” or “The Night Bride,” she wields her character and paints a vivid fresco of it like Michelangelo’s creation of Adam at the Sistine’s.
Tierny’s horizon stretches to content creation, production and the role of creative director of Lau7production TV amongst other personal brands.
The graduate of Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Tierny has produced several movies such as Pajuda, Knock Knock, Yellow, Manson and Meredith a web series and a cinema movie titled ‘Olawura.’
She sat down with Tola Adebayo to speak about all these and more. Excerpts:
If you were to describe yourself in five words?
Ambitious, strong, witty, strict and focused.
Tell us a bit about your background?
I come from a Christian family of 5; I grew up in the police barracks, as my parents are police officers. My parents being police officers meant we moved around a lot and I end up attending different schools in different places.
What motivated you to become an actor?
From my early days as a child I loved standing in front of the mirror and acting, loved watching a lot of movies, and I loved to write. I started writing at age 13 and gave my friends to read, at the time they always looked forward to reading my stories – from there the interest continued to grow and I continually fell in love with it and here we are today.
At what point did you decide to monetize acting?
Due to how the world works, I was made to understand that I have to use money to make money; just having the talent is not enough, which pushed me to invest more in my career as an actor. I produced my first movie in 2020, when I officially entered the movie industry, prior to that I have been in and around the movie industry for about 9 years.
Can we say you have been acting and producing for 9 years?
No. I started production 2 years ago officially.
What kind of film appeals to you the most?
Horror movies. I have never been the soft type, always liked action movies, if not action then cultural movies, but horror movies are my best genre. I have written two horror movies, one short film and one feature length film that went to the cinema. It’s just what I love.
In your view what makes a great film/complete story?
Firstly it has to have a great story line, good actors to interpret the roles, good directors to pan the actors to properly interpret the script, and it has to be properly marketed, to ensure maximum profit on investment.
What has it been like for you transcending from acting to production?
I started my career as both a producer and actor. The first place I set my foot in the movie industry I was made to understand that I had to use what I had to get what I want. At the time all I had was my little money to get what I want (which is my acting career) and I started producing my own stories. It has been a very good experience for me and I don’t regret any bit of it.
As a producer, how do you handle the issue of funding?
As a producer so far, I fund with my money, and it’s been a sweet sour story, the sweet part is me doing what I have always dreamt of doing, and the sour part being possible delay in making return on investment, at times I might have to wait for longer period of time before making my money back. Growth is inevitable as the times have passed I’ve realized how to get funds without using my money and how I can make more money from my movies.
As someone with experience in both acting and producing which is more challenging?
Producing. I can also go ahead and say they are both equally challenging. If you are not fully committed don’t get into any of the two, but if you are truly passionate about it you will easily accept the challenges and brace up to conquer them.
What are your thoughts on the seeming over-reliance on comic relief in the Nigerian movie scene?
In Nigeria we face a lot of challenges, it’s safe to say comic relief is our coping mechanism, our way of unwinding from all the stress and challenges, the movie makers understand the need for this and they have found the best way to sell their movies ever since. Life is too short to be too serious.
Some of the movies we have seen you on are Mystic Birth, Yellow, Knock Knock etc. What motivates you to keep going?
I am focused. There is also this saying my mom will always tell me ‘what is worth doing is worth doing well’, to me I just keep working, like someone mining for gold, my dreams and goal is very valid so I just have to keep going and I am very passionate about it.
How many movies have you produced or featured in?
I have featured in over 10 to 15 movies that I can remember, and I have produced 5 movies; 2 short films, 2 featured length and 1 series.
Which project should we look forward to from you at the moment?
There is a lot coming, at the moment the one to expect are High School series coming, and a mini skit series coming titled ‘Asake’.
Can you tell us a bit more about Asake?
Asake (the character) is very adventurous, funny, she can be senseless, she is a character you guys will love, and one that is equally annoying. Just watch out for Asake.
What inspired the skit series Asake?
Like you said earlier, we film makers like comic relief because it sells more, also it’s me exploring another part of me and diversifying into comedy, whilst also showing my versatility.
Can you tell us some of the casts we can look forward to seeing in Asake?
It’s a skit, so it’s just a few actors and me, we have people like the veteran Baba Lalude, and a host of gifted actors, just keep your fingers crossed and expect the best.
When it comes to writing, do you do it all by yourself or do you work with a team of writers?
I write myself, I still have a lot of scripts that are yet to be developed into movies, lately it’s almost like I will be needing more hands when writing because after my last project, the High School series, it’s evident that I might not be able to carry on as a solo writer, but at the moment, I create my stories myself.
As someone who is booked for acting gigs and also focused on production, what does it take to put together a skit or web series?
It takes a lot, but it really doesn’t affect your schedule if you properly plan ahead and work towards it, but it takes a lot of time, it’s also mentally and financially heavy.
When given a role to play/character to become, how do you achieve the process of totally becoming that character?
Firstly I isolate myself, take my time to breakdown and understand the character and role required, and make sure I fit in to what is required of the character.
If you had to pick, what are you best projects till date?
I don’t have one yet because my best is yet to come, if I absolutely had to I will go for the high school web series, it was challenging to do and it is my most expensive project till date.
In your view do you believe that drama influences life?
Yes it does.
What is your perspective on the movie industry in Nigeria and what impact has it had on you?
Being a part of the Nigerian movie industry has made me stronger, more focused, there are certain standards available in the industry that has to be maintained or surpassed and being a focused person, I have been working even harder to meet and surpass that standard in my career.
In your own perspective what are some of the challenges facing film producers in Nigeria?
Funding, marketing and the knowledge gap evident amongst producers in the industry. Personally I want to improve my knowledge in the aspect of cinematography and production, go for extra professional courses to sharpen my skills and also learn from top professionals.
As a producer how do you navigate these challenges?
I will investing in education and get more knowledge, whilst also helping people coming up tow the right path in the career.
What makes you standout?
I will say it’s the Grace of God, because there are lot of people out there who are also talented. I also work towards being a better version of myself everyday, and it keeps me on my toes and works all the time.
Who are your favorite actors?
Growing up, I watched a lot of Ibrahim Chatta, so I am definitely picking him as one of my favorite, the man is an embodiment of talent, and a legend in the movie industry, he is one of the best, he really understands acting. I will also pick Gabriel Afolayan, he is a monster when it comes to acting and the only person I want to emulate is Funke Akindele Bello; she is a passionate filmmaker.
What are your top 5 greatest movies?
I will say King of Thieves; Breaded Life; Brotherhood; King of Boys; and Omo Ghetto the Saga by my favorite, Funke Akindele Bello.
Fun fact about you that is not widely known?
That I am a very emotional person, I don’t like stress, I cry at the slightest stress.
What advice do you have for aspiring actors and producers?
They should not rush into film making because it’s not so simple, they should try and accumulate more knowledge, do research work, because knowledge is not age limited, we keep learning everyday. Take your time, do not give up, stars will align, if you are a star you are going to shine regardless of whatever comes in your way.
What will you like to be remembered for?
I just want to touch lives, do well, and give to the less privileged. As a family oriented person, I want to have a long table of family (not necessarily by blood) and to impact lives by giving.
You can also watch full interview on Youtube;
Interview by: Adetola Adebayo @adei_tola
Photographed: Bolurin Onafeso @bolurinvisuals
Camera: Ibrahim Olowolagba & Felix Babalola
Creative Director: Rayo Kasali @therayokasali
Executive Producer Adedamola Edun @adedamolaedun