Although the media has options of reporting politics, sports, war and natural disasters, the entertainer has no other medium to showcase himself but the media. When you cannot do without someone who can do without you, the next thing for you is to play the role of a ceremonial best friend to the person, bearing in mind that no matter the side your friend takes, it will be well with you.
A young man who wanted to join the entertainment industry asked me the rules and regulations he must observe to succeed in the industry and I gave him some funny rules he must follow to succeed, else he would be the next guy coming through the entrance and exiting at the same time through the opposite door.
The rules are never strict because for every building there is always a back door. The truth is thanyone who is not willing to get in through the back door must follow them to succeed.
Rule number one: Never mess with the media
This does not mean an entertainer is not free to punch a reporter on the face. He is free if he can bear the outcome. This simply means that aside bringing out the best of what one does [Music, dancing, acting, comedy, etc], the next thing in the career of every entertainer is the media.
Every good event manager wants to work with a popular entertainer in his event, because they draw the crowd that pays the money.
Fame comes with time and the time is with the media and directly proportional to hard work and grace of God upon the entertainers; I don’t believe in luck. This is what the media does for an entertainer. Many have lived their lives ignorant of this and today, they are nowhere.
Media coverage is never your birthright, but you can get one free by dying a mysterious death because business of death news is still booming.
Every individual, group or company that is into entertainment should endeavour to get himself or herself a good media representative who will be sending out quality contents to the public on their behalf. This is not just a once in a year thing, but should be made a continuous process because repetition in the media, creates a lasting impression.
So never overlook the media and find yourself a good writer who understands the industry.
Rule number two: When media call, only say what you want the public to know
Even when you are playing the role of a ceremonial best friend to the media, make your secret a secret. Many have fallen victim of this by telling the media stories that turned out to ruin their career.
Some get excited when such calls come in that they forget to speak with their brains while others have on the other hand insulted the reporter who called them, as if the reporter had already taken side in the problem he is having with another person.
It is a privilege to have a reporter call you; he does so because he has respect for you. He is calling you because he is giving you the opportunity to redeem yourself and there are several neutral statements you can make other than rain insults on him.
He could go on and publish what he has and in a case like this, add that you were saying rubbish when contacted. Nobody wants to be in that picture. One you have been contacted, the media owe you no more apologies.
Always tell the media what you want the public to know, let the rest be your little or big secret.
Rule number three: Never force your private life on the media
Never be the likes of Maheeda and her mates who gain attention with weird acts. Never go for fame via negative news.
You are probably single today and someday you will marry and have children. How do you want your kids to feel when their mates are watching the sex tapes and nude pictures of their mother or father?
When their mates will sing the scandals of their parents to them like a song, how would you want them to feel? Just bear in mind that while you are getting money today for those acts, someday you will pay for them. It is a debt which money can never repay.
With the rate new technologies are coming out, it would be so easy to recall all the funny pictures we are making today in 10 years time and they will haunt us more than the ghost of the people we have killed. That is if you have ever killed anyone.
The media is the home outside your home
Most entertainers actually mistake what the media stands for; they want their entire life covered by the media. That is nonsense! Even the Khadeshians have their privacy and only show the public what they need to see.
The media is the home your fans meet and interact with you, but your real home should be kept away from it.
Unless in the case of a stage-managed relationship, I don’t think it is right for anyone to make their private dealings available to the media. One wrong side of it is that there are people who want to copy you because they love you; what do they end up copying? Every wrong you have put out to the media and we end up having a bunch people warming up for mistakes in their lives because of you.
Also note this, when you show it to the public, their opinion might count. Who knows the one you would be choosing it might ruin your life until the end of it.
Like the police, the media is your friend
Just like the police, and I mean the Nigeria Police, the media is your friend. They make you and destroy you as well. You can pay them to protect you or someone else and you can also pay them to destroy someone else.
The media can be intimidating if you don’t have your way, but just like the person whom the Inspector General of Police is his friend, you are somehow untouchable, but have in mind that a bigger police can overcome a smaller police.
Never use the media as a weapon of warfare; never start a media war because it is a sign of irresponsibility and when you are involved in one, choose your words carefully.
Even when the media is your friend, never spit fire and thunder or things you would like to take back about another person when speaking to a reporter. Always tell this friend of yours the things you want the public to know. Be strict on that.
The media is the only friend who has the right not to keep secrets. Trust but never with your secrets.
Do publicity, not ‘hyping’
Many entertainers have come to me for hyping and I simply ignored them. How do you want me to say that you are wearing a gold necklace of N200,000 when you are begging to pay me N3000. No radio station has ever played your songs, you have never been nominated for any award and you want the media to report that you are an award winning artiste. Habah! This will never help your career.
As an upcoming, you can start by embracing the media by stating your ambitions, sharing photos and video of you in some important event but never overdo it.
Working with media a personnel who will be sending out quality contents on your behalf will be the best thing for your days of humble beginning. Don’t be swayed by the lies of the stars who say they spent millions on video and at the end of the day the bulk of the money they spent was on flight, accomadation and transportation. You can still do well with your little budget if you spend it well.
Michael Jackson was spending millions of dollars on videos before now and we see the money in the quality.
The industry loves to hear outrageous figures as fees but never believe in most them, they are lies and craft of the media. This is simply hyping and to a certain standard, it is cheating.
As an upcoming entertainer, let the media only say what you can do. Because if your stage name is ‘JohnB’ and you say you are an award winning artiste, just by typing ‘Awards won by JohnB’ on any search engine, people will know you are a liar.
Never use police case, drug related issues, death news and others for hype, if you must do it, then work with a good writer who can bail you out of it without the public smelling fish in your cabinet.
Healthy publicity still works although a little hype comes in at times, but never say what you have not done and what you cannot do.
The real friends and enemies
Some people have destroyed themselves with the media, by trying to be who they can never be.
An artiste who is not good can never force himself on the public, your worth needs to march the publicity you are receiving.
When Goldie was alive, she was famous in the country and beyond but how many people knew her songs? Same thing with the Area Father, Charly Boy, we all know he is an artiste, or may be a onetime artiste but most people in this generation don’t even know any of his songs even when they have one or more of is weird pictures on their devices.
Someday, the media will get tired of them because the public are no longer interested in things that concern them. In that case, the artiste have turned his own enemy.
Aside piracy, which is predominant in the internet media, the media has been the best friend of entertainers even when most of them do not appreciate it.
Kelly Hansom fought the media and they hit him, today he is struggling to command the news worthiness he had five years ago.
It is better you don’t take a nude picture or make a sex tape at all, than come to blame the media for leaking it online. Just have in mind that the quest for traffic can make a blogger do things and the fact that there are no restrictions in Nigeria today means anything can go in internet media. Don’t be a victim.
The entertainment media sector has come a long way and the fact that we do not mostly have professionals as practitioners in this area means every entertainment ought to be careful with whom they deal with. Work with people who can write you out of anything not people who will present your case with the worst of grammars and slangs that will make people see you are yet to be serious.
Both parties have their faults in the business, but being friends and enemies at times would be for and against as the case may be and this is ideal.
Chinedu Hardy Nwadike, an entertainment media consultant, writes from Owerri, Imo State.