Screenplay from Nollywood; how to write and sell it

Click here to see a list of creative Nollywood movie scripts for sale. They are already reviewed and ready-to-shoot spec scripts.
Note: Send a mail to scriptsandpapers@gmail.com so we can help you sell your scripts to a Nollywood producer/film-maker. 


For the Nollywood script writer, there is more to Nollywood screenplays than the movies you see on the screen. There is more to writing your Nollwood screenplay than selling it. Also, there is more to selling your nollywood screenplay than writing it.
This is what I may call the challenges of a Nollywood script writer.

Before you write a Nollywood screenplay, you have to take note of these below; 

  • Your screenplay should be a 'soft' genre
We have many genres of screenplay; Epic, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Romantic-Comedy, Drama, Family, Animated, Period, Historical, War, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Horror.
A Nollywood film maker would prefer Drama, Comedy, Epic or Family. Even if he needed Action, War or Horror, he would love it to be 'soft'. He wouldn't like persistent gun battle, sword clashes, car chase, bloody scenes and too much physical fight.

  • Nollywood screenplays are not too long
A page with courier font style, and font size twelve, is equivalent to one minute of screen time. Sixty pages is sixty minutes, which is one hour.
A nollywood film maker would prefer a screenplay with nothing more than ninety pages; which is equivalent to one hour, thirty minutes.
If your screenplay has two parts, you can make it sixty pages for each of the parts. The two parts will now sum up to two hours.
You can do otherwise only if the film maker gives you the specification with he wants.

  • Simple words are needed 
Do not let your screenplay contain difficult vocabulary. We are Nigerians and we speak English language, but we can never be like the Americans or the English.
Simple words will help your script-reader to understand every point you have to make. These simple words will precisely describe the actions and make them comprehensible to the reader.


Note: Send a mail to scriptsandpapers@gmail.com. We will collaborate with you to make your Nollywood Movie

Also, Read how to write the best screenplays that sell fast here https://scriptsandpapers.blogspot.com.ng/2014/06/how-to-write-screenplay.html


  • No unwieldy scenes 
A scene should not need costly settings and prop. You are the creator of the scenes in your screenplay and you should try as much as possible to limit the rate at which you mention certain properties that would be used by the actors in that particular scene. Nollywood film makers may frown at your screenplay if the props are going to be too expensive.

  • Do not include unusual actions 
Note you are dealing with Nigerian actors and actresses, and they don't like taking risks. You can stick with normal simple actions, unless you are writing an action genre which has been specified by your client, the film-maker.
Some of the unusual actions may include; jumping down from a tall building, hanging under the bridge, performing various types of acrobatics, jumping out from a fast moving vehicle, walking into and through the fire, chopping off another actor's head, collision of two vehicles, and many more.
It's true that sometimes a story, screenplay or a movie may not be able to move on without some of these unusual actions; but then, what you have to do if such situation arises is to write it in such a way the action wouldn't be obvious.
For instance, when you want to write that one of your characters ''will jump down from a tall building and dies on the spot''; you may put it in another way, less obvious, thus, ''he is in the balcony on the third floor, looking downwards. He looks very frustrated. The next moment, we see him lying dead on the foot of the building in a pool of his own blood''
You have just avoided the obvious action of 'falling down' from a tall building.
You have to be very careful here, in the sense that you need to tell the reader what you have in mind. You have to let him know that the character died as a result of him jumping down from the tall building.

  • Your screenplay must be dramatic
You have to create enough conflicts in your story. You have to at every point in time create a puzzle for your audience. Make them unable to predict the end of the story in your screenplay.
A very wonderful Nollywood movie may not need to be endowed with contemporary 3D production. But it must be endowed with entertaining drama, strong conflict, engaging dialogue and thrills.

  • Don't write to show off! 
Don't try to show your prowess in the usage of idiomatic expressions, adages, proverbs and other figurative expressions. Just go straight to the point!

  • Be well oriented with the economy
Your screenplay must be of low budget. The loyal citizens of this country want to get a good, thrilling and satisfying entertainment with part of the little stipends they earn from their various businesses and jobs. As a result of this, you have to diligently accustom yourself to fit into their plight by cleverly learning to write exciting, scintillating, fascinating and awesome story-line scripts that are of low budget in production.
You should also bear the cast in mind. Do not write stories that will need too many characters. Nollywood film makers do not feel comfortable with such a development. They need a concise cast.

  • You should also understand the implication of moral decadence in our society
You must learn the best way to create an entertaining piece, which when produced will go a long way to uphold good morals.
The greater percentage of audiences to all these creativity is teenagers; and you know the characteristics of teenagers, you know what they can be up to at every point in time.
There should be no too much sexual intercourse scenes. There should be no too much of exposure to unacceptable acts like masturbation, lesbianism and the rest.
Just strive to write a screenplay which every age range can watch comfortably. Unless you are asked to do otherwise by your client, just make your screenplay decent enough.

  • You have no reason to write a screenplay that can incite religious violence
Unless you do not reside here in the country, or you have not heard about the religious differences, inequalities and contentions; you have no reason to write a screenplay that can incite religious violence
You have to be balanced. You need to be objective. Your screenplay theme may have in it some religious backgrounds and activities. What you have to do is to make sure you write dialogues and actions that do not condemn or mock any religious beliefs. Just be careful about this. Try and be plain.

  • Ethnic differences and tribal stereotypes are also the major causes of violence in the country 
Just like in religious issues above, you always need to be objective in your writing. Do not condemn any tribe. Do not write actions, mention names, describe locations or highlight cultures that can paint a bad picture of the tribe being portrayed.
If you must write about a particular tribe, make sure you do not use the exact nomenclatures, especially those ones that may cause troubles. You can change some of the exhibitions from their elusive cultures. What I mean by 'elusive' is those cultures that were abolished as a result of their immoralities.

  • Nigerian politics is another issue
You know how explosive political rivalry, clashes and other related problems are. A lot of things cause these. Unworthy attitudes from the opponent is one of them. Silly utterances is another. Don't just add more to these through your screenplay. If you must write a genre with a political theme, be sure to censor your dialogues. Nollywood film makers are very careful when it comes to movies with political themes. Try and help them.

  • Let's talk about your personal orientation
Yes, your personal orientation. You need to be well informed about certain issues and reasons why they happen.
You need to be versatile. Off course you need to! That's why you are a writer. Try and always update yourself. We are in a social media age; take advantage of it. The more you are conversant with a lot of things that happen in our societies today, the more you will be stable enough to write a good screenplay.
You must also know the kind of audience you are dealing with, and as a result, you will know the kind of stories to generate.

  • You must be creative
You must create extraordinary ideas. There are a lot of screenplays and movies in the entertainment market today. Make yours stand out. You are the only one who can make your screenplay shine, and make nollywood film makers long for it. Try and be outstanding; embed some creative concepts on your work.

Now, all the above points will help you write a good screenplay for Nollywood. The next move is to get the buyers.
Let me be sincere to you; selling your nollywood screenplay may not be easier than writing it. As far as Nollywood and Nigeria is concerned, there may be no place, office or market to submit your screenplay for review and eventual sale.
I'm not dashing your hope of selling your script. I'm only encouraging you to do more than just writing it. Doing more than just writing may eventually help you sell it.

Before you can sell a Nollywood screenplay, you have to take note of these below;


  • You need to have a body of work
One screenplay alone may not be enough to break into nollywood. Write more. Write up to three, four, five or more. Explore the entire 'soft' genres. It may be uneasy and burdensome, but you have to try.

  • You need to become a real script writer
What I mean here is that you need to be in script-writing. You need to develop the passion for it. Script-writing needs to be beyond your hobby. Just be determined to make it your source of living.
Screenplay has a lot of components and elements. A real script writer doesn't just write scripts he also studies explicitly those components and elements of screenplay. He goes to the extent of teaching others.
You need to take your time in writing your screenplays. You need to also give in huge effort.

  • Create a channel
Create an outlet. Every business or talent needs to be exported or advertised for consumers or audiences to know about it. Just try and create awareness. You can use social media. You can use your facebook page or you can create a weblog; and in it, you can post regularly your experiences in script writing. You can write short screenplays, post them on the blog and then invite your friends to read them. As you keep on building your weblog, people will see you as someone very busy and passionate with script-writing. A Nollywood film maker may even read all those posts by chance, and may eventually mail you.
Note: while doing all these, make sure you promote your work first and not your name. Promoting your name first may mean you are showing off. Just be humble. Nollywood film makers love humble clients. Your audience will also like what you do if you are humble.

  • Go beyond script writing
Study how to rewrite a screenplay. Learn film making. Learn how to teach others. Be a master of screenplay.
Have you ever wondered why only one person in some of the Nollywood movies you have watched did almost all the job? He is the story creator, the writer of the screenplay, the creator of the cast, the producer and the director.
You may call him 'Jack of all trade'. But no; he is not! This person in question went beyond script-writing. He learnt many other things about film-making. This is the kind of movie business we have in nollywood.
An executive producer may not want too much people to get involved in making his film. When too much people get involved, too much money would be spent. As a result, he opts for someone who knows it all.
Try and know it all if possible. You can develop a story, write, re write, do the casting, budget, schedule, direct and produce it. This will increase your chances of selling you screenplays in Nollywood. It will also help you to be in Nollywood full time. You will now become an executive (smiles warmly).

  • Be determined to become an independent film maker 
 Just try and believe you are going to produce your screenplays into movies yourself. This kind of belief would help drive your urge to learn the other things in film-making. It will help you to be focused.
This is Nigeria for you. Everybody claims to be a film writer. It will be hard for you to convince a producer or film maker to buy your script when he can just scribble one for himself.

  • Attend shows
Yes, just try and attend film shows, festivals, seminars, premier and workshops. At these shows, you can proudly tell people you are script-writer. Get into interview sections. Identify yourself as a good script-writer. Go ahead and mention your outlets like your weblog, website, facebook page. Intimate people your expertise in script-writing and perhaps film making. Through all these, you may shine one day. A film-maker may get interested in you.

  • Get contacts of people whose jobs are in one way or the other related to film making
Follow them on social media. Surround yourself with these people. One day you may get vital information from them. This information may help you sell your screenplay; or it may make you excel in Nollywood.

  • Surround yourself with script writing and film making websites, books, journals, magazines, bulletins and many others
Make script writing be in your life!


Phew! I'm now laughing. I can see you looking very disappointed. You thought you would sell your script as soon as you complete it and then make huge money, right?
Now don't worry. All the above points are just for those who do not have good luck, or those who are not socially disposed.
Someone like you reading this may sell your script just immediately after completing it and advertising it on your facebook page.
Someone like you may have friends who can just connect you to a nollywood executive.
Someone like you may even be related directly to any of these nollywood executives.
Someone like you may just have the grace from God. God's grace may help you stumble into a platform where you can quickly sell your script.
Just don't worry. Everything is possible, provided God is alive. Don't you believe in miracle? I know you do.
Keep writing your Nollywood screenplay. Don't be afraid.

Written by: Winston "Winny Greazy" Oge 
Send a mail to scriptsandpapers@gmail.com so we can help you sell your scripts to a Nollywood producer/film-maker

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