How I funded my first film production – Tangerine (mini series)

Holla! Thanks for stopping by, if you haven’t, please read my 2.5 Million Naira Dream post to fully get the gist of this one.

♥️✨

Main cast #TangerineTheSeries

As much as I would have loved to gist the Galaxy about what happened during the production of my mini-series, Tangerine, I noticed that most of the questions I got in my DM yesterday were all about how I raised the remaining 1.5 Million naira to complete the project.

By the way, why do you guys like to ask more questions and give comments about my blog posts in my DM instead of on the blog where other Stars can benefit from the conversation and even contribute to it? Not cool people, not cool at all. 👀

I mean, you do know you can comment anonymously, right? Don’t worry, maybe when I stop responding to comments in my inbox (when you haven’t first commented on the blog), you, my darling Star, will come back here.

Anyway, you asked so I’m gonna share…

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By nature, I am a better giver than receiver. Get your mind out of the gutter!

In the previous post, I stated that I had a short list of people to ask for money. Actually, there were sixteen names on the list; God being number 1, so technically, it was only fifteen people –humans– I was looking to ask for money. When it got to it, I was too shy to contact three people which reduced the list to twelve humans. The economy being what it is, not all the twelve could come through, financially.

As at the time of publishing this post, only fifteen people made financial contributions towards #TangerineTheSeries to the tune of N596,000 ($1,469). Now, when the bank paid the loan, they deducted 5.8% of the total sum which means I only got N942,000, bringing the sum total received to N1,538,000 ($3,791).

Now, to answer the popular question of how I got the N596,000 and the remainder of the 2.5 million naira.

Stars, my simple answer would be, God, good relationships and faith (belief).

On God

I strongly believe that if I hadn’t involved God in Tangerine from the ideation, they couldn’t have been an execution. At least, not the way it went down and probably not even this year. All the glory belongs to Him.

On good relationships

Many things I got for free or at a huge discount based on my relationship with people and/or that of other people. For instance, the fashion house we used, I got for free. How did I get it? Through my 10-year-old niece, Nifemi.

We had been trying to get locations that won’t be too far from where the cast & crew will be lodged but nothing was forthcoming. The few places I got were either too costly or far from point A to B. One afternoon, I called my sister and told her to please help me find a nice fashion house. Sisi told me she didn’t have anyone who was a fashion designer nor could she think of a nice location. I threatened to keep crying until she found a place for me.

Few hours later, she called back that my niece, Nifemi, had as a place. How? Nifemi is only ten.

Before I could say jack, my niece had already gotten the person’s contact and sent to me.

No jokes!

When I eventually met the fashion house owner, introduced myself and how I got her contact, she wouldn’t stop talking about how sweet my little niece is and how she, amongst her daughter’s classmates, was always particular about asking how she was fairing. That endeared Nifemi to her and just like that, I got the location for free because of a little girl’s good nature.

Same way some of the equipment we used on the project were rented from a film academy at a giveaway price. My cousin, Ibk, took me to see the boss and told him to please help in any way he could. She couldn’t even stay with us because she had a business to attend to but the man gave me full audience. Not only did I get discount on the equipment, he took his time to give some valuable industry advice that I won’t forget quickly.

Also, my cinematographer (who I still want to strangle) came with most of the equipment we used, brought extra hands, paid them from his pocket, and sorted his accommodation and transport by himself; all for free. The only thing El took from me was to partake of the food I provided on set. This is a guy I met for the first time on set of a short film he produced in November 2020, where I was just an actor. Few weeks later, he called me back to be a part of his 5-man team, Church Parrot. Y’all need to check out the great work we’re doing 👇.

Or shall I talk about my crew members who came on set and gave their best (mostly) even though what I paid was chicken change? I hear them say, “It’s you now Gelax, I’ll do for you”, and I tear up, because what did I do to deserve such, especially in this tight Nigerian economy.

See ehn, I could go on and on but I think you get the drift.

On faith (belief)

Like I said, I got money from just fifteen people. Most of them did not need me to talk too much before coming through. The things they said to me made me suffer impostor syndrome for a couple of days. I was that touched.

The only person on the list who questioned me on Tangerine did so to be sure I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

Yo Stars, do you know what it means to ask people for money and they gave it without questioning?

What about the people who contributed creatively in different department from pre to post-production without me needing to cajole them? Just one phone call or voice note and they were sold out on Tangerine.

I just took a moment to dry my tears. I don’t have words to express my gratitude yet.

The person who gave me the largest sum, was a man I have only seen twice.

Here’s the gist, yeah…

I was supposed to meet Engr. Adams, a couple of weeks before the production when my baby girl, Sowole, told him about me and Tangerine but something came up and we couldn’t see. Y’all remember the evening the writer and the director were asking that we postpone Tangerine? Yup! That was the day I finally met him. He was with his friends so he asked that my cousin, Ibukun, who also knew him, bring me to his office the following day.

Shoot! I just realized that I mixed the dates up in the last post.🤦🏻‍♀️ Not to worry, nothing spoil, na only date I mess up.

He asked me what I wanted when we got to his office and I thought to sell myself, Bolaji Gelax, before selling my project to him; after all, Tangerine is only because I am. That was sha how I launched into a pitch about all of my awesomeness… LOL

I’m not kidding.

I told him about myself, what drives me, my dream to be a star maker and build a galaxy of Stars.

Now, there is another gist I missed… *wink*

The night I met Engr. Adams, someone asked if I could guaranty him a 200% returns if he invested 10 million naira in Tangerine. Ahhhh… is it money ritual I’m doing? Heheheee… Lord have mercy!

Anyway, after selling myself to Engr Adams, I told him I wasn’t looking for an investor. I took on the risk of producing #TangerineTheSeries as an indie filmmaker because I wanted my first production to be about garnering experience, making a statement, having an impact and being a learning curve than to be solely profit-oriented. I am more particular about creating a product I and everyone who was a part of the project can be proud of.

My prayer, of course, is that Tangerine does exceedingly well and open doors so I may kick-start the production of season 2 this year (minimum of 20 episodes) and launch bigger productions. Amen? AMEN.

However, I didn’t want the pressure to produce just to make profit. I told Engr. Adams that and I’m guessing what was what did it ‘cause he wrote me a cheque of N250,000 right there. Just like that!

Oh! Did I mention that a married man said he would give me a million naira for this project if I would just be his bae? Swears!

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Tangerine season 1 is only 8 episodes because we decided to go with quality over quantity.

Omo, with the vision I had, shooting more than that would have been me overstretching the available resources and fork me if I dared compromise on quality. Or maybe I didn’t dream big enough… I mean, God would have done it, right?

My biggest joy would be seeing/hearing people from different parts of the world who do not know Bolaji Gelax watch and genuinely like or connect with something about Tangerine. If not the storyline, then it should be the acting, directing, music scoring, cinematography, costumes, makeup, editing, designs and/or even the montage.

Yeah, I did make a lot of rookie mistakes and wished some things went differently, however, I couldn’t be more proud of myself and my team for pulling this project off.

Dear Star, I chose to share a bit of my experience on Tangerine with the hope that it encourages you to dream and reach for the stars.

Absolutely no ceiling is too high. Get a sledgehammer, a rock, stone, plank or use the heel of your shoes, whatever it takes, just go on and shatter the damn ceiling!

Bolaji Gelax

#TangerineTheSeries is currently in post production and I’m as eager as you are to see the finished work. Nervous much 🤭

More BTS of #TangerineTheSeries

PS: Abeg, I still dey find money for Tangerine o. My account details will be right there in the comment section, T for thanks.

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Bolaji Gelax

Hey, Star! Thanks for stopping by my world. I'm a gorgeous, sassy radio junkie who enjoys playing devil's advocate. I love everything that makes me happy, which includes the Stars in my #Galaxy. They call me MISS FLOWERY because I bring good vibes, love and light. Feel free to explore my world ❤✨

11 thoughts on “How I funded my first film production – Tangerine (mini series)

  1. I’m so inspired!
    I can’t wait to watch it when it’s out. I already can’t wait for the 2nd season.
    You have done such an amazing thing 😩

    Yes to shattering the damn ceiling!!!
    Congratulations Producer 🙌🏾🙌🏾🎉♥️

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  2. Congratulations again and again.
    I am not surprised because when God gives a dream, He sees to the end of it. I decree “sold out “ on everything that concerns Tangerine in Jesus name.
    May God replenish the entire cast and crew a million folds. Favour and the flavour of God covers it all in Jesus name.

    Oh thank you for reminding me of all my dreams as a village girl. You dey inspire no be small.

    So when can we start carrying the Tangerine matter on our head?

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  3. Wowww my lady
    Dreams are valid I tell you….Dreams are indeed valid.
    One thing I love about life is the relationships we create with people. I’ve struggled a lot ( I still am) am trying to deepen every relationship I make either online or in person. It’s been a rollercoaster

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    1. Awww… Thanks, Yvonne. I’d sure love to share some more about Tangerine, that’s when this fog finally lifts and I can write again.

      Thank you plenty plenty for stopping by. I hope you like it here enough to become a Star in the Galaxy (aka subscribe and keep coming back). ♥️✨

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