Tomilola Adeyemo also known as Coco is a screenwriter, content writer and blogger who started writing from a very young age.
“Well, I could say I have been writing before I could walk and it wouldn’t be far from the truth. LOL. I cannot remember the first time I put pen to paper. I just know I have always loved writing and started writing the moment I could and it was either that or nothing else for the rest of my life. So when it was time for a career, I did try to chase other things but eventually I did what I came to this world to do – write.”
Being a female writer, some of the challenges she faces so far, include not being taken seriously by her male colleagues and the poor electricity supply in Nigeria.
“My biggest challenge till date has been to be taken seriously. This Industry – much like almost every industry in this country – is dominated by men. Actually, I have been in more than a few writers’ rooms for TV shows where I was the only female. And while I had no problem showing my worth and working my ass off during projects, sometimes people assume you can only write a particular genre or story because, well, woman. Thankfully, I met my Mentor, Chris Ihidero quite early in my career and he has never tried to box me. There are also electricity distribution. I know this sounds ridiculous but PHCN is my challenge these days. If they give me better light, I can easily meet deadlines, you know. The guys at Cafe Neo keep making money off me.”
Tomi doesn’t believe that screenwriters have sources of inspiration due to the nature of their work as it involves meeting up with a lot of deadlines.
“There are actual deadlines. You are part of a writing team for a big show on one of the biggest platforms in Africa and you get breakdowns and have less than 48 hours to turn in your script, what you do is get to work and produce your best. Inspiration is for Novelists/Authors and Wole Soyinkas. They’re the ones who have that luxury. I don’t.”
In her line of work, two projects which made her believe in her capability were c0-writing the script for Africa Magic’s Hush which was the biggest telenovela to air in Africa last year and not only writing, but also researching for MTV Shuga.
“Those two projects changed my whole life. It gave me life; it made me believe in myself.”
When asked about the opportunities she seeks to take advantage of, she said
“Oh, I’m hungry for success. So I am looking forward to grabbing as many opportunities as possible. I want HBO, I want ABC, I want the highest level of TV success in this country and beyond. I want to write the biggest movies in the box office. I want everything that is possible for me to touch. I want it all. So I am open to it all. I am open to being a part of every creative success that emerges from Nollywood.”
Tomi belives that youth empowerment is important in any society as the future belongs to the youths and investing in them would be an advantage to the economy of the country.
“Young minds should be trained to be sound and empowered in every ramification. These are the people that would run your economy, your government (if all those old men leave offices that is) and your future (again, if old men refuse to turn government position to their bedroom) so it’s just common sense to get them empowered.”
“As for how Nigerian youths can be empowered? Maybe the government can actually acknowledge youths first? I know we say there are ministries and all in place but all those young people that ‘invent’ things and trend on social media can be doing more things now, breaking new grounds and getting actual training. Education should be at its best because you know what they say about an educated mind and more incentives should be in place for the average Nigerian youth.
But again, do they actually send us? So until then, self-empowerment is the way and knowledge is key in that.” She added.
You can reach Tomi on Instagram/Twitter @tomilolacoco