Young, enterprising Demola Adedoyin is making headway in his business and acting career, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu
Listening to Demola Adedoyin talk reminds you of the voice heard watching him play Prince Aderopo, the lead character in Kunle Afolayan’s 2014 sensational movie October 1.
Charismatic, suave and passionate about his craft, the actor, musician and model says, “There are certain kinds of films I want to do. I can’t play every type of role. Every actor can’t play every type of role. So I would want to limit it to certain kind of script’s quality production values.”
Could that be the reason he has maintained a particular pace regardless of the breakthrough given by the movie? He had felt that in order to leverage on it, he would have had to do a lot of things he would not want to do. More so, that “God’s time is the best I believe. Maybe I did turn down too many offers but to me, it’s about quality over quantity.” He adds, “I just want to keep working, at the moment it’s about the journey, not the destination. I won’t worry about keeping score for now. I just want to dig my heels in the industry.”
Besides acting, he is engaged in other businesses. “Ironically when October 1 happened, it increased demand on other areas of my work simply by name association”, he reveals. Adedoyin runs Yin Media, a multimedia company with related services interest across wide range of industry sectors, delivering marketing campaigns and operations content and information. “Because it’s almost as if being in the public eye helps you to pass some kind of security check. People trust you more. My business really moved. And then I realised that if it’s not by frequency and volume you might be left behind.
“I have started working a lot more to keep in line with the industry and this year, the offers just came through. I think this keeps me safe. It’s my passion there’s no way I will hide away from it. No matter what else I’m doing I will still fall to it. I have had four productions this year.” So far, Adedoyin is on a good ride on the movie scene at the moment working with versatile directors like Tope Oshin, Tolu Lord Tanner, and Uduak Patrick Obong.
The 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards nominee for Most Promising Young Actor has starred in films like Couple of Days, Ever After, A Perfect Christmas, and The Island, directed by Tola Odunsi. Just recently he starred alongside songstress Chidinma in Stella and Oba, directed by Kunle Afolayan. In the movie, he played the role of a soft-hearted farmer hopelessly in love. His latest appearance being Africa Magic’s Jemeji. “I just finished ‘Stella and Oba’, a Kunle Afolayan film produced by Lasun Ray Productions. I am currently on Africa Magic’s 250 episodes TV series called JEMEJI, which is grabbing up viewers fast and doing well ratings-wise. Of course, I’m fired up for whatever the future holds,” he noted.
Adedoyin’s acting career started without much to it; just young then doing impersonations and monologues, he memorized from films. And then school and work “suppressed that side of me for a long time,” he said. “The desire was always there but I just felt I had to secure certain things like my education and revenue streams. I started acting literally on autopilot, going to workshops and auditions with practically no experience at doing it. I got picked for a role in London after my very first audition, shot my first film over there, then came back right after”.
Within the period abroad he had bagged a masters’ degree in Media and Communication from the Metropolitan University of London. Following a film course in movie directing, he also trained at the Central Film School, London where he studied Film Directing. Technically, he’s more grounded in directing and production than as an actor. “I needed to learn the technical aspects because I know it’s much more complicated than acting,” he adds. “And I’ve always wanted to tell stories, not just be a part of stories.” He has plans on getting involved fully in production.
Growing up Adedoyin had dreamt of creating and helping to create spectacle and commerce. He had also dreamt of doing business and creating artistic works. “I used to write stories and draw comics when I was a child. Of course I didn’t think of it like that at the time. I was just having fun with creativity and trying to make money doing other things but what goes around comes around. My childhood dreams went away for a while but caught up with me eventually.”
Ordinarily, the thought that the actor should toe the path of his father, Chief Samuel Adedoyin, often arises. But he shares a different view, that “We are not each other. We are here for slightly different journeys. He didn’t have the childhood experiences I had, so the conditioning is different. The paths are different.”
He recollects, “I was abroad for about 10 years, but I came back constantly for long and short periods. I think the overall purpose was to expose me to so much that I didn’t know and was mostly unaware of,” he explained. “It broadened my horizons and smoothed a few rough edges I guess. At the same time it taught me about my own people, I studied them in a way I hadn’t before, because that’s all I knew. We don’t always want to put a microscope on something we’re supposedly familiar with, we always want to study the ‘other’. In my case being with the ‘other’, experiencing all the differences helped me further define my roots.”
Not being able to receive the support of his father initially wasn’t really a challenge. With time and success he was able to. “For a leader like himself, compromise is difficult. I understand this. He has started showing moral support since acting is a very noble profession,” he pointed out. “It is mostly about representing the average person in their true form. Where you see all their flaws and nuances, answering certain questions about why we’re here, and what the possible consequences of different courses of action could be.”
As a creative person he’s inspired by literary works from visionary creatives. He’s also inspired by poetry. According to him, poetry is like a search for truth, which is what most artistic work is about. Prayer and visualisation are the form of creative ritual he observes.
In terms of people in the industry, he holds much respect for Afolayan. Aside giving him the big break, his work ethic and ability to organise people are inspiring. And too, Mo Abudu for braving the odds to get to her present position. Another influential figure to him is his father. “He stressed the importance of realising this being our primary function here on earth. To love, to breed, to play; these are secondary to your life’s work,” he says.
“He has a particular obsession with the quality of any product. Whatever one creates for the service or consumption of other people should be created to the best possible quality. He has very good taste. He is also extremely private and likes to live below the radar despite his success, which is something I’d like to emulate.”
On being the son of a billionaire in a make-believe world of acting, he said he had no idea really of what perception that must have cast on him, but have heard people ask about it as there may be a fantasy that it’s easier for him in the profession. He rather chose to remain focused and mindful of his business as such perception and believe could even make it more difficult and challenging.
To further buttress his point, and on his social status, he explained, “I don’t think coming from a rich home makes you rich yourself, especially in my family where my father teaches us to be self-sufficient and not rely on him at all. My mother was the same, always encouraging enterprise and the spirit of doing your own thing. I am single, and looking forward to a good marriage with a strong and supportive woman in the near future. My relationship with women, I’ll say its fluid but not totally consuming.”