The reward for work they say is more work. This is the case of Ubon Generation Paul Joseph also popularly referred to as ‘Aboki’ who has grown through the ranks of filmmaking, to now become Nollywood’s newest addition to the film directors list.
In a quick chat with Prince Goldenchyld of Hypestation, the slim, tall, and dark-skinned workaholic, who is an indigene of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, opens up about his journey into the film industry.
Aboki’s venturing into film was purely driven by passion. “I have always enjoyed the craft of art especially film making, coupled with my curiosity to understand how it’s done. So, I decided to take a bold step outside our usual church drama group and in 2008 our drama group contributed money to do a small production titled ‘Ima Idad’.”
Although he has always been referred to by his classmates in a secondary school as ‘Aboki’, the moniker stuck, as friends and colleagues started getting used to the name after he played the role of an Alhaji in the ‘Ima Idad’ church drama.
To bag some real experience in the field, he joined Moses Eskor now veteran during a production back in 2009 at Okobo. There Aboki went with Hector Mma who was the props manager on set, to assist him while doubling as a production assistant. From there he started taking up roles as a Property manager and set design coupled with costuming and design.
In 2011 he took a bold step and began started scriptwriting. “I had to read the basics of scriptwriting and formation, as I invested a lot of money for more tutorials online”, he says. Two years later, he ventured into script supervision (Continuity). “I did some indigenous movies and then left for Lagos in 2014 where I got more opportunities to work on set with more experienced crew members. While there I shot my first cinema movie as a script supervisor working with Fred Bernard”, he adds.
On Aboki’s return to Uyo, he again joined Moses Eskor for the production of the award-winning movie – ‘Bridge of No Return’. There, he was a part of the screenplay team and continued his work as continuity and have shot over 80 movies as a script supervisor.
About his becoming a director, Aboki says he started calling shots with a directorial debut in 2019, although he didn’t make it official considering that he was still undergoing some online training to acquire more skill and creativity in the field. “One of my first production as a director was shot in early 2020, just before the pandemic with the movie titled ‘Last Floor’. I continued my job as a script supervisor and Assistant Director. Around September 2020, I was contracted to work as an assistant director by Emem Isong of Royal Arts Academy. Shortly after then, I returned to Uyo on January 2021, joining Moses Eskor as an assistant director for four jobs that were all produced by Favour Puskas for Fajo P. NollyTv. After the production of the four movies, Favour Puskas contracted to direct two of her blockbuster movies ‘The Chaperone’ and ‘The Heart That Lies’.”
This journey through the years would be incomplete without experiencing any challenges and Ubon ‘Aboki’ Paul has had his fair. The greatest challenges for him he says are critics and finance, although he a way of surmounting them. “I harness my energy from my pains and use it to continue my race. Also, many are talented but lack good opportunities which is a result of financial constrain. So, when the opportunities come, they are given to the favoured ones but with little finance, I always try to get the best. In a world where everything is gotten the hard way, one must learn to bend to fit the world’s standard but never be seen as a failure.”
Ubon Paul who holds a National Diploma in Marine Transport and Business Management from Maritime Academy of Nigeria and a BSc in Linguistics and Communication from University of Uyo says perseverance and consistency have always been his bedrock as his career in directing has just begun.