Rita Onwurah studied Human Nutrition at the University of Ibadan and has been a screenwriter since 2009, writing and co-writing TV shows and movies like Kiss and Tell, Udeme Mii, Dining with a Long Spoon, Damage, Mrs. Somebody, and Love is in the Hair, to mention a few.
CN: What were you doing prior to this?
I worked with Kachifo Limited, owners of the Farafina Publishing imprint. I started off as a Marketing Executive, then became Head of Marketing.
CN: What are your primary responsibilities as a screenwriter?
Basically content creation and development. I write, edit and consult on scripts for TV and film.
CN: What do you consider to be the best career decision you’ve ever made?
Quitting my 9-5 job to become a screenwriter.
CN: What do you like most about your job?
The freedom it affords me. I can afford not to go to the office and there’s no angry boss ringing up my phone, asking me where the hell I am.
CN: What do you like least about it?
It can be really taxing, especially when you have a deadline and clients literally breathing down your neck.
CN: What misconceptions about screenwriting would you like to correct?
That it’s easy. That all it takes is to sit in front of the computer and just write. There’s a whole lot of thought process involved in taking your idea from what it is to a finished product on the screen. It involves a lot of thinking and re-thinking, writing and re-writing, which can be really draining most of the time.
CN: How do you find inspiration for your writing?
From a lot of places actually. Sometimes it just comes up as an idea when I’m having a quiet moment. Sometimes from a book, or from watching another movie. Even from listening to/ hearing people’s stories.
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as an undergraduate?
Make yourself a priority. Do what you do for you – not for others. Because in the end, you’re the one who gets to live out the results of your decisions.
CN: Which books have really made a difference in the way you think and live?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’d say the Bible. I’m a person of faith so it’s only natural I look to the scriptures for direction. I like to read the 4 gospels because I’m always like “what did Jesus say/do about this and that?” and pretty much of the time, my thoughts are based on those teachings.