Folaremi Agunbiade is Nailing it in the Nigerian Film Industry Both as a Screenwriter and as an Actor – Behind The Screen

Apr 12, 2024

Behind The Screen is an Albantsho series that provides a glimpse into the lives, experiences, and stories of screenwriters and storytellers in Nigeria’s vibrant film and creative industry.


One of the first things you notice going through Folaremi Agunbiade’s Instagram feed is his distinctive sense of humor. In today’s world, filled with challenges, it’s refreshing to see someone like Folaremi who can still find humor in everyday life and share it with others through skits, memes, and collaborations. Beyond his humorous side, Folaremi is a significant contributor to the Nigerian film industry, excelling as both an actor and a screenwriter, two demanding yet fulfilling roles. Folaremi has written for Game On, Checkout, Masquerades of AniedoUnscripted, and other notable projects, showcasing his versatility and skill in storytelling.

As we fine-tuned this episode of Behind The Screen, it became evident that Folaremi’s journey in the industry has been filled with experiences that have shaped him into the talented individual he is today. With acting credits in Africa Magic’s Hustle, Itura, Introducing the Kujus and its sequel The Kujus Again, The Olive, Slow Country, and more, Folaremi Agunbiade has proven his ability to bring characters to life on screen. This promises to be an insightful episode, offering a glimpse into the life and work ethics of a young talent making waves in the Nigerian film industry. Enjoy.

Folaremi Agunbiade on Albantsho Behind The Screen

Folaremi Agunbiade the actor and writer


Note: Some parts of this conversation have been edited for clarity.


Hi Folaremi, thank you for joining us on Behind The Screen. How are you?

I’m fine but not completely. I mean, it’s hard to be fine in Nigeria these days. LOL.

Tell me about it! 


You’ve made a name for yourself both as an actor and a screenwriter. Can you share a bit about your journey in these dual roles, how you got started in each, and some of your most memorable projects?

I wasn’t one of those who started acting when I was in the womb. I just used to watch the Disney channel a lot growing up. One day, I Googled “how to be in the movie industry,” and I saw “go for auditions,” so I went looking for one. I didn’t exactly plan to be an actor, so I didn’t know what anything was, monologues, all of that; I would wear bathroom slippers to go and audition, but I think I naturally knew how to act because I was good at pretending. I eventually got a call back after two years of nothing. It was for a screen test for a show we never got to shoot. Two years later, the producer reached out to me again to ask if I still had an Afro; I said yes, and that was the first movie I ever played a major role in. I was the lead. This was in 2015, and the title was “Once Upon a Night,” it was an indie film. I have to say thanks to Gbolahan Nawaab, the producer for believing in me when no one else did because that’s where my journey as an actor began. 

For my screenwriting journey, I always have been a creative person, and I always wanted to create TV shows that young people could star in, but I didn’t know how to go about it. One day in 2017 I was talking to a friend, Micheal Ikesiobi, that I wanted to write; it was he who encouraged me to download a writing app, which I did, and from there, my writing journey began. I wrote a couple of stuff that never saw the light of day. I’ll probably still shoot them someday. My real professional screenwriting journey began when I bumped into Lani Aisida (Head of Content Development for Ndani TV) at AFRIFF 2021. Lani had written a show I’d featured in as an actor in 2019 and had another one coming up which he wanted me to feature in. It was on that spot I mentioned to him that I also write, and he responded by telling me he had a show he was trying to develop. When I told him I’d like to join his writers’ room, he mentioned it’d clash with the film he wanted me to act in, so I forfeited the acting gig for a chance to write something that would be seen by people. That’s how I ended up co-developing and co-writing the second season of Game On for Ndani TV alongside Fatimah Gimsay and Jaiye Gesinde. 

Writing Game On Season 2 felt good because the show received an AMVCA nomination, which meant that my addition to the written team alongside Fatimah was a significant one. That experience remains one of my most memorable ones since I started in the industry. 

Folaremi Agunbiade on Albantsho's Behind The Screen

Folaremi Agunbiade | Instagram | @folaremy


Many people consider screenwriting and acting to be very different crafts. Do you find that your experience as an actor influences your screenwriting, and vice versa?

Yes. Being an actor influences the way I write scripts. I’ll give you an example. Sometimes, writers write lines that are chunky with heavy vocabulary, which can make it difficult for an actor to interpret a character. When I write, I’m usually very intentional about this and try, as much as possible, to minimize the length of dialogues and go straight to the point. Also, when I’m on set acting, I think of the fact that there are some things the writer might have included in the script for specific reasons, so I try as much as possible to understand the context so I don’t throw the essence of the scene away, because as a writer when you watch that happen in the finished film, e dey pain


What are some of the challenges you face in balancing your work as a screenwriter and an actor? How do you manage your time and creative energy between these two roles?

I’ll cut to the chase here. The producers that first meet me as an actor on their set don’t take me seriously as a writer and the ones that first meet me as a writer on their show don’t take me seriously as an actor.


Have you ever (co)written a screenplay you starred in? 

I always shy away from pitching myself to act in what I write. I’m bad at it, so it’s usually my co-writers who push me to go through with the auditions. I’ve written for about six (6) shows, but I’ve auditioned for just two out of them. And guess what? I didn’t get any.


I’m a fan of “Introducing the Kujus” and your role as Chuks. What was your experience like working on the hit family comedy-drama, and why do you think it resonated with audiences enough to get a sequel four years later?

First of all, thank you. It’s always nice to know people appreciate the effort you put in as an actor. The set of Introducing the Kujus is my best set experience ever. It was like an actual family. The production company, TMPL Motion Pictures, doesn’t joke with their talents, they take good care of everyone. I loved every time Bisola [Aiyeola], Bimbo [Ademoye], Biodun Stephen, Kunle Remi, and Timini [Egbuson] were together in a room, it was always fun and interesting; all I had to do at such times was watch and enjoy my life. A lot of people may not know this, but Aunty B (Biodun Stephen) is one amazing director to me. I love how she always gives room for you to express a character the way you want to, and only corrects you when she feels it isn’t working for the character. She is a proper actor’s director and is very technical at the same time. She’s really good.

Folaremi Agunbiade on Albantsho's Behind The Screen

Folaremi Agunbiade | Instagram | @folaremy


You’ve had a long-standing collaboration with Fatimah Gimsay across multiple projects. How has your personal relationship influenced your creative process, and can we expect more collaborations between you two in the future?

Fatimah [Gimsay] is one of the reasons I have been on a lot of top shows as a writer. Yes, I write, but she’s been so helpful with the referrals she sends my way, especially after Game On, which was our first project together. I don’t know if she’s like this with others, but I know she has helped me to be seen more in terms of my writing. We recently worked together on Checkout for Africa Magic, a TV show she served as Headwriter. One stand-out thing about Fatimah to me is that she’s a fast thinker; you tell me how four people are pitching ideas to her on the spot and she’s arranging them in her head and thinking about how these different news ideas will affect episode 122 while we the others are still talking about episode 3. She’s straight to the point and is not afraid to get rid of her ideas for something better pitched to her because she’s usually all about creating a good TV show. We’ve got something cooking, so yeah, expect more collaborations from us. Fingers crossed.

I’ll be looking forward to that.


Are there specific goals or projects you’re excited to pursue, such as more comedy-centric roles considering your natural comedic flair as seen on social media?

I still want to achieve my primary goal, which is to create movies for young people. I had a story that’s like Blood and Water and Far From Home before those two shows even thought about coming out, but I couldn’t make it myself because it’s not easy to get funding to shoot on the scale of those types of projects. I won’t lie, it pained me that those two came out before mine, but I guess it’s fine, there’s enough room for everyone to soar. Because of how funny I can be when I bring my characters to life, people tend to not really see my depth as an actor. Another thing that makes people cast me for calmer roles is my face; I might look innocent, but I can genuinely pull off a tout speaking and insulting in Yoruba. So yeah, I think I’d love to be cast differently from the usual things I currently get cast for.


What are some of your other career aspirations? Would you like to venture into directing and/or producing? 

I definitely would love to direct and produce. I’ve done that twice already. I shot a pilot episode of a series I wanted to make because I wanted to use that to source funding. I wasted my money twice cause I didn’t like how they turned out. I might be a perfectionist, which is why I usually don’t watch shows I write or movies I act in unless I have to.


What advice would you offer to aspiring screenwriters and actors who are looking to excel in both crafts? How can they leverage their skills in one area to improve in the other?

My advice to someone who wants to do both really would be, don’t get carried away with one more than the other, especially with the writing. It’s very easy to lose friends completely because it’s a very stressful process to create, develop, and write, you’d find yourself being so mentally exhausted you don’t feel like doing anything else.  Mixing both is hard but not impossible, so be prepared.


Any last words?

No, no last words. I think I’ve said all I need to say. LOL.



Want to write like Folaremi Agunbiade? Check out The Scriptwriter on the Albantsho Suite. It’s currently free.

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