I’m a mother, entrepreneur and filmmaker just trying to put my stamp on this world. I’ve recently started my very own production company. I’m hoping to inspire positivity and self-love through expression and entertainment and that my audience will go on to do great things after viewing my films and shows!
What inspired you to become a film director?
I am inspired by greats like Issa Rae and Quentin Tarantino who have shown that one’s mind can still unlock just as much creativity and more without traditional methods and roads to success such as film school.
How did you learn the craft of directing? What skills are needed to be a great director (in your opinion)?
The saying ‘watch and learn’ is definitely true! I watched TONS of behind the scenes shots to various movies and music videos, documentaries and films. Most importantly, I learned by just getting out there and directing! There’s no better way to learn than to actually DO what you are trying to learn. Practice makes perfect. The three things that make a great director in my opinion are: Perceptiveness, Receptiveness and Humility. You have to be aware of everything around you (I.e. Lighting, actor’s positions in relation to the camera, sound, how things will look in post-production). You have to be receptive to cast and crew suggestions, and you must not have such a high ego as to think that because you are director you are superior to those around you.
Do you think it’s necessary that a director know the basics of the camera in order to be a successful/well rounded director?
Knowledge of the basics of a camera is definitely an essential skill for a director to have. The more you understand the actual mechanics involved in the filmmaking process, the better a director you will be.
How do you earn a living and sustain a career doing what you love?
I am a registered nurse and on top of having a hand in saving lives it also allows me to self-fund my projects which I love!
What do you look for when looking for a project?
When looking for a project I look for authenticity, relatability. I also try to go for topics that interest me and aren’t saturated in the media.
How would you describe your style as a director?
I definitely have a laissez-faire/visionary approach. I am all about making my project a better one and if that involves allowing the actors to ad lib or even change some lines around I’m all for it! However, I always stick to my vision of how I want the plot to play out.
Can you describe the process casting and working with your actors?
I started from the ground meaning I knew no actors and had no idea how to go about casting. Now I use several online platforms for casting where I explain what role I want an actor to audition for via video submissions.
I’ve utilized Craigslist, Facebook groups (i.e. Independent black film makers and American black web series and film makers) and nycastings.com. I still use them from time to time but now, actresses and actors in my web series refer other actors and actresses and I usually let them audition as well.
What’s next for you?
I am currently wrapping up filming the Pilot episode of my first production “Lea’s Purpose”, a romantic dramedy web series centered on a clairvoyant single mother who discovers African spirituality. Look out for it!
How can we keep in touch?
Facebook: Ayibobo Productions
Shivawn Hill, is a writer, wanderer, and visual storyteller at heart. She’s currently in production with her short documentary film. She believes that one day soon she’ll form the ultimate group of storytellers who will travel the world to share the stories of creative peculiar people. Come and hang out with her on Instagram.