What’s up family! It’s LaKesha Lorene actress, director, and CEO of Loving Life Productions LLC. Thanks for coming on this journey with me!
What inspired you to become a film director?
I really love the creative process of bringing a script to life. Whether it’s directing my own films or working with a client on commercial ideas to promote their product, bringing stories to life in ways that are creative and true to the vision of the creator never gets old to me.
How did you learn the craft of directing? What skills are needed to be a great director (in your opinion)?
I began directing as an actor/director. I’ve acted professionally since a child at 8 years old, (I’m now 28) and still working and growing. As an actor, I’ve worked with and sat under a lot of great directors who I’ve learned from along with doing my own independent study of the craft. So, for many years I was on the other side of the camera (I still am) so it’s cool to see projects from both aspects. I learned a lot while directing my first film Earth Cry that went on to win an Award of Merit at the Gary International Black Film Festival and was an official selection for five other prominent film festivals. To be a good director you need to have a good understanding of first the message of a script, the end goal of the film, and what is needed to bring out the poignant moments from the actors that carry the storyline.
Do you think it’s necessary that a director know the basics of the camera in order to be a successful/well rounded director?
I think it is important for directors to know the craft. Communicating with the set crew quickly and efficiently is key. It’s important for directors to know the types of shots, names of camera transitions/angles, as well as basic camera movement terminology.
How do you earn a living and sustain a career doing what you love?
I’m actively working towards doing what I love full time. With my company and corporate work currently it feels like I have three full time jobs! But It’s exciting because entertainment is a constant grind so I’m constantly learning and growing on the way to the destiny that God has for me.
What do you look for when looking for a project?
When I’m looking for a project to work in front of the camera (acting), I’m looking for an interesting story, real characters, and something that moves me. What’s great about film is the relatability of the storylines and characters. I’m always looking for the humanity in the characters of the film.
How would you describe your process working with the actors?
I’m like the second mom they’ve never had! (laughs). I’m very by-the- book, stern but fun. I have a clear vision of what I want to see in each character but I like to make sure my actors are working to develop the characters with their own spin and backstory. I’m very hands-on with the actors I work with because I want to push them to work on literally becoming the character they are portraying by the time we are on set and they hear “ACTION!” Just like with anything, the more you think about motivation of a movement or look, the intent of a line, and the reason why this character is the way they are, it helps you connect to who you are playing. If it becomes real to the actor, it will translate as real on camera and to the audience. My job while working on the other side of the camera is to get the actor to the point where it becomes REAL.
How has your style evolved?
My style is constantly evolving. When I’m working in front of the camera I love playing very layered characters. Behind the camera, I enjoy finding ways to show inspirational content that is totally outside the box.
I noticed that you also are the CEO of an entertainment production company, Loving Life Productions LLC. What made you decide to form a production company?
I started my company Loving Life Productions LLC in January of 2015. It’s been such an amazing journey producing, directing, and acting in the film projects produced as well as working with clients to help their visions come to life. I decided to start my company because I wanted the chance to present themes of faith in a way that is relatable and reaches people from all walks of life.
What did that process look like?
The process wasn’t an instantaneous process at all. I have a vision list, actually dating back to 2006 of goals that I would pray on and owning a company was one of them. Once graduating college in 2012, I seriously began pursuing taking the steps to get the proper filings and legal procedures to start my LLC. So, the first step after researching the different business entities and deciding which is the best fit for your company, is contacting your secretary of state and filing your LLC.
Did you have people already in mind to be a part of your production company?
You know, initially, I didn’t at all. I reached out to a couple of people I knew of but just prayed for the right people to work with. So, I started my company, went through the proper procedures of filing the paperwork but had no idea who would be a part of my team. My videographer Victor Miller and DP/Editor Chris Fry, literally fell in my lap. Our core and the way we work together just flowed since my first film “Earth Cry.” We’ve been rolling ever since.
What advice do you have someone who is thinking about starting their own production company?
The first thing I hope people leave with from me is that “no matter how young you are; don’t think you have to wait to go for your dreams!”
I’m a young woman and just like the corporate world there are some challenges that come with being an owner or director as a female. But living my dream by doing what God has called me to do is so rewarding and worth every sacrifice and challenge that may come along the way.
Additionally, I strongly advise anyone pursuing owning their own company to seek as much information and guidance as possible. I come from a family of entrepreneurs with my mother who has owned her Preschool for over 28 years and uncle who owns a lawn care service, so owning is in our family history. But if you don’t have anyone within your family or immediate contacts who can help you with your business plan, I strongly suggest reading up on creating proposals, take business classes, get a mentor, network in the location you live, and get acquainted first with state laws and certifications needed for the entertainment industry. Some certification requirements are applicable by state only. Think and learn before you leap!
What’s next for you?
This May, I’m playing the lead in a musical called “The Wedding Bells” by Nicole Kearney, working on a music video for a single from my latest film “Lost,” writing another film project, and organizing another workshop for the entertainment community of Indianapolis. I feel extremely blessed to be working and creating work in this industry at this level. I’m excited about how God will continue to blow my mind with new opportunities to grow in this crazy beautiful world I love called “entertainment!”
How can we keep in touch with you?
My personal website is lakeshalorene.com
You can stay connected with me on IG @LaKeshaLorene
My company website is lovinglifeproductions.com
You can follow my company on IG @Loving_Life_Productions_LLC
Shivawn Hill, is a writer, director and a 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 hang out with her on Instagram.