I am a first generation Nigerian-American born woman. My views are rooted in helping voiceless black women become empowered and self-actualized. I struggled to speak up, own my truest self and validate who I am because I allowed of exterior stimuli to influence the way I saw myself—I know I am not the only one who has experienced this. I want to contribute to new outlets for black women to grow and be themselves, mainly through the art of visual story telling—film, television and web/mobile video content. If I aid in that mission, I will feel content with the work that I do.
Why did you start One Scribe Media?
I started One Scribe Media because I knew I always wanted to own a production company. When I had the opportunity to work with clients as an independent contractor, it was clear that establishing my own company was necessary. So I created One Scribe Media in 2010.
Since pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, I’ve learned so much about myself—I’m a leader, I’m a great listener, I love history, I love to debate, I am passionate about socio-cultural issues and I love to write.
How did you find your team for Scribe Media and who does your team consist of?
I work solo and hire folks on a project based basis. But they are always AMAZING!
You are known for your casting background and the ability to find the right fit for any project what made you want to venture into production and writing?
I really enjoyed casting when the opportunity was presented to him. Talking to people and learning about their lives is fascinating—I took tons of sociology electives in college and casting just provided another outlet for this field of study.
But after casting for several years, I got an itch to work on some of my own ideas. By default of working in casting and development and production, I was asked to produce shoots. I knew I had the skills, so the main challenge was finding something to shoot. Once I had a story that was ready to go, I dived right in!
Congrats on the crowdfunding success for your project Privilege Unhinged, tell us about this upcoming film and what do you attribute to a successful crowdfunding campaign?
Thank you! Crowdfunding was such a challenge for me. Asking people for money in such a public way was something that made me so uncomfortable. But I had to get over my pride and ego, and have some humility. Once I finally let that go, the realization that I had so many people that were supporting me was really overwhelming. I am truly lucky and blessed.
These are the things I think I did well that helped my campaign:
– I did it for 30 days only to add to the urgency of the campaign
– I spoke to a crowd funding consultant
– I shot video content to tell my story, share my dreams of being a filmmaker, wanting to tell a very specific story, etc.
– I gave snippets and previews of the campaign on social media before officially launching.
– I contacted a close group of friends right before I launched the campaign for their opinions on the packaging.
– I sent polite text reminders to folks who wanted to contribute but are forgetful about checking their email/social media accounts. I got almost half of my money because of this.
I noted that you have a mission for women to have increased control, ownership, and management of media by writing and producing. How can we as creatives ensure that this happens?
I think the main thing we can do is hire women and pay them fairly if possible. Share tips, resources and suggestions for other women, then pay it forward when a young lady who is ready to learn reaches out to you.
More importantly—don’t be a man in the shell of a woman in the workplace. It’s okay to be feminine and assertive, or to have a kinder approach to leadership. I’ve seen so many women lead with hostility and it turns women off from working with each other. I’ve made mental notes of my own to invest in helping other women succeed, but to do so with grace, humility and integrity. However, lay down the law when necessary.
There are a lot of women in our collective who have finished up their screenplays and are ready to move forward. However, most of them get stuck with pitching and what’s next. What is one mistake that you see most make in pitching their projects?
Firstly, I would say a strong pitch has a compelling protagonist goal, with an equally as engaging antagonist. Establishing opportunity for conflict is really important or you’ll bore your audience.
Secondly, every story should also have a beginning, middle and end—it all needs to blend well together and make sense.
Thirdly, the pitcher should really flush out opportunities for continuity. Make sense of how each character can have long-term goals that fit into the larger theme of the project.
Lastly—why should you tell the story? What new access or perspectives are you adding to the existing marketplace of content creation? Know your competition, the stories they are telling, and why the networks/platforms you are pitching to should invest a large sum of money into your unique take on the subject matter your project explores.
We are in the time of everything video. As storytellers do you think we have a responsibility with the influence we carry?
Absolutely. People consume content because it resonates with them, whether it is consciously or subconsciously. It’s up to us to decide how we want to contribute to that.
People will always be uncomfortable with certain topics—it’s on you as a creator to know why you’re telling the story you are telling and be okay with the backlash, especially if your motives are well intentioned.
What suggestion do you have for women who want to break into the industry but can’t attend college for education?
Make something and do it now. Don’t wait, life is too short—there will never be a perfect time to do anything.
I would also say to take workshops or go to continuing education courses to brush up on some skills. Books, podcasts, blogs and Youtube are really helpful also!
What’s next for you?
I’ll be making and pitching more films!
How can we keep in touch with you?
– Instagram: @LandeYoosuf, @OneScribeMedia, @BlackFilmSpace
Shivawn Hill, is a writer, director and a storyteller at heart. She’s currently in post 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.