What drew you into the world of filmmaking? Specifically directing?
When I was a kid my mom got me involved in the arts by putting me in dance classes, music lessons, modeling and acting classes. I just loved creativity. Seeing characters live out stories in moving pictures always inspired me and though I didn’t know to call it filmmaking, I knew I wanted to be a part of telling these stories. So, honestly, I got into filmmaking in a roundabout way. Same with directing. In 2004 I joined a church and a couple years later I was leading the performing arts ministry. That’s when I began directing and it was both, trial and error and trial by fire!
How did you learn the craft of directing? What skills are needed to be a great director (in your opinion)?
I went to school for theater arts. Originally, I wanted to focus on the performance side as an actor, but I got the opportunity to work on the technical side and fell in love with it. By stage managing I was able to work closely with a lot of different directors and while I never thought that’s what I wanted to do, I would watch them – how they organized rehearsals, communicated with actors, collaborated with technical staff, their creative process, etc. By the time I began directing, the information I ingested surfaced and, I was a director. It was a very natural progression. As far as skills needed to be a great director, it depends on what type of director you are. Once that’s determined the biggest skill needed, in my opinion, is the ability to staff your need.
How are you putting yourself in position as a indie filmmaker to find project to work on? How are you putting your name out there?
Fortunately, I’ve had a great network of creative people who are supportive and enthusiastic about collaborating. So, within my creative community we’re either creating our own work or other people who become familiar with projects that I’m involved with will reach out to work together. I’ve also connected with people and found projects through a filmmaking group on meetup.com as well as acting classes, film events and even Facebook. I’m not great with self-promotion. Oddly enough, my name and work circulate through people that I’ve built relationships with; they’ll end up telling someone they know about what I do and I’ll end up getting a phone call or email so, it’s really organic.
What do you look for when looking for a project?
One thing that’s important to me is, the purpose the story serves. How is the story being told? Is it being told with integrity? Is it honest, and did we care for the characters (are they dynamic and complex)? Those are questions that I ask when it comes to looking for projects because ultimately these questions determine, for me, the purpose of why this story is being told.
What project are you currently working on as a director?
Currently, I’m in preproduction planning for my first short film and script development for a series I created. The short film is projected to shoot this spring – send a prayer up for your girl! And, I’m hoping to shoot the series this summer.
You are an actress on a well known series Single and Anxious, How would you describe your process working with the actors when behind the camera?
I LOVE working with actors! My process begins with acknowledging that the actor’s work and contribution is valuable. I’m big on rehearsal, character development, scene work and the preparation it takes to tell the story as authentically as possible. I’m intentional about taking time to build a rapport and trust during preproduction because when production hits, it gets real and I need my actors to know that I love them, but we need to get these scenes right (lol)!
One piece of advice do you have for women working to get started in the indie film industry (who may not have access to going to film school)?
There’s so much encouragement for women in film these days because we can (now) hop on social media or open a magazine and see a woman filmmaker. We can go to thecreativeoutsiders.com and be inspired by other dope women creating indie films – there are many more resources available today than there were just a few years ago. My advice would be to take advantage of the resources. Learn about other female filmmakers, support them, search for a filmmaker groups in your area, network, get on sets – just start working. As you work, create your own projects and collaborate with others, you’ll learn so much. You’ll become a filmmaker!
What are you reading right now to help your creativity? What are you watching?
I’ve recently been thumbing through a couple of books. For my acting chops I’m reading Respect For Acting by Uta Hagen. I’m reading Screenplay by Syd Field to help me work through my script. And to keep my heart and mind free so that I can be creative, I’m reading a devotional called Who I Am in Christ by Neil T. Anderson. In general, I like talent competition shows so, I’ve been watching The Four and The Rap Game. I’m also binging Living Single and the last film I watched on demand was a film called Unforgettable with Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl.
Tell us about Free Creative Productions?
Free Creative Productions is a production company that I started near the end of 2016. The company itself isn’t a production house (that’s not my ministry.) Since I tend to label myself a “creative collaborator”, working as a multi-hyphenate creative, I wanted a company to produce through. So, whether I come onto a project as a writer, producer, director, creative consultant, etc., it can all fall under Free Creative Productions. I’m also working to release some fresh company branding later this year so that’s something to look out for as well.
What’s next for you?
This year is big for me and I’m excited. In addition to the projects I mentioned I’m also assistant directing a short film which is currently in production, season 3 of Single and Anxious is in preproduction and slated to shoot this spring, I’m in my last semester at the Community College of Philadelphia for my A.A.S. in digital video production and once all of this wraps I plan to relocate to Atlanta, GA… again, pray for your girl!
How can we keep in touch with you?