LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO played at the August 2021 MUSIC Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I’ve always felt that I had the heart of an activist and wasn’t sure initially, how I could contribute. I had actually been sitting on this idea since the song first came out a few years ago. For some reason, this song always felt like a “protest song”. Dark images of the destructive things going on in our country always came to mind when I listened to the lyrics and the lyrics always made me feel like something was rising from the ashes to create a new and better day. Given the trauma of 2020, it felt like so many people were becoming hyper aware of just how imperfect our country is. I didn’t want that feeling to go away. I wanted us to do something about it and come together within our communities to affect change. The purpose was to empower ourselves to create the solutions we want to see. “Be the change” so-to-speak.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
So the original idea came to mind a few years ago, but I was inspired to bring it to fruition in the summer of 2020. I started working on it assembling crew, COVID safety, and other pre-production in September and we completed the day before Halloween as I wanted to release it on Halloween. So there was quite a quick turnaround.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle for this project was having a limited crew and shooting during the pandemic. Because of COVID-19, we didn’t want to have too many people onset, and I required everyone to be COVID tested. So this made it more challenging but understandably so.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I cried after listening to the audience reactions. Hearing how your work has touched or affected people is very validating. It’s even more validating when it brings more awareness, causes people to think, and drives people to action. This is the reason I do what I do and it is the best feeling in the world.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I’ve always been in the performing arts, since I was a little kid, and I primarily focused on acting and music into adulthood. However, I’ve always been a creator and a storyteller, writing about what I see and how I feel. And when you’re a creator and there’s not a lot of opportunities to create through performance, you still have a need to create. I didn’t realize or acknowledge that I an actor, was “worthy” of identifying as a creator, until I started creating my own stories. And then I truly appreciated myself as an actor, and all collaborative artists in the filmmaking process. We’re all creators.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
That’s a tough question. I’m not sure I can recall, to be honest.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
I really enjoy the FilmFreeway submission platform. It’s user-friendly, and effective in what it’s meant to do. I have access to so many festivals not only to submit to but to learn if they’re appropriate targets for my project. As a new filmmaker, I’m still navigating the platform and discovering the nuances necessary in the festival submission process, but this platform makes it simple to learn.
9. What is your favorite meal?
This is a tough question too because I love food. However, a nice slice of pizza with buttery garlic knots and marinara sauce and garlic sauce on the side is satisfying. I also can’t go wrong with butter baked crab legs, seasoned collard greens, fried drumsticks, and my mom or grandma’s mac and cheese. Nothing better than that.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I am continuing to work on my craft as an actor and audition, while writing a couple of short film projects about my own personal growth. My goal for 2021 is to really put myself out there as a full creator, and that starts with being brave enough to put my writing out there more consistently.