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One Last Hoorah!

Enraptured was somewhat of a departure for me. It was the first film that I didn’t do auditions for, it was a film about sex, it had music throughout (many of my films don’t even have music). I definitely tapped into a different aspect of myself as a filmmaker with it. In all honesty, I had another idea for March altogether. I even had a script, but for many reasons, I scrapped it. So when March came around, I was at square 1.

With the help of my friend Shaun B (who provided the song used in the film), I had a new concept and I wrote a script.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a lead that wasn’t the conventional beauty. I also knew I wanted an all queer cast.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a stickler about representation and inclusion (Gawd, I hate that word!), This was not simply about representation, but because I am a cis hetero woman, I wanted to make sure I had scrutinous eyes that fully understood the content because they are part of the community.

First, my lovely producer, Maalik, who is a gay man, was on board. We’ve worked together before. He’s essentially my film husband, so having him on board was a no brainer.

Next, I needed cast, so with little time, I had my eyes wide open on social media for friends that I felt could fit the part.

Tae was first. If you’ve watched the film, you know why. She is captivating. I actually reached out to her for another project, but it didn’t work out. To be transparent, I was a little leery of asking her again, but I’m glad I did.

She was on board and enthusiastic. So my female lead was locked in.

Now I needed two men for the film. I was very intentional about who I contacted because, with the subject matter of the film, I wanted to be authentic and mindful. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do a lot of searching for my male actors either. I received a swift and enthusiastic yes from Brandon and although I first had Roe helping me look, when I asked him to be in it, he was on board as well. Casting done!!!

My next step was getting my lighting in order because it was such a big part of the film’s aesthetic, so I reached out to my good friends Will and Ajai from Be Creative and had them act as stand ins while I did some test shots for the film. Some of the best time spent for this project. Test shooting prior to production day saved me so much time on set.

Fast forward to production day…We shot on Sunday, March 15th. This was the weekend things got crazy because of the coronavirus, and was the last day before the unofficial lockdown happened. Luckily for me, everyone was still ready and willing to come through and get the film shot. It took us no more than an hour and a half to get all the shots we needed with the full cast. Tae stayed behind and we shot a few more things and did her voice over and that was that!

Postproduction is where the pandemic started to take hold though. The first few days, I was really excited about the film. I started doing a few edits here and there and I felt good because I had so much time to get it done. I was confident I’d finish early, but somewhere along the line, the effects of the coronavirus took hold. Between having to be at home all the time, not having much that had to be done, and the uncertainty of how long this would last, I became unmotivated. I began procrastinating big time! The only shred of motivation I had was my commitment to the film challenge. That was enough for me to muster the energy to push through.

I’m sure it’s obvious by the date of this post, that I had little motivation to do much else. This new lifestyle has become my biggest hurdle creatively and is an ongoing battle that I must fight in order to continue filmmaking. But as Kendrick would say, “We gon’ be alright!”

Lessons learned:

  • Write the blog as you go. Writing a little at a time can be easier than writing everything at once.

  • Work on the edit on a more consistent basis, better yet, have a timeline that includes a break or two.

  • Motivation and inspiration are not enough. Commitment, discipline, and focus are key.

Things to keep doing:

  • Test shoots!

  • Work with friends.

  • Rely on commitment when motivation is not enough.

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