The Write Stuff
By 1000 Hugs Films
An African girl once made a TV show. Then another. And after making her first cinematic short film, her eyes were filled with stars... Hollywood stars! But how do we get there? And most importantly, what is YOUR hollywood? As you join her journey, she shares what not to do, how to do what you should be doing and how like a phoenix, to keep rising up from the ashes of defeat, over and over and over again. To succeed in this indie-storyteller life, you need THE WRITE STUFF!
African Film Extraction Contractions...
We're back! And in this first episode of the new year, we speak to award-wining filmmaker, visionary and self-taught, self-promoted film educator Amil Shivji. I met Amil in New York as part of our Africa First win many years ago and at some point in our trip, we were 2 starry-eyed Africans, stuck in a Halloween Parade in the middle of Greenwich Village, listening to Swedish House Mafia amazed at how many people don't mind walking around half naked in freezing weather, just to celebrate Halloween! We have both grown since then and we speak about the idea of African cinema; What is it? Does anyone even know...? We discuss how the process of cinema can be so extractive, contracting the overall experience and how we can make it more collaborative as Africans. There are on set stories stories about disrupting communities, ginger tea and ostentatious African weddings and having a proud and solid African identity. Amil's new period love story, Vuta N'Kuvute or Tug of War is set to be release in the last half of 2021! https://www.dohafilminstitute.com/financing/projects/grants/tug-of-war Links to some of Amil's work can be found below: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5065217/ https://www.kijiweniproductions.com/films And on KWELI TV!
March 17, 2021
This week I speak to producer, storyteller and businesswoman Deshuna Spencer! Deshuna is the brains and brawn behind Kweli TV, a streaming platform which celebrates global black culture through curated, undiscovered and award-winning indie films, documentaries, web series, children’s programming and events. If you were once told that you can't make money from short films, well clearly you haven't found the right platform as yet and for me, Kweli TV has been it! We talk about failing and pivoting, biblical "Job" moments, paralysed dogs, long awaited breakthroughs and one day building a "Disney" one curated film at a time. Check out KweliTv and subscribe! https://www.kweli.tv More about Deshuna in the articles below: https://www.theringer.com/2020/11/19/21575015/kwelitv-founder-deshuna-spencer-on-creating-a-home-for-black-content-and-running-a-streaming-service https://medium.com/authority-magazine/deshuna-spencer-of-kwelitv-optimal-performance-before-high-pressure-moments-how-to-relieve-cc25fe63e4b5
December 8, 2020
Ego Decks, Ancestors and the Ark of the Covenant
This week I speak to award winning filmmaker and a multi-degree earner, Sihle Hlophe . Sihle has written and directed two short films that have been screened at over 30 international film festivals. She is an alumni of the IDFAcademy (the Netherlands), the North-South-South Student Exchange Program (Finland) and the Hot Docs Blue Ice Group Story Lab (Canada). She is also the producer/director of a feature length documentary, Lobola, A Bride’s True Price. Sihle has worked as a scriptwriter and story-liner for episodic drama series on SABC, eTV and DSTV. Amongst some very serious things, like making films that matter, Sihle and I talk about out-of-body experiences that lead you down a rabbit hole, the ark of the covenant being in Africa, Southern Africa to be specific, and why everybody is supposed to give you a chance after your first successful short film, I mean hello...! Links to some of the works mentioned are below: Nomfundo Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePr-iiLv22Q Follow the development of Lobola: a bride's True Price on Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lobola_brideprice_documentary/ Work Readiness for emerging filmmakers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF-wmittq6s
November 6, 2020
Artists and Auteurs
This week, we speak to award winning artist and commercials director, Nare Mokgotho. Nare has won major awards for both his fine art work and his leap into the world of film rewarded his bravery with 2 Cannes Lions Gold-Screen awards for his very first 2 ads - Ever! How is that?! Some think he has a charmed life. Others think he's lucky. I think he is just a regular (very talented) oke with a lot of curiosity in his pocket! In this episode we speak about what happens after success, the imposter syndrome and the hope that is creating a work of art. See some of Nare's award winning work below! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVJN9HvUCUA&feature=emb_title https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUTtSELY0b0&feature=emb_title https://foundwork.art/guest-curators/madeyoulook
October 6, 2020
Soccer Strategies & Netflix Negotiations
This week we speak to award winning cinematographer Motheo Moeng. His work ranges from commercials to music videos to award winning feature films and of course, Africa's first Netflix original. We first met Motheo on our film set for Hair That Moves and he would be such a supportive collaborator and visionary. In this frank interview, he tells us about his first big break, how playing professional soccer helped him navigate his approach to a sustainable film career and how on earth he got Christian Epps - the gaffer on Beyonce's Black is King and Ava DuVernay's Selma to work with him! The trailers to some of the work mentioned: Skyf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXiCZKqomx4 Thina Sobabili: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv0y8n0Pu0E Catching Feelings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BagGDvbVK9A Queen Sono: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zgxDFEifyI&list=PLRNUgRphSKZsirT_duz7e05KseCKyVZgh
September 17, 2020
Redcards and Roadblocks
In our first interview, we chat to a young man who became the unlikely face of our very first TV Show! Mthunzi Ntoyi is a South African rising star who has appeared in a number of television series including Khululeka, Sokhulu & Partners, Home Affairs and The Lab. When we first met Mthunzi as he auditioned for our show, we thought, could this be "Joe"? The stars aligned and yep, it was! His time working on this TV show with us, was as much training for him as it was for us. Having trained at AFDA, Mthunzi is also a musician and stand-up comedian. In 2016 Mthunzi began co-hosting the daytime comedic adventure game show for children "Disney Cookabout" - the first collaboration between The Walt Disney Company Africa and SABC of a long-form series in South Africa. In this interview, he shares his journey as an artist, his struggle with fame and early success as well as what has given longevity to his career. He also shares with us, what is his Hollywood... The two cooking shows mentioned: Meet Joe Food: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg_sYT6F5a8 Disney Cookout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoSkmtpSsEQ
September 3, 2020
The Write Stuff!
Season 2 trailer!!
September 1, 2020
Welcome to season 2 - the Interview Mode!
We kick off our interview mode with an interview my producer collaborative, Dominique Jossie and myself did regarding our first ever dance documentary feature called Rumba in the Jungle - The Return. This film is screening at the Encounters International Film festival until the 30th August - Link Below! Rumba in The Jungle - The Return - https://encounters.co.za/film/rumba-in-the-jungle/ Another film I mentioned - the one that gave me "a taste of Hollywood" is also screening this weekend - link below! Hair That Moves - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IIHl5VOZog&list=UUtzt3_rwuQeubetx6BpreWg&index=72 ALL SCREENINGS ARE FREE... but only until 30th August 2020
August 28, 2020
So after venturing into unknown territories within the world of short films, I asked myself, what other new things can one try? The answer was surprising if not scary and has become the path I currently find myself on. What are the genres or styles of filmmaking that you have always wanted to experiment with but have been afraid to try? What satisfaction possibly lies on the other side of your fear... Link to the documentary trailer: https://vimeo.com/300957898
August 10, 2020
Started at the bottom and now we're... wait, where are we?
So you finished your incredible or not so amazing short film - what now? Where do you go from here? Do you just make another one until you run out of ideas or money or both? Or is there another way to leverage and build on what you have already started...?
July 30, 2020
Searching for Silver-linings...
After the door to Hollywood was shut in my face, head hanging low, I went in search for a silver lining! A surprise twist in the story and some unexpected chance meetings with just the right advice would turn this plot on its head. I went from unknown wannabe filmmaker to negotiating, self-promoting (in a good way) and self-distributing producer who was now making a little bit of money off of her once unpopular short film! Who would have thought...
July 24, 2020
The first taste of Hollywood!
After writing my truth and getting into a prestigious filmmaker programme with the film Hair That Moves, my experience of Hollywood went from being a special kinda fish in a big, big pond to just downright plankton. My first taste of Hollywood would take me to the heights of New York and all its lush glory, to the lows of making desperate 1 am phone calls to studio representatives because my life and career, depended on it!
July 17, 2020
Hearts on the page!
We are always being told to write the truth or write your truth but in this very competitive industry, where does that honestly led you? And what does it mean? When I eventually made my transition from Television to Film, learning to write and accept my truth was such an uncomfortable and awkward exercise but with surprising results. One clue - it got me one step closer to Hollywood...kind of...!
June 26, 2020
The Does and Don'ts of bootstrapping your low budget TV production
TV budgets are getting lower and lower but expectations and competition keep increasing. How do you maximise a low budget and still create that fantastic TV show you've been dreaming about? Through my hits and misses on a show called Meet Joe Food, I take you through my low budget producer hacks that took us from going way over budget, to creating a show that looked like we had money! Link to Meet Joe Food Kung Fu Episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W_bGtoSY9E&t=19s
June 19, 2020
Breakthroughs, Anti-climaxes and Secrets...
What happens when your "big break" leads to a cul-de-sac? After what was supposed to be a career-catapulting break, the financial crisis hit and then nothing happened. Anti climax! A year later, a chance hybrid show would then come up and reveal the most obvious secret about building clout in the world of content.
June 12, 2020
The unredeemable "Golden Ticket"
I was once told I have "The Golden Ticket" - young, black, gifted and female and that this ticket would take me anywhere and everywhere. However the reality is that, My Golden Ticket in all its glory has not given me entry into the Chocolate Factory! It hasn't quite bought me the respect and inclusion I was hoping it would - not yet. If you have encountered some discrimination while trying to build your career in the entertainment industry, welcome to the club. But how do we navigate this? Can we navigate this...?
June 4, 2020
And then came the flops!
In all our wins, we have to gracefully accept our plethora of mistakes and misses. After successfully completing the sitcom, a few unexpected flops and missed opportunities would come along to haunt me. Some would be just silly. Others deeply disappointing but all spectacular in their naïveté of a filmmaker's journey!
May 27, 2020
The first Act Anomoly
What happens when your very first Act in the entertainment industry is a pretty big act? Where do you go from there? We all want that TV show as soon as the idea escapes our minds and lands on that page, but are there any pitfalls to this immediate glory?
May 15, 2020
What's your Hollywood?
A brief introduction to a journey of finding my "hollywood", going from creative writer to business person while trying to figure out the Write Stuff!
May 6, 2020