Media Producer | Director | TV Personality
How did you get into filmmaking?
Well I started in this industry as a child on TTT age 6 on the only live children’s show to date, Rikki Tikki. I guess the bug bit me. I never left the industry, just expanded from in front the camera to behind when director Linus Pitt started to give me editing tips when I hosted party time. From there I realised my love for producing and directing and I began first really producing and directing for tv – shows, ads, videos. It was my work on Shurwayne Winchester’s don’t stop video that caught the eye of home again producer Jennifer Holness and as they say the rest was history. I actually worked with Frances-Anne previous to this on the distribution of her film ‘a winter’s tale’ which starred sprang-a-lang. Although I literally grew up in the industry, in 2005 I wanted to cement my ‘on-the-job’ training with some academic metal, lol so I went to the London Film Academy. It was such an endorsement of the training I had received by local industry greats at TTT.
What do you look for in a script?
I think as a left and right brain, I look for both sides of a script – from a creative standpoint the script needs to be an honest. Well written story that can be beautifully translated on screen. From a business perspective the script must be relatable and marketable so that I can see where the finance would come from to get it from script screen. Oh, and it needs to be presented in final draft or comparable format.
Do you write your own script or solicit writers?
A combination of both. If I am directing, I would definitely be more involved in the scriptwriting.
As a producer, how do you decide which projects you would like to work on?
It’s a bit similar to how I chose a script. I also gravitate to projects that will be impactful whether they transform the industry through the techniques used or whether the impact is on the psycho-social side. I get excited by projects that are transformative which is why Home Again is so dear to my heart… So many of our current practitioners and suppliers were impacted by home again. Hero and Claudia are projects that place the Caribbean centre stage, globally.
What would you change in a movie you produced that you believe would make it better?
More time, more money… lol
Tell us about the next project you are working on?
I am working on multiple projects at the moment. Claudia of course is the most public one. It’s early days yet, but I am thrilled at the cross-continental nature of the project, the fact that it is a team of strong international female practitioners, of course led by Frances-Anne Solomon, telling the story of a strong female character from Trinidad and Tobago
What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
In terms of experience, home again because of the unquestionable integrity of the producers Jennifer Holness and Sudz Sutherland – the experience was extra-ordinary. The way in which they agreed to have their team work with our local team to ensure the transfer of knowledge, fair pay for play and minimal drama… in terms of style, I look at a cross section of films and one thing may jump out at me in one, I would say yes, I like that, but then something else jumps out from another. I look at everything and gain inspiration even if it’s in a small measure.
Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
From a technical standpoint lighting, angles, location, audio, strong acting… not necessarily stars, just strong characters and actors. Otherwise I kick back and enjoy the film for pure entertainment and close my eyes to the technical side.
What was your role on the film hero?
Executive producer, raising funds for completion and distribution. I pitched Hero in 2015 at the prestigious Discop in Johannesburg, South Africa and won. From the get go I knew Hero was special. I couldn’t work on it from the start as I was working on the film, Girlfriends Getaway. The reaction to people from around the world and especially at Discop confirmed that Hero was transformative.
Do you have a mentorship programme/tell us more about your producer’s Masterclass?
My life is daily mentorship, I work with so many young people around the world. I was a mentor for the queen’s young leaders programme, University of Cambridge. I continue to mentor a number of young people. I started the Lisa Wickham masterclass series in 2017. I have worked with some incredible persons locally and around the world and wanted to share some of their expertise with the local and regional market. People like Dominic Kalipersad who does the presenter’s & communication masterclass, Keith Murphy – camera operators, Lincoln Ascot – cinematography, I do the producer’s masterclass. This year with Covid-19 we launched the online edition.
What advice would you give to up and coming filmmakers?
Focus on honing your craft and quality, the money will follow.