dispatches from the production of my first film
Jupiter in Aries has me in a chokehold
I don’t know about y’all but the time between May and where we are now, approaching the end of June has felt like a six-month period. They say a lot can happen in a year but lately, it’s been feeling like my life has been drastically changing day by day.
Astrologically, this makes sense since Aries entered Jupiter (planet of abundance, fortune, and success) on May 10th— what this means is that whatever house Aries is in your chart will be super activated. I’m a 10th house Aries Sun/Mercury. The 10th house governs public image, career achievements, and personal aspirations so A LOT has been happening for me in this period. Here’s a recap of what’s been going on in my life since May 10th
5/10 - I met the principal cast of my short film for the first time IRL for a prop photoshoot. We went to Nuyorican Café to take a “throwback” photo of them performing at an “open mic night”. They instantly had amazing chemistry, and they all happened to be Guyanese (my bf Sanj who was my DP, and my friend Kya who was my AD are also Guyanese — clearly Guyanese people have me in a chokehold). I mean, look at them, you’d never be able to tell from this photo that they all just met each other that day.
5/13-5/16 - 1:1 director/actor meetings, two table reads
5/17-5/19 - Production meetings, directorial rehearsal prep (reading lots of books, reviewing and editing my shot list, trying not to panic).
5/20 - First rehearsal + fittings, equipment rental pick-ups.
5/21 - Shoot Day 1 - a lot of mishaps, continuity errors, and load-out issues but I learned a lot that helped me prepare for the final shoot days. We got this really dope aerial shot but honey, I will not be using a jib crane on limited time or resources ever again because it took us an hour and a half JUST to get this shot right.
5/22 - Full cast rehearsal (minus the one character who shot all of their scenes on day 1) - it was hot AF that day, our room had no A/C but the cast brought that energy, and I felt so much better about going into the final shoot days.
5/23 - Equipment rental drop-off — I’m saying this as if I did anything other than pay for the rentals. All of the credit goes to my bf/DP/gaffer/person who does all of the heavy lifting for me.
5/25 - got out of the city and went on a hike upstate to Kaaterskill Falls since I was on the verge of losing my mind. It was beautiful but also kicked my ass with the amount of climbing we did. A necessary recharge.
5/24-5/27 - more meetings, more directorial prep, prop/production design pick ups more equipment rental pick-ups
5/28-5/30 Shoot Days 2-4 - a movie, to say the least, we had two 13+ hours days and one 3-hour day of filming exteriors (in Flatbush on Memorial Day which proved to be a challenge) and we wrapped. So many people showed up to help with production, many of whom I did not know. The stars really aligned to make sure this film happened and I cannot have asked for a better cast and crew for my very first film, it’s honestly overwhelming to even think about.
6/1- FOUND OUT I WON A 10K GRANT FOR MY FILMMMMMMMM via the Johnnie Walker x Black Tag First Strides Grant Program
6/3-6/5 - flew home to surprise my cousin at her going away party, courtesy of my aunt Kathy
6/6 - 6/13 - more meetings, self-care catch-up (finally getting my hair done, a mani/pedi, facial, and some gym time in after months of looking raggedy and not having time to take care of myself)
6/14-6/16 - left the city to head to Martha’s Vineyard for Sanj’s birthday
6/17 - flew back to NYC to go to Tribeca Film Festival for an event celebrating myself and the other grant winners WHERE THEY PUT A QUOTE FROM MY APPLICATION ON A MIRROR — I also met Kenya Barris who selected the final winners and he told us all our pitches were better than anything he could’ve come up with.
6/18 - 6/19 flew back to MV and spent some more time with Sanj and his family
6/20 - I am writing this newsletter as we drive back to New York and MY FACE IS ON AN MTA ad.
As you can imagine, I am exhausted and still have a lot of editing, meetings, and work ahead of me. Though I have had very little time to take care of myself in the midst of all of this, I’m proud of myself for finding those small moments when I could and extremely grateful for the privilege to be able to do this all (even if I’ve depleted my savings account in the process 😩) because there’s no way I could’ve done all of this with a full-time job. I do need to get my ass back to making some money though.
I’ll be back with a regular newsletter of things I’m listening to, watching, and reading soon but in the meantime, I would LOVE your support in following my production company’s 88hues Instagram account. We will be releasing some interviews and BTS content soon in tandem with a crowdfunding campaign. Though winning the grant has been a huge help, filmmaking is expensive and it hasn’t come without a huge financial toll on me — I’m lucky that the entire crew donated their time but would love to get them paid as well as cover some incurred and anticipated production/post-production expenses, so be on the lookout for more details on that in the coming weeks.