Who: Director of short films, commercials and music videos. Her first feature, The Tiger Hunter, is currently winning awards on the festival circuit.
How did you break in of get your start in screenwriting?
I got into writing out of requirement—I had stories I wanted to tell and wasn’t ready to put them in the hands of others. I ultimately wanted to direct, but found screenwriting in the process. There were always nuances that I knew I had to be the one to pen, so in my quest to get my first feature, The Tiger Hunter, on the screen, I just started writing it.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
I’ve learned where I need guidance from mentors and story editors, and also where I need to trust myself. When writing The Tiger Hunter, I was always second guessing myself, valuing the opinions of so many others over my instincts. When I started actually shooting the thing, I realized when I needed to just trust myself, and when I needed that second opinion.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
In my current project, I’m writing about an African-American mother who loses her son in a police shooting. I am writing about a community I am not from, and an experience I will never probably live through. I tried several things. I went out searching for people who have lived through this to interview. That was harder than I expected, so I started watching interviews. I read articles. Ultimately, it was a combination of dogged research, and also the passing of my uncle—which, although not a result of injustice even close to what these women experience—gave me a more direct window into grief.