In this edition of TAKE 5! Ndum Stanisla, a Cameroonian Filmmker/TV Producer. He has a number of credits to my name in projects like:- Actor (Ekomenan Kingdom) 2009, Actor/ Director (Maiden Festival) 2010, Artistic Director/Actor/Continuity (Rose of Sharon) 2011, Actor (Damaru) 2013, Writer/Producer/Director (First Born) 2017, Director/Producer/Cinematographer (Word Alive) 2019, Director/Cinematographer (Impostor) 2020, Director/Cinematographer (In Between) 2020, Director (Tu Dort Ta Vie Dors_Glo Ri Yaa) video clip 2020, Director (When God Gets Involve Dad Boy4Life) Video Clip 2020.
Q: What do you like most about your job as a producer?
A: My journey as a filmmaker didn’t actually start as producer or director. I started as supporting actor to a minor role in a local feature length project in my country in 2009. In planning for another project the next year, the producer contacted my service as the director to the project.
As a first time director, what I find liking most is the ability to be the hand holding the brush and using the actors as the different colors to be able to paint a color portrait. This is the part of the job that grants me a free fall into the deep world of able to reflect my imaginations into reality to better tell a story. In achieving this, I enjoy the opportunity of leading an entire team towards the success of a particular project. Working in as team ushers me into the classroom to learn from the crew members and actors at large.
My experience as producer pushed me even harder to like my role to assemble all the factors of production for the project to be effectuated. Here I better express my leadership skills and evaluate which aspect is gaining momentum and which needs to grow in capacity. Uniting a team of experts for a common goal is what I’m passionate about.
Q: What do you consider your artistic process when it comes to making a film
A: As a filmmaker, I have considered the process daunting because of the totally of artistry elements involved to realize a consumable finished film project. This process ranges from preproduction, production and post-production activities. The pre-production starts from conceiving the initial plot of the story.
As a writer, I get my inspiration from inspiration and observation. Usually, I would be fascinated to narrate a story that is closely related to a character I have related with or observed within a given period. In writing and developing the script, I will love to spent time in a more natural or quite environment and consult a colleague for writing the screen play to the breaking down of the script. I love to be part of the development process, to be part of the location scouting to examine the locations if they can natural suit the scenes.
This can now open way for casting and auditioning of actors. I generally have intimate conversation to know the casted actors more than just wanting them to play a role in the movie. The production stage involves the Production Design and Mis-en Scene activities which will prepare the actors to go on set and be guided to their various roles through directing. At this stage, I consider the art of communication to play a vital role to bring the team’s focus back to the goal of the project. In as much as I try to be a respecter of the conventional roles that are set on the drawing board, I am also very flexible to listen to my instincts. I belief arts is from within and not static as the laws of science.
The Post-production stage in most film projects will be the last artistic process. This stage involves the editing of the film into sequences, sound, scoring, color grading, after effects and the production of publicity contents to market the film. This is where we witness the contribution of highly skilled professionals in diverse aspects, putting in their efforts following a tentative guide from the director.
Filmmaking is a lengthy process and will occur in variety of circumstances, including social, political and financial to fully determine the effective implementation of these artistic processes.
Q: Why did you start making films?
A: I want believe this question gets my interest more. I grew up in a society where we live as a community and our parents told us a lot of stories during the evenings as we gathered round the fire side. From fiction, riddles to true life situations, I was able to mimic some characters from their stories and create comedy out them.
When I had my first opportunity to be casting in a film role by 2009, I saw it as the only entrance to my passion to share my imaginations, my vision and my passion as a story telling to the world at large. The drive came from the passion. I wanted to pass educate, advocate, entertain and pass an ideology about particular societal issues.
As a teenager, I wore this burning passion about contributing positively to the betterment of the world. This I see it possible through filmmaking. Filmmaking is art. Film is me bringing to life a vision, my driving passion. I saw it as doing what I love to do, seeing my ideas through. If there wasn’t film then the world would be a very different place.
Q: What are you currently watching?
A: I’m currently watching;
- The Black Book (2023) by Editi Effiong from Nigeria.
- The Sound of Freedom (2023) by Alejandro Gomeez Monteverde from
- Extration 2 (2023) by Sam Hargrave from USA.
- Jawan (2023) by Atlee Kumar from India
- Air (2023) by Ben Affleck from USA
- Nganou (2023) by Kang Quintus from Cameroon.
Q:Any advice to those starting out in the film
A: I’m always loud on this when it’s time to share some tips to newbies starting up in the film industry. Generally, filmmaking is a very daunting exercise, it can be both time consuming, energy draining and financially very cumbersome. My first advice is let the passion drives you at the beginning. Be passionate enough to tell your stories and keep telling them just avoiding the money making aspect of it.
It is simple to start with minor roles as actors or assisting as a technical crew member. Allow yourself to grow in the process. The reward might come in the long run as you stay consistent in the process. You might want to start as filmmakers after a few projects you’ve gained some experience. I will boldly encourage that, there is neither right nor comfortable time to produce a film.
Get the story on the board and start working on it, don’t wait for a comfortable time to start your production. Secondly, you don’t need a huge budget to get started. I have succeeded in very low budget productions. Get a camera, assemble some friends and cast some family members, share the responsibilities amongst them. Shoot something and don’t forget to add their names on the end credit lists for acknowledgment.
Lastly, be your first motivator. Filmmaking is a very daunting process and requires time and energy plus finance. In all these, the most required fuel is passion. Don’t go into a production with the expectation of making money. Money and fame are the by products of your passion being exercised to fulfill a vision.