Hollywood Talent Manager Wendy Alane Wright
President of WAW Entertainment in Los Angeles.
INTERVIEW WITH FILM PRODUCER TANYA THOMPSON
Now a days Actors try really hard to get noticed in a sea full of competition. One of the best ways to stand out and get noticed is to CREATE YOUR OWN CONTENT! That means writing, or finding a good script, casting YOURSELF in it, assembling a production team, shooting it and releasing it to the public through social media, You Tube, Film Festivals etc. Many actors have become experts at this and use their own productions to network with casting directors, film makers, and other actors.
It's a wonderful way to take charge of your career and show people your talent and what you are capable of
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Tanya Thompson, Actress, Producer and Film Maker about producing her own film projects and was really inspired by our conversation.
Actress, Producer, Filmmaker.
Tanya has appeared as an actress in numerous films not only in front of the camera but has now started working "behind the lens" as well. Tanya has most recently had the honor of being a Co-Producer on two (2) major feature films starring the incredibly talented Clifton Powell (Ray), Malik Yoba (Empire), Taral Hicks (A Bronx Tale, Belly), Malik Whitfield (If Loving You Is Wrong, The Temptations), Claudia Jordan (Real Housewives of Atlanta), Omar Gooding (Baby Boy, Barber Shop, Smart Guy) and a host of others. She is using all of her experience she gained as an on-camera actress as well as her financial/business background from the Emmys to help other Directors bring their vision to life as one of the Producer's on their projects.
WENDY’S QUESTION: Hi Tanya I am so honored to be able to speak with you. I truly admire passionate, strong, smart actors. In addition to acting, you produce your own projects now which I think is a brilliant way of getting yourself out there. Making a film is a really daunting project. What experience did you have in filmmaking prior to completing this film?
TANYA: I started out in the business acting in the early 90s doing background roles in NY Undercover on FOX and other TV shows...then life happened, I got married, had a baby so I left the business and got a job as a Director of Finance, Operations & Special Events for the National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences (also known as "The Daytime Emmy Awards). In 2006 I decided to return to the business, when I booked my first feature film as a principal actor. I've been acting ever since. In 2009, I got frustrated with the lack of available roles for women like me so I decided to take my destiny in my own hands by producing my own projects. With my experience in acting and my background in finance it gave me the confidence to try my hand at producing. When other Directors found out that I produced films, they reached out to me to help them produce theirs as well.
WENDY’S QUESTION: Getting distribution for a film is a complicated procedure. How are you able to get distribution for your film?
TANYA: The distribution process is not always easy. You have to find the right distribution company for the particular film you are trying to sell. I was able to get distribution through pitching to a few companies, having a few conference calls with each and ultimately deciding which one would be a good fit based on our genre, production value and talent.
WENDY’S QUESTION: Raising money for a film is always a challenge for filmmakers. What message do you use to raise the money you needed to complete your project?
TANYA: Most of the films I've produced have been funded by the production company putting out the film that I'm producing. Each project is a case by case scenario. There are so many avenues I've seen the various Directors I've worked with raise funds from crowdfunding, to cashing out real estate properties, to securing an investor, to pulling the money from their own pockets. When you don't have a big studio backing you, you have to be resourceful. Most people won't invest in you, unless they see you have invested in yourself. You have to be willing to make financial sacrifices in order to get your project out there otherwise you will be waiting forever for someone to come along and invest in you. Once you have a few projects under your belt and have built a track record of putting out films that are successful in terms of turning a profit, then it becomes a little easier to approach an investor to back you on your future projects.
WENDY’S QUESTION: Was this a passion project for you? Did you write the story? Or where did
you find a story you resonated with?
TANYA: This latest project that I produced "The1Closest2U" was written and directed by Willie Coggins of Official IC Entertainment. He approached me with the script and I immediately fell in love with the story. Not only did I produce the film, I starred in it as well.
WENDY’S QUESTION: How did you put your team together and find other passionate people to work with?
TANYA: My current team, "Official IC Entertainment" came kind of as a package deal when I signed on to produce "The1Closest2U". We all had an IMMEDIATE connection and I really feel like it was ordained. We all work so well together and everyone knows their role and does a fantastic job. I have never worked with such an amazing, humble, dedicated, driven bunch of people. We are all passionate about the work and see the long-term vision of where we all want to go careerwise. We work hard AND smart so that we can achieve that all together.
WENDY’S QUESTION: What was the most challenging part of this process?
TANYA: The most challenging part of the process I think is all of us wearing multiple hats and having to get projects done on a limited budget in a limited amount of time. You have to be so creative with your choice of locations, talent, etc. However, the team I'm working with (Official IC Entertainment) is so resourceful that even this minor challenge we were able to overcome and get everything we needed done for the film. The film looks authentic and it was well received by the distribution company that picked us up.
WENDY’S QUESTION: What advice would you give up and coming filmmakers who want to bring their visions to the screen and to an audience?
TANYA: My advice would be to DO IT! A lot of times we talk ourselves out of the process because we think of all the things that can go wrong or all the resources we don't have. I encourage filmmakers to sit down and write a list of all the resources you DO have. You'd be surprised at how many things you have within your reach to cut a few corners and save you money during the production process. I would also encourage filmmakers to work on having the best production value they can as this is something distributors look at, especially if you are looking for a theatrical/broadcast deal. If you can secure at least 3 "named talent" in your film, that will make you super attractive to the distribution companies as having recognizable faces makes it an easier sell for them. Be sure to build a good strong team of passionate, dedicated, humble people who share your same vision and who have a similar work ethic. That will take you a long way. You're only as strong as your weakest link and you can't do it all on your own so you need to have your "soldiers" with you that can help you execute your vision. Last but not least, DON'T GIVE UP, even when the challenges come...because they will. If you take 2 steps, God will help you take the 3rd and beyond. HE will send people your way to help you bring your vision to life. Do the work and give him something to bless and trust me, HE will.
WENDY’S QUESTION: Did you bring this film to film festivals first?
TANYA: No we did not bring this film to festivals first. However, we did submit to a few and we have already received confirmation of acceptance into a few festivals that is yet to be announced. We are super excited!
WENDY’S QUESTION: What was your favorite part of making this film?
TANYA: My favorite part of making this film was the deep relationships I have built with the cast and crew. We literally consider ourselves family because we not only enjoy working together, we just enjoy spending time together as friends. This particular film "The1Closest2U" was filmed on a gorgeous lakehouse in Stratford, CT. We spent a week there filming and it was like a beautiful vacation getaway. We filmed for hours but we didn't even feel it because we had so much fun on set creating together. It was such an amazing time with some amazing people.
WENDY’S QUESTION: I grew up in Connecticut and actually got married in Stratford. It's a very beautiful place. Do you think you'll continue making films in the future and why?
TANYA: Absolutely. I'll be starring in and producing films until I'm old and gray...and even then I will probably still continue. This is my passion and I love every bit of the process....the highs, the lows.. I love it all!
WENDY’S QUESTION: WENDY How can my readers support you, see your films and promote your films for you?
TANYA: They can like our official FB fan page and follow our Twitter and IG pages under @The1Closest2U.
For those who want to follow my work:
FB tanya thompson
IMDB http://www.imdb.com/name/ nm2479233/
WENDY’S QUESTION: As you know, being successful in this business takes tremendous work, dedication and persistence. Tanya you are a very powerful woman, both spiritually and creatively. You are an inspiration to thousands of actresses around the world who dream of doing what you do. I know how busy Hollywood producers like you are, so I genuinely thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, and to inspire future filmmakers.
TANYA: Thank you so much for the opportunity!
Actors - Stay close for more inside information from The Hollywood Talent Manager to help you along your journey as you build your successful acting career!
See You On The Red Carpet!
WENDY ALANE WRIGHT