I’m comfortably seated by a warm fire in the living room of the beautiful Casale Le Crete B&B and I am compelled to pause and recognise how blessed and fortunate I am to be filming a documentary in Italy. It’s a wonderful thing to be prosperous whilst doing the thing you love #StartSmallDreamBig.
To add to BusaBuntu Pictures’ growing library of #StartSmallDreamBig stories we have collaborated with Francesca Piazza’s Walking A Lifestyle documentary. We are so excited to be a part of this journey, this documentary hopes to highlight the importance of a healthy and community driven lifestyle through walking. The first part of the documentary was filmed in London by Francesca and a few of her MA classmates, this is the second edition which spans across the northern and southern regions of Italy.
Our first stop is in the southern region town of Tagliacozzo, which is the hometown for Casale Le Crete, which has proven to be a wonderfully warm village with glorious countryside landscapes and snowcapped mountain ranges. Luca, Fabiana and their bright 4 year old son, Jiacomo have welcomed us into the home with open arms, Montepulciano D’abruzzo 2009 and ridiculously unforgettable meals. And if I am sounding overly grateful it is owing to the fact that our current abode is a huge contrast from the 15 hour train ride that began in Brescia which included an overly friendly Moroccan man, saw us sleeping a mere 3 hours and missing our final train which pan-ultimately caused a 2 hour delay. Casale Le Crete is truly the sanctuary we needed. Luca’s walking tours and Fabiana’s cooking are truly great representations of Italian hospitality and idyllic settings for a comfortable (A rarity in independent filmmaking) filmmaking process. Did I mention Luca reads poetry during his guided walks? I know, it only happens in the movies, our movie.
Our next stop is Roma and I am sure the impending train ride will offer stranger tales. I hope you enjoy this trail blazing adventure we’re embarking upon…walk this space.
14th of April 2014
Casale Le Crete, Tagliacozzo, Italy, Earth, Milky Way
As mentioned on my previous blog, it is now January in our timeline – the month of the most grizzly weather in London, and also the month where sitting in a pub with a pint is preferable to almost everything else.
This is what BusaBuntu Pictures did. While sitting there, I was treated to my first ever pitch: B’s pitch of the idea that would eventually turn into iZulu, our biggest venture to date.
When I say “turn into”, that is meant quite literally – the original pitch ran along the lines of “basically Cinderella, but with a South African/Zulu twist”. I immediately signed up for that – I love me a good fairytale reimagining, and I was confident of B’s abilities to convert the classical Grimm story into something magical, set in her home country.
As the weeks passed and B was working on her script, we continued to try and find a shape this Grimm-mould could fit with – what was the central theme, where does the shoe come into play, do we even need a Prince? I mean, the Prince isn’t necessary as such, she might just as well save herself, right? Along those lines we thought, and wrote, and deleted. And rewrote.
In the end, the “Heureka!” moment happened in class: B was asked what story she really wanted to tell. And indeed, that was not a re-imagining of a German fairy tale set in her home country, but one she had been thinking about for a long time, and written pages and pages about: the story of Thandi Dlamini, superheroine.
From this point on, the story continuously improved and there were less points to stress about (the fact that we would have to find a child actress who was able to carry the load of the story was a matter we were not thinking about at that point), and it flowed better. The only thing we carried over from the fairy tale was the shoe as a major plot point.
This somewhat non-linear evolution of our story demonstrates that sometimes, you have to throw overboard a perfectly good idea and start looking at it from a different angle – and suddenly everything will look just right.
Kill your darlings. (William Faulkner)
To be continued.
April will see the launch of BusaBuntu Pictures’ campaign, or rather entrepreneurial mantra, #StartSmallDreamBig. The world of entrepreneurship is a ruthless and difficult reality with most of our early 20’s spent living off of mum, dad, grandparents and friends’ support. A fragile ego is not welcome in entrepreneurship and neither is a faint heart, this game is for the strong and it is especially for the dreamers.
I’ve been entrepreneurial from a very young age, watching my late aunt making and selling ice-lollies during the unforgiving February summer heat in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to all the neighbourhood kids and pan-ultimately spreading joy and relief gave me an understanding of entrepreneurship even without me being aware of it at the time. Spending very little to buy the contents of juice blend and a few fruits to mix with water, making a profit was an inevitable and pleasing outcome for all of us helpers (My cousins and I) but mostly for my wise and hard working aunt. I suppose in hindsight I had already learnt the ways of making money from something very simple, problem solving and also increasing in value, however, obtaining some life experience and higher education has given me a very strong foundation and a greater understating of the marketplace, to quote my dissertation:
‘In looking at Entrepreneurship it is important to identify the dimensions of Entrepreneurship that can be related to the independent filmmaking industry. In Stokes, Wilson and Mador’s Entrepreneurship (2010) it is stated that:
‘Entrepreneurship is seen as a fundamentally important
part of modern economic and social life.’
…In reference to IZULU (2013), identifying the relevant process in relation to TLF project has shown that Hisrich and Peters’ definition is apt. They believe that:
Entrepreneurship is‘the process of creating something new of value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence.’ (2002)’
Basically, to try and keep it simple, the points I was trying to make in this portion of my lengthy (10750 Words) dissertation were;
The answers to those questions will be the first map to a possible future in entrepreneurship. Kingston University's enterprise division commissioned us with the great task of making a promotional film for the Enterprise Awards 2014 and we are very proud to have this video launch our #StartSmallDreamBig projects.
The next projects will see music video content from up and coming British musician, Azu Green.
The link for the enterprise video will be live at the end of the week.
P.S Rereading my dissertation again…this is going to take a while.
31st of March 2014 22:44:00
Hackney, London, Earth, Milky Way
Previously on „The story of Step/Forward or, how we learnt a hell of a lot for our second feature“: We had successfully completed filming and were now heading into the editing phase, full on, no holds barred, enthusiastic – until a tiny needle pricked our balloon of eagerness and hope.
In every Storyteller’s life there are those patches of immense silence or for the purposes of this blog, ‘The Blank Page’. No work. No inspiration. Nothing, just pure and often unsettling silence. It’s true, we knew what type of work environment and lifestyle we were signing up for as creatives but the reality of our everyday existence is a far more overwhelming sensation of fear and pain than the fantasy of our lives ever was or still is.
(Image sourced on tumblr.com BusaBuntu Pictures does not own this image.)
Many artists choose to turn to drugs, a higher power or any form of distraction as an escape from The Blank Page (TBP). Its power is so overwhelming and so powerful that it lends to depression, isolation and high levels of self-doubt. Accompanied by the demons that one carries in life, demons which can serve ones creativity if channelled properly, TBP can prove to be destructive and sometimes fatal. This can be seen in Storytellers such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who recently lost his battle with drug addiction or Whitney Houston who battled addiction for many years before a mysterious death in 2007. Two extraordinary Storytellers who gave us so much art, so much colour and so much life. I imagine that perhaps one day they had come back to their own personal blank pages and couldn’t find a pencil, paintbrush or pen…
This is perhaps one of the more morbid blogs I’ve penned (I prefer to say penned as keyed is just not as poetic) and I am aware it may not be in line with the humorous tone I have tried to establish as a writer on tumblr, however, I suppose it’s only fair to share as many dimensions of who I am.
I work to share truth, I respect it even in the darkest of times. So here is part of my truth: I have known and still know great depths of darkness, sometimes I find solace in this darkness as it is a part of me that I have learnt to use to my advantage…and hopefully the advantage of the audience.
(Image sourced on tumblr.com BusaBuntu Pictures does not own this image.)
When I feel the anguish or am deafened by the silence of TBP I always try and navigate myself back to my truth but most importantly I always turn to (Cue the violins) LOVE. Soppy, cheesy but true, because my truth is rooted in a complex, unconditional, dark, light and boundless love and I would never give up on that. Its never given up on me.
So to you my reader, if one day you are faced with TBP do whatever it takes. PICK UP the pen, pencil or paintbrush and go buck (As the Americans would say) on that canvas because we all still have the CHOICE to bring colour, light, music, words and LOVE to THE BLANK PAGE that is life.
Maybe this is not so morbid after all…
With Great Love – BusaBuntu
Monday 17th March 2014 21:54:00
Hackney, London, Earth, Milky Way
When I came on board at the Step/Forward production, things had already progressed and were well past the - ‘So, there’s this idea’ - stage. There was a (pretty much) finished script, some of the cast and crew were already in place, and ideas for locations were being thrown around.
So what was my role as producer in this case? It mainly consisted of focusing the organization of the shoot, making sure that we had everything, and keeping our director’s hands free so she could focus on the creative side of things. Finding the right location was the first and most pressing issue, because if your story is great, but your image is boring to look at – you have, I’m afraid, a loser on your hands. Luckily we were, as previously mentioned, attending university and had incredibly generous and all around awesome classmates. Just standing up in front of class one day and telling them of our plight was enough – presto, a fancy apartment in the city was ours for the day. So was a lovely red car that was to make its film debut and looking forward to it greatly (as was its owner – read about his experience here).
As concerning my duties on the day itself, I’d like to quote someone else: ‘It seems that being a producer involves a lot more than sitting in a board room and throwing pencils. These days it also entails: providing lines for the actors; modelling for shots; holding lights; acting as a runner; hauling equipment and baking cookies for catering.’ The catering was the most important part – a well-fed crew and cast is a happy crew and cast.
The next shoot day saw us work in less dismal cold and not well into the night, just into the evening. As we filmed this during winter, we had to use every ounce of sunlight we could – getting there early and working as fast as possible was key. We performed admirably and only forgot the ham we were to have for lunch. The rest went smoothly and I got to mostly watch other people do their work really well. I’m alway in awe of actors, as I can’t act to save my life, but the seamless interaction and teamwork on set among both cast and crew is always a joy to behold. Every set I’m on reaffirms me in my choice of this career.
While everything went smoothly on set, there were some hitches later on …. to be continued!
Switzerland, Europe, The Earth, The Milky Way
Show some love and share with your friends please: Hey, so I’m gonna be one of those people asking for support but if I don’t do it to my friends who can a lady ask for support?
No the heading is not a mistake or a misunderstanding of the original, ‘There is no time like the present. No present like time. And life can be over in the space of a rhyme’ beautifully coined by Georgia Byng, rather, one should perhaps embrace this heading and blog as the evolution of the idea that ones places in time and space can transcends that of time and truly allow it to be the gift Byng suggests it could be. Our placement, however one views or accepts it to be, is driven by imagination and reality all in one go and so in that sense understanding the true beast that is presence remains a complex and colourful journey…for some.
I am, at this juncture, seated in a pub on the periphery of a group of very trendy Hackney residents near London Fields, sipping on some Aspall Suffolk Cider and blocking the sounds of the outside world with Massive Attack’s magnanimous album, Mezzanine. So then these questions pop into my cider cloud aka train of thought: Am I not present because I have opted to only experience the sounds of the pub through my sound blocking earphones? Or am I more present because I remain on the periphery of the ‘vibe’, thus can truly possess an objective position in the atmosphere (Previously called the vibe)?
Further into the cider cloud I find this question awaiting my examination; what is inclusion and is it driven by self or by society? The cloud surrounds me and perhaps surrounds us, because frankly this is not an easy question and I’m hoping for a plethora of rich ideas and responses from…you the reader I suppose.
Having previously worked and written about our work with Le Mot Juste on their play, No Place Like, it was once again brought to my attention that the imagination of our lives can and often supersedes our reality. Is that a sad or profound realisation? I’d opt for profound because well I’m just an optimist.
The power of the story, the power of the unknown gives us the chance to choose whether or not this journey or game that is life is one that is led by fear or fearless and boundless imagination. I choose the latter.
2nd of March 2014 21:29:00
Spurstowe Arms, London Fields, UK, Earth, Milky Way