Randy Baker (Digital Calabash) interviews Shakirah Bourne about the screenwriting process and her new film “Payday,” directed by Selwyne Browne. Baker describes Bourne—founder and owner of the website getWrite!—as a talented young writer and entrepreneur from Barbados. As part of the Let’s Do This Filmz production team, Bourne gave Baker the inside scoop on the new film, which will screen at the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) September 17 through October 1, 2013.
Randy Baker: How or why did you venture into screenwriting?
Shakirah Bourne: In 2008, I wanted to do a creative writing course at Barbados Community College, but it was 9 AM on a Saturday morning. Total Error! I found out there was a Screenwriting class at 1 PM, and decided to do it so that I could sleep in on the weekend. Bill Gates said: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Laziness can also lead to unexpected opportunities.
Why Payday? What inspired you to write this particular story? The Director of the movie, Selwyne Browne, approached me and said he wanted me to write a movie. It had to be a comedy, set in one location and easy to film. I also wanted the movie to last over the course of one day, and so I set it in a fictional rural village, Pickletons. I then thought about all of the characters you find in a typical Barbadian community; the local vagrant, the person collecting money for charity, the drug dealer, the Gran of the community etc. Barbadians, in fact, Caribbean people on a whole, are naturally funny. I put together some of the funniest situations I have heard about or encountered, and adapted them to the characters I had created. Thus, the story of Payday was born. [. . .]
One of the most cited obstacles for homegrown films in the Caribbean is overcoming the high costs involved with production. In general terms, how was this challenge met in the production of Payday? The Payday script was created to make the best use of limited resources, as it was set in one primary location. Our motto for this production was “Minimalist Crew, Zero Budget” and we cut costs wherever possible. This would not have been possible without the passion and commitment from everyone involved. People say that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a community to create a movie. The LDTF partners invested their own skills and resources; the cast had the right attitude and was proactive in contributing to other parts of the process, for example, the soundtrack; members of the community itself, Bayfield aka Pickletons became production and prop assistants! Everyone assumed multiple roles, and we could not have anticipated the quantum of energy that would result from the synergies of this team. We truly exemplify the name of our company “Let’s Do This”.
Do you have any specific cinematic influences when it comes to screenwriting, or do you draw on more general literary influences? While there are other writers whose style I admire, both cinematic and literary, it all boils down to telling a good story, and that’s what I aim to do. I could be influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, or an old woman selling vegetables in Bridgetown.
Over the last few years, there seems to be a surge in Caribbean film making efforts. The New Caribbean Cinema collective comes to mind and the acclaimed film Better Mus Come has been generating some buzz on the film festival circuit recently. How do you see Payday and Let’s Do This Filmz in relation to the wider Caribbean film making movement? For years industry activists have been advocating for the support of film in the region, citing statistics and studies on how the film industry is a viable option for economic sustainability. A few films have emerged, but these have taken a significant amount of time to produce along with having massive funding challenges. Let’s Do This Filmz aims to create a Caribbean model for making movies. We first met as a team early March, and shot the movie in one week in April. Payday is our first movie, and we have plans on releasing at least three feature films a year. With this model, we hope that everyone involved in filmmaking; writers, actors, videographers, editors etc. will be able to have a viable, full-time career in their respective fields. Our entire approach is to establish and sustain a growing appetite for local and regional films and culture as a whole. [. . .]
See trailer here:
For full article, see http://digitalcalabash.blogspot.com/2013/05/q-with-shakirah-bourne-we-talk-payday.html
For more on the film, see http://www.paydaymovies.com/