You’re one of the youngest directors at Skeem Saam. How did that come about, how did that journey begin?
(Laughs) Not to sound arrogant or ahead of myself, but directing chose me. My passion was in theatre and expressing myself through acting which began in 1999. In 2003 I entered the Multichoice Vuka Awards, a competition for young industry. At the time, I was still hustling, selling stuff in the train in order to make money for myself. So, an opportunity like this one was God-sent. In the end, I was the overall winner out of 150 participants. I feel that was the moment that made me believe in my directing talents. Another very influential person who gave me a chance to learn by mentoring me is Pieter Grobler. He allowed me to direct some of the scenes of the SAFTA winning drama story “Death of a Queen”. I will forever be grateful for the faith he had in me.
What is the duty of a director on a soapie set?
A director has a huge amount of responsibility on set, not only because of his/her directing duties; but you also need to be a leader, and lead the team to achieving the director’s vision of the story. The director also has to be able to assist with other problems that could arise in other departments, problems that could potentially interrupt the production process. The main job of a director is to interpret the script into visuals, while also making sure you don’t tell an unintended story. The director soapie format is such that when I have completed my block (directing week), another director will come in and take over the story. The idea is that we are all on the same page and relate the same story coherently.
What are some of the memorable projects you worked on?
I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have worked with many different projects and learned from very talented directors both locally and internationally. Some of the shows that come to mind are the film Drum (2004), with Taye Diggs; Long Walk to Freedom (with Idris Elba), Incredible Hulk and many others.
Is it true that the directors are the loudest on set?
(Laughs) Even though we sometimes are, that is not our duty. The loudest person on set should be the first assistant director as he is supposed to relay the director’s vision to the rest of the crew members. The only communication the director should have is with the talent when directing them on playing out a scene. So we really shouldn’t be the loudest, but emotion and passion sometimes takes over when doing what you love.
What should a young ambitious film maker do in order to be a director of a big soapie/film one day?
Young people should be prepared for a long road of learning and hustling. It’s never easy making it in the industry and you must be willing to pay your dues. People wanting to take short cuts in the industry will be caught out in the quality of work they present. It’s vital that you try work in every department on set, from pre-production, production and post-production. A director’s job doesn’t end with him calling camera shots on set, a director should have a full picture of what’s happening in the whole production as he also has the duty to stay on budget.
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