Exclusive Interview with Filmmaker & Screenwriter – Vashmere Valentine
Vashmere Valentine is credited for his contributions teaching film and screenwriting to inner city students with the Big Picture Alliance in Philadelphia, PA. At the age of twenty, Vashmere Valentine began a successful acting career making appearances on popular shows like Law and Order, MTV, and a series of independent films and commercials. After a successful acting career, Vashmere returned to his love for writing & directing film and since then has continued to impress the film industry with his unique vision to storytelling. “My desire as a filmmaker is to create new content that will strike a chord with my audience, and to create unforgettable characters that will remain within their hearts for years to come.” Vashmere Valentine works as head writer & film director at Good Screenplays, a screenwriting company specializing in high concepts for remakes and original works, and resides in Atlanta GA. His current projects include a fantasy short titled “The Wish & The Wisp” and his anticipated feature horror film titled “The Death App.” – IMDb.
What’s your name and where are you from? My name is Vashmere Valentine and I was born and raised in the city of brotherly love Philadelphia.
Current title/company? What’s your motto? I’m currently working with the team at Good Screenplays as their film director and creative entertainment consultant. My motto for film has always been, “don’t let your budget be your block.”
You’re a screenwriter, film & TV director, creative consultant and a music video director. Tell us a little bit about your background.
My career began in the industry as a script reader reading several screenplays a day. My knowIege from reading those screenplays lead me to work as a creative consulant where I worked on various films both independent and professionaly. When I wasn’t consultanting, I was rewriting screenplays, and after receiving advice from a friend, I decided to attened film school to study and master the art of directing.
My ComeUp Story
What initially drew you to the medium of film? Ever since I was a child I was always drawn to the idea of film. I can remember me and my brother trying to create our own films using our toys, recreating everything from fight scenes to fast paced car chases. We wanted to feel like we were creating true films.
Growing up, what movies or stories inspired your creative passion? I was an 80’s baby so I would definitely have to say that most of the films I grew up watching during that time influenced me as a filmmaker. Films like, “The Never Ending Story,” “The Goonies,” “Dutch,” and “Edward Scissor hands” helped shape the fantasy storyteller in me.
We know you have major links to the creative industries. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them how you fit into the big world of Film, TV, Music, & screenwriting? How did the journey get started? One thing in the industry I’m best known for is working as creative consultant. When I first began pursuing the position professionally I had to fully understand what made things work. What was in a TV series or a blockbuster movie that made it popular was my main focus. For months I studied any and everything that was popular from TV series to commercials. Studying the characters, the concept, everything! I needed to know why it worked and why others didn’t work before I could begin giving advice professionally.
How did you start believing in your own work? What made you really to want launch and to carve a career out of the “Screen”? I think what truly made me begin to believe in my own work was when I noticed that I would create a film or TV series, put it away for years, and see it later on the big screen or TV. That showed me that I had a leg up on the industry. I could see that I could predict trends and forecast what movies and TV shows audience members wanted to see. I still do that till this day.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started out? Study, study, study!!! Know your craft inside and out! My mentor always taught me to know your job and do your job!
Breaking into the creative film/TV/Music industry isn’t an easy feat. What advice would you give young people looking to form their own companies? Marketing tips? If you’re looking to get into the film industry, know what you love about it and stick to it! You could want to be a camera man, or a director or photography, or even a director, just know what you love, find a passion for it, and learn everything you can about it.
Do you recall any embarrassing moments you had during your come up? A few, but I think I’ll take them to the grave with me.
My Daily Behind the Scenes
What is your typical weekday and weekend like? What do you do when not working? During the weekday, I’m usually reviewing projects. These can range from TV pilots, to film treatments, or products to be used in commercials for ads. Every now and then I’ll receive music to write music videos treatments for. When I’m done with all that work, my next hours are spent writing and reviewing my own screenplays. When I’m not focused on film I usually spend my time shooting photography. As for my weekends, most of them are spent directing or catching up with with friends and family I haven’t seen.
Where do you find your inspiration? I find most of my inspiration comes from films of the past. There’s just something about black and white films I find so interesting. There’s so much knowledge and hidden gems to find when you just sit back and enjoy one of the great oldies.
Tell us about your latest upcoming horror film projects set for 2018? “Monster Con” is my passion project. It’s a film I’ve been working on for years now and I’m over excited to see it come to life. I really feel like monster and horror fans alike have been waiting for a film that truly shows monsters in a positive way that comic book fans have been seeing their favorite characters lately.
What songs do you listen to that psyches you up and makes you feel strong? I really enjoy listening to instrumentals. My favorite artists are 9th wonder and a very talented artist named Sinitus Tempo. Their music is amazing and really gets me psyched up to write for hours.
What is one thing you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively? I watch a lot of cartoons. Believe it or not, cartoons are an amazing source for ideas creatively.
For an unknown writer, what is the best way to get their screenplay seen? The best way for a new writer to get your work seen is to definitely enter it into a screenwriting competition. I know that doesn’t seem exciting but it’s the best way to an honest opinion on your work. It also will open up the doors you need to get your work seen by the professional world.
What experiences from your life influence your characters? A lot of my experiences in life helped shape the characters in both my films and stories. I’ve always felt the best characters are people that we can relate to, people that we feel like we know. Whenever I meet someone interesting, I always take down notes about them to use later in my works. Life always has the best characters.
How emotionally involved are you with the characters you create? Very! When you create a film you become invested in all aspects of it. My mentor best said it when he used a baby to explain how deeply connected a director becomes with his film. You create it, you nurture it, you love it, and you protect it.
How did your education and experiences in school and beyond lead you to the role in which you are working today? My education played a huge role in my film career. College is where I met my mentor Jason Rodgers and honed my skills. It was his love for film and his persistence that helped me become the filmmaker I am today.
What would you like to achieve before the end of 2018? I would love to go into production for “Monster Con” before the end of 2018 and begin working on several TV projects I think would be perfect for networks like Netflix and Hulu.
What is the most meaningful project you have done? What would your dream project be? The most meaningful project I’ve ever created so far has been “The Wish and The Wisp.” That project was more than just a short film. TW & TW was hope! It was an inspiration to all the students that helped me work on that project. We didn’t have a big budget like most schools or fancy equipment. So we took risks, we put everything we had on the table and made a wish.
What’s one dream you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of and why? Being here has been a real dream come true. Even this interview is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to share my stories and ideas with the world. To be someone who’s work makes them worthy of being interviewed is a dream I believe everyone has. So, to be honest with you right now, I am living the dream with you.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your teenage self? I would tell my younger self to stress less and enjoy life more.
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