I met Lakeisha Jackson through the social media app Clubhouse. She has produced a sci-fi series “Shiny New Things,” which has more episodes on the way. Of course I am always interested in learning about a filmmaker’s motivation and inspiration for their projects.
Meet Lakeisha Jackson (The interview was conducted in January 2022).
1.Support Our: #creatives: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you got your start in the entertainment industry.
Lakeisha Jackson: Hi, thanks for having me! I’m super excited to be featured in Support our Creatives and appreciate this opportunity. As for how I got started in the industry, it was a culmination of different interests. I was always a writer, and that turned into me wanting to be an aspiring actress, and my interest in all things filmmaking peaked from that point on. This was around the age of 13. I got in tons of trouble in class for writing short stories that featured me and my friends instead of paying attention in class, then that transitioned into me checking out library books on acting and moving to LA, directing, writing…anything I could get my hands on in the school’s library, basically. Ultimately, it took many years for me to figure out that I wanted to do it all and I could, so after being in film school for a bit and having a very interesting dream, I got the inspiration for my current web series, “Shiny New Things.”
2.What disciplines in entertainment are you best known for?
That would be writing, directing, editing, and color grading. All of which I did for this series.
3.What are your favorite genres of filmmaking?
My favorite genres are vast but sci-fi is definitely top of the list followed by thriller, suspense, supernatural, action, drama, see what I mean…I can’t really pin point one direction.
4.What is your definition of independent filmmaking?
That’s a big question. I guess the broadest definition for me would be creating a film or series without Hollywood being involved in any way. That often boils down to way less money, resources, and support as well, so independent filmmaking takes a ton of guts, bravery, vision, and perseverance. If you’re lacking in any of that or are approaching this with celebrity viral sensation goals you’re gonna be very disappointed early on. Do it for the passion and everything else will eventually follow.
5.What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent filmmaker?
I guess I answered that a bit in the question before if you want to be technical. It can be very hard to pull together a production when your resources are limited. Without Hollywood’s money and influence, you’re left doing things all on your own. You have to network harder and hope there’s a hub close enough to you to find like-minded people to connect with. With Hollywood, you may not be as hands-on or involved as you want to be at all depending on what you’re doing, so having clear goals early can help you navigate what you want to do and how you want to go about it. That’s in any field. What makes it different in creative avenues is when the people around you are as passionate about their part of the craft that it helps alleviate a lot of your own anxieties or imposter syndrome thoughts. So, I guess in a way there is no one answer to either advantage or disadvantage. You kind of have to get your hands dirty and invite people to play in the “creative sandbox” with you. See who’s serious, who’s not, and then make something. Anything. Then you can look back and weigh what your experience looked like for you and how you want to move differently in the future.
6.What are the challenges of producing a project in the area where you live versus a major media center?
The biggest challenge is finding people who actually want to do the work. In my area, there are tons of pontificators who love to meet and talk and drink coffee and dream. But not a lot of actual work gets done. What I’ve noticed about bigger centers like Atlanta or LA, is that there are a lot of people willing to do the work which is awesome, but they too have some of the same issues with people actually doing what they claim they can, and being loyal to a project. At the end of the day, take your time vetting people before you agree to do anything. Check out their past work if they have any and if not just spend some time getting to know them as a person. Build a relationship. This isn’t just all about what someone can do for you or vice versa. It wouldn’t matter if a person had the latest Alexa camera and lens package on the planet if they were difficult to work with or didn’t know how to use the equipment. Plus, no one wants to feel used so make sure you like someone especially in independent projects that don’t have a lot of money to throw around.
7.Tell us about your company Golden Hour Films, LLC. What type of media do you specialize in? Do you produce just your own projects or do you also produce the works of other screenwriters.
Golden Hour Films specializes in independent film and TV-series with strong minority female leads. I only produce my own projects in the meantime but I do have plans to expand into novel to film adaptations in the near future.
8.I know our readers would want to know about your series which is available now, “Shiny New Things.” What is its genre and what is it about?
“Shiny New Things” is a sci-fi action drama set in the near future, where a new government order has divided society, where poorer people find macabre work portraying the dead loved ones of uber-rich people. The series uniquely explores power, vengeance, and sacrifice in an uncertain future.
8a.What inspired you to make it?
It came from a weird dream I had where these uber-rich people lived in sectors of a post-apocalyptic city that overlooked a poorer sector. They employed these poor people to play loved ones they had lost in a war, and these people weren’t exactly treated nice or fairly.
There are a ton of details I can’t reveal yet because I’d like to reveal that in a season 2, lol, but the person in my dream had escaped his employer and was beaten physically and emotionally. He was frantically repeating the phrase, “We’re just their Shiny New Things.” It was so vivid! I can still see the fear in his eyes, hear the brokenness of his voice, and it stuck with me. I can still hear that voice when I think about it. It was jarring, and so I had to write it down and make sense of it somehow.
8b.Where can our readers view it?
The first episode will premiere free on The Fantasy Network on January 22, 2022. After that, each Saturday night at 8pm, a new episode will drop until Feb 26, 2022 but you’ll need to subscribe to the streamer to watch. I really hope you do because you’ll be in for a wild ride!
8c.Do you have any plans to come out with additional episodes?
This first season is done and there are plans for three additional seasons if there is an audience for it.
8d.Please provide highlights of the process you went through to get this made and distributed.
The process to get this series made is very extensive and will be spelled out in an upcoming book I’m currently writing for other indie filmmakers soon. But to boil it down it took a community of family, friends, and strangers who I consider angels…just a ton of resources and passionate people who saw my vision and jumped in headfirst with me. Once the first few episodes were done, I reached out to TFN (The Fantasy Network) after having watched another series, “Ren: The Girl With The Mark.” It was and is an incredibly made web series done by Kate Madison in the UK, the lead of which has since gone on to star in the Starz TV show “Outlander.” I simply emailed the head of the network about my project and talked to him about it. Without having watched one second of the show he accepted my show based on my concept alone (they don’t accept everyone) and I was elated, shocked, and felt so grateful. Ben Dobyns, who is now the former CEO of TFN, took a chance on me, stands in his truth about so many worthy filmmakers and causes and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the TFN family.
9.What do you want to tell our readers that will inspire them?
Don’t give up. There will be days that are easier than others and then there will be days that seem impossible. It will feel like everything is against you, but use that force to push back. Know that whatever seems to be trying to hold you back, is doing so because success is on the horizon. If this is your passion, do everything in your power to learn and study all you can, and then go out and start making something. Grab a friend, grab a cell phone, film some birds, trees, whatever. Grab free stock music and start experimenting. You don’t have to have it all figured out right away.
10.How can we get in touch with you?
Page: Shiny New Things
Group: Sector 1259: A Shiny New Things Fan Group
TWITTER: Shiny New Things Webseries
SHOW: Shiny New Things TV
COMPANY: Golden Hour Films
PERSONAL: Lakeisha Jackson
Wow! Lakeisha Jackson’s inspiration for “Shiny New Things” came from a dream, so vivid that she had to write it down. I love this quote she cited: “We’re just their Shiny New Things.” I have seen some of the episodes and I am so impressed by the intricate story lines. So please check out the episodes on The Fantasy Network.
Creatives out there, if you want me to interview you, please contact me. This will give you exposure to an audience in my “circle,” that you may not have reached before.
To my readers, please provide feedback or questions in the Comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. And let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover.
Disclaimer: The author is not being financially compensated by anyone associated with any project mentioned, for this post.
The interview was edited for readability and formatting.
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