TANYA: I started out in the business acting in the early 90s doing background roles in NY Undercover on FOX and other TV shows…then life happened, I got married, had a baby so I left the business and got a job as a Director of Finance, Operations & Special Events for the National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences (also known as “The Daytime Emmy Awards). In 2006 I decided to return to the business, when I booked my first feature film as a principal actor. I’ve been acting ever since. In 2009, I got frustrated with the lack of available roles for women like me so I decided to take my destiny in my own hands by producing my own projects. With my experience in acting and my background in finance it gave me the confidence to try my hand at producing. When other Directors found out that I produced films, they reached out to me to help them produce theirs as well.
TANYA: Most of the films I’ve produced have been funded by the production company putting out the film that I’m producing. Each project is a case by case scenario. There are so many avenues I’ve seen the various Directors I’ve worked with raise funds from crowdfunding, to cashing out real estate properties, to securing an investor, to pulling the money from their own pockets. When you don’t have a big studio backing you, you have to be resourceful. Most people won’t invest in you, unless they see you have invested in yourself. You have to be willing to make financial sacrifices in order to get your project out there otherwise you will be waiting forever for someone to come along and invest in you. Once you have a few projects under your belt and have built a track record of putting out films that are successful in terms of turning a profit, then it becomes a little easier to approach an investor to back you on your future projects.
TANYA: This latest project that I produced “The1Closest2U” was written and directed by Willie Coggins of Official IC Entertainment. He approached me with the script and I immediately fell in love with the story. Not only did I produce the film, I starred in it as well.
WENDY’S QUESTION: How did you put your team together and find other passionate people to work with?
TANYA: My current team, “Official IC Entertainment” came kind of as a package deal when I signed on to produce “The1Closest2U”. We all had an IMMEDIATE connection and I really feel like it was ordained. We all work so well together and everyone knows their role and does a fantastic job. I have never worked with such an amazing, humble, dedicated, driven bunch of people. We are all passionate about the work and see the long-term vision of where we all want to go careerwise. We work hard AND smart so that we can achieve that all together.
WENDY’S QUESTION: What was the most challenging part of this process?
TANYA: The most challenging part of the process I think is all of us wearing multiple hats and having to get projects done on a limited budget in a limited amount of time. You have to be so creative with your choice of locations, talent, etc. However, the team I’m working with (Official IC Entertainment) is so resourceful that even this minor challenge we were able to overcome and get everything we needed done for the film. The film looks authentic and it was well received by the distribution company that picked us up.
TANYA: My advice would be to DO IT! A lot of times we talk ourselves out of the process because we think of all the things that can go wrong or all the resources we don’t have. I encourage filmmakers to sit down and write a list of all the resources you DO have. You’d be surprised at how many things you have within your reach to cut a few corners and save you money during the production process. I would also encourage filmmakers to work on having the best production value they can as this is something distributors look at, especially if you are looking for a theatrical/broadcast deal. If you can secure at least 3 “named talent” in your film, that will make you super attractive to the distribution companies as having recognizable faces makes it an easier sell for them. Be sure to build a good strong team of passionate, dedicated, humble people who share your same vision and who have a similar work ethic. That will take you a long way. You’re only as strong as your weakest link and you can’t do it all on your own so you need to have your “soldiers” with you that can help you execute your vision. Last but not least, DON’T GIVE UP, even when the challenges come…because they will. If you take 2 steps, God will help you take the 3rd and beyond. HE will send people your way to help you bring your vision to life. Do the work and give him something to bless and trust me, HE will.
TANYA: My favorite part of making this film was the deep relationships I have built with the cast and crew. We literally consider ourselves family because we not only enjoy working together, we just enjoy spending time together as friends. This particular film “The1Closest2U” was filmed on a gorgeous lakehouse in Stratford, CT. We spent a week there filming and it was like a beautiful vacation getaway. We filmed for hours but we didn’t even feel it because we had so much fun on set creating together. It was such an amazing time with some amazing people.
TANYA: Absolutely. I’ll be starring in and producing films until I’m old and gray…and even then I will probably still continue. This is my passion and I love every bit of the process….the highs, the lows.. I love it all!
TANYA: They can like our official FB fan page and follow our Twitter and IG pages under @The1Closest2U.
For those who want to follow my work:
TANYA: Thank you so much for the opportunity!