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Interview with film producer Samantha Mauney

Our guest today is Samantha Mauney, a film producer from Ohio. She's an African American indie producer creating a film about an interracial couple who get fed up with their marriage, seek out affairs online--and accidentally end up dating each other. We have conducted an interview with her.



We've heard you're working on a really interesting film about a married interracial couple who accidentally end up having an online affair with each other. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Sure! We’ve got a successful, smart Black businesswoman married to a laid-back Korean artist who’s down on his luck and not doing anything about it. As with many marriages, the opposites that originally attracted sour over time. She forgets his creativity and gets tired of his laziness; he forgets her wit and gets tired of her uptightness. So they both look online for affairs. The internet matches them with each other, and it’s all antics from there.

What kind of creative production techniques will you use to flesh out this concept? Feel free to ramble about anything you're excited about trying with this movie!
Right now we’re scouting locations and working with a very talented storyboard artist, which has helped me verbalize how I want this film to look.

Creatively, I’m excited to shoot a film that’s set in Cleveland and show it as a city that’s alive and beautiful. We need more films that expose different elements of the city instead of just calling it “New York” or “Metropolis” (Did you know they filmed part of Batman vs. Superman here?). I can’t wait to make use of our unique locations like the Lake Erie.

I think the most interesting aspect of this project is the message. The journey of our two main characters is something that hasn’t been shown in film before, and that’s also a creative challenge to bring to life.

How long will you take to produce this film?
We’ve planned for a little under two years, which means we want to shoot in summer 2018. We’ll crowdfund in March of 2017 and spend the rest of the year securing additional funds if necessary. We talked a lot about shooting in summer 2017 instead, and it’s still a possibility, but we both felt that two years was a great amount of time to make sure that we could secure the most resources and really nail things like securing great locations and dynamic talent.

What is the most challenging aspect of representation in romantic films?
The most challenging aspect of making a romantic film that’s ethnically diverse is that you’re giving people something that they’ve never seen before. For many people, that’s an immediate draw, but for others it can be a turn off. That’s unfortunate because I think the film’s themes and message are so important.

There was a long stretch of time in romantic comedies where people were telling the same stories with the same characters, which made some people tired of the genre. So now to make a decent film, because the meet-cute story line has been done to death, you have to present audiences with something fresh. But at the same time, I think people tend to judge actors of color more on their aesthetic than their performance or their role, so minority characters in romance movies have to be much more vivid and interesting than their white counterparts.

How have your experiences as an African American woman informed your production style, and your view of romantic film in general?
I don’t see myself as a Black, female producer, but just as a producer. If I was more involved in the industry I’m sure the markedness of my gender and ethnicity would be a bigger issue. That’s why I’m happy that Jen, my screenwriter, believed in my ability to bring her characters to life and that we didn’t go the traditional route of trying to get the story optioned by a larger studio. Jen came to me with a great story, and I said “let’s make this.” I never asked for anyone’s permission, nor did I have to explain to anyone why a film with this kind of representation is so important.

As we’re trying to market and sell the movie, this will become more important, but as far as production is concerned, it’s remarkably easy to find people who are interested in good stories with characters they haven’t seen before.

Which kind of characters and films have you worked with in the past?
I experimented with horror when I was in undergrad, but I haven’t considered myself tied to a genre since then. My approach to filmmaking has been to get on as many sets as my grad student life allows in whatever capacity people will let me. Sometimes I’m an audio supervisor, an assistant director, production coordinator, a consultant, or a production assistant. I also love to work as an extra to see how directors communicate with talent (because being background talent is much less stressful than being crew).

What do you enjoy most about being a film producer?
I most enjoy seeing the fruits of being well organized. Growing up and even through college, I played in a lot of musical ensembles. In another life I would have loved to be a conductor or composer. A composer is inspired by something (a great screenplay in this metaphor) internally or in nature, and seeks communicate it through music. She considers all of the pieces that will comprise her piece and sets them into motion. That’s what stage we’re in now. Everything is still abstract, like notes on a staff, but it will come together in a very tangible way down the line. The composer is a planner, and she knows that a conductor will take that work and bring it to life for a performance.

Some people might think that the writer should be the composer in that metaphor, but I think a great screenplay is a bit more ethereal than that. Great stories are connected to some intangible part of our humanity. Great writers, like Jen Finelli, are able to tap into that. So, I suppose my absolute favorite part of this is being able to recognize that a story is exposing something real about the human experience and playing a part in making it a reality.

Any final things we should know about you and your project moving forward?
We’re really excited to move forward with the project, and we’re hoping inspire other filmmakers and writers along the way. Please check out our website at mysweetaffair.com--we’ll have free goodies for filmmakers, writers, and fans up soon. There you can follow our blog, or check out our twitter, @affair_movie.

More info:
Film website: http://mysweetaffair.com
Film twitter: http://www.twitter.com/affair_movie
Sam's website: www.samanthamauney.com
Sam's Stage32: https://www.stage32.com/samaiken
Sam's twitter: https://twitter.com/samanthamauney


Interview with film producer Samantha Mauney Reviewed by My Blogger Profile on 8:48:00 AM Rating: 5
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