A conversation between Cinema Femme founder Rebecca Martin and filmmaker Tiffany Addison

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FROM ACTOR TO FILMMAKER

TIFFANY ADDISON: I have been in the industry for quite some time, I would say literally over sixteen or seventeen years. I’ve made a lot of headway as an actor. I’m working onstage, doing voice-overs, doing commercials, TV, film. I’ve had the ability and the opportunity to do something in all of these areas. After all of this time, I’ve started to think about my career, where my career is going. . . . A friend of mine suggested I write something. There’s a whole other side to it when you’re behind-the-scenes. I have a view on the business in both perspectives. So I go in, I tackle it, I try to write a short film, which would be called “Road to Freedom” (2017).

I thought it would be OK, but at that time I didn’t know anything about writing, so I met a guy by the name of Mark Harris. He mentored me in writing a script, fleshing out concepts, and learning how to create a full script. I worked with him for two years, then I took it upon myself to write a short film called “Road to Freedom,” and after that I wrote a feature film (“Nothing Like Thanksgiving” (2018)).

SHORT AND FEATURE

REBECCA MARTIN: Can you tell me what “Road to Freedom” (2017) and “Nothing Like Thanksgiving” (2018) is about? What influenced you?

ADDISON: “Road to Freedom” is about forgiveness. It’s a close depiction of my life. When I think of my relationship to my father, it was sort of an estranged relationship. We were in each others’ lives, but we did not really have a strong relationship. The story is about a girl named Rachel who has been proposed to, and in the midst of her making a decision, before giving her answer, time kind of stops; she does this evaluation. You see, in her hands, of what takes place before she gives her answer. Once she gets to this conclusion, it was more of, “I need to check myself, to see where I am, if I should be saying yes or no.”

She does check herself, does a wide sweep on her life, from a child, to a teenager, to an adult. It takes her a full circle around to that moment, then she gives her answer.

MARTIN: That sounds really interesting; I really want to see it. Can I find it online?

ADDISON: Not currently, since it’s being submitted at film festivals. It has done very well. It was in a couple different film festivals; it went to Cape Town, South Africa.

MARTIN: Wow, that’s awesome!

ADDISON: Yeah, I’m pretty proud of what “Road to Freedom” has done. We shot that in April 2017, a one-day shoot at one location. I funded the entire project. Then I just had a couple of people that came on, people that invested in me. It just turned out to be an amazing project that I’m very proud of.

MARTIN: That’s amazing. Congrats!

ADDISON: I had my mentor, Mark Harris, who also produced the film with me. He was alongside assisting me during this process to make sure I was making the right decisions. In October 2017, I decided I wanted to shoot a feature. We got the script together. It was originally called “Nothing Like Family,” but now the title is “Nothing Like Thanksgiving.” It’s so amazing, Rebecca, because I literally was in the process from the very beginning: having an idea, putting it on paper, securing investors, going to meetings. Once the funds were secure, we moved on to preproduction and hired everybody. My mentor (Mark Harris) was the director of this film, and I coproduced it with him and starred in the film. “Nothing Like Thanksgiving” will air on Thanksgiving of this year on Urban Movie Channel.

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

ADDISON: The one thing that I encourage individuals to do, in all your getting, or in my getting, get understanding. In all the getting that your getting, get your understanding, because being able to understand what you do, there’s a level of respect that comes with research and understanding the act before jumping in, because it looks easy. You’ll get around making a lot of mistakes and a lot of errors. Throughout my process, there were a lot of decisions that were made that I know if I knew about the first time around, I would have been that much more sharp. If I had done some research.

MARTIN: Well now you know and are ready. You can keep going and going…

ADDISON: Absolutely. I wouldn’t have trade this experience for the world, but I do believe get understanding of what you’re doing, and then one thing that is key is to find someone to serve. We’re always ready to just get into that position; we haven’t put any legwork in. Find someone that does what you do, and absorb like crazy. Sit under them, learn. Because then you’ll be that much more well-rounded and able to execute the vision that you have.

MARTIN: Thank you for doing this interview. You are very inspiring and look forward to sharing your story with our readers.

ADDISON: Thank you so much. It’s an honor.

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