Interview with Besidone Atsemudiara

Besidone Atsemudiara_indieactivity

“Besidone Atsemudiara is a producer, editor, as well as a writer and director. Originally from southern Nigeria, she moved to the USA some years ago to focus on her career in the entertainment industry. Some of the shorts she has produced and edited have been official selections and screened at festivals such as the Burbank International Film Festival and the Roxbury International Film Festival.

indieactivity: Did you study what you do?
Besidone: I did.

indieactivity: Tell us about the work you have produced and edited?
Besidone: I have produced multiple short films and have also worked as an associate producer on over two dozen episodes of a Talk show called the Red Booth, where we interview actors, directors, musicians and different other people involved in the entertainment industry. The show currently airs nationally on Youtoo America, Saturday at midnight and is also available for streaming on Amazon Prime. I also worked there as an editor for a few episodes.

Every now and then, I come on board to edit projects that I produce. For example, Headmaster, a short film directed by Debo Johnson was produced and edited by me; and last year, it screened at several film festivals, one of which was the Burbank International Film Festival. It’s a film that touches on gentrification and the impact it can have on small-scale family owned businesses that have been around for a long time.

Some of my more recent works as a producer include the dramedy, Highland Cafe, here’s a fun fact about it, our primary location was literally right by one of the locations used for a shoot-out scene in Reservoir Dogs. Anyway, South of Etham: Onarion is also another short film that was produced by me. This one is an action-adventure, with elements of drama infused in it. I love drama a lot, so most, if not all of the work I’ve produced has drama in it. But for my work as an editor, I am currently on a new project that tackles generational spousal abuse, I am almost done with cutting it and you can be sure to hear more about it later this year.

indieactivity: Do you take courses to improve your craft?
Besidone: Currently, I am not taking any courses; but, in the past I have and I am planning on taking some more in the future.

indieactivity: How do you combine producing and editing?
Besidone: In the past, it was quite tough for me to combine the two, mostly because of the amount of time and work that each requires. I would be editing a project while simultaneously producing an entirely different one as well as doing other things, so it was hard to manage and there were times where I hardly got any sleep because of my workload and I would just work myself to the point of exhaustion. But now, I am getting better at balancing everything, I try to make it work by being very wise with the amount of projects I agree to put on my plate at any given time. I want to be around for long, in this industry, so I can keep doing good and valuable work, so right now, I’m all about quality over quantity.

Besidone Atsemudiara_indieactivity

Besidone Atsemudiara onset

indieactivity: How did you get into the film business?
Besidone: Through the network I built while at film school; with my peers, with my instructors, with everyone. Those relationships opened lots of doors for me and helped pave the way for the work I do now.

indieactivity: How do you turn an idea into a screenplay?
Besidone: When I take time off to focus on writing, I usually ensure that first and foremost, my idea is worth turning into a screenplay. Then I expand on that idea in my head and on paper to get a sense of how far the idea can travel; how it will develop into the beginning, middle and end of a story. Quite a good number of my ideas are about real people that have lived and died or that are still alive, so usually I would carry out my research until I feel comfortable enough with the information I have gathered, to then sit down and create a rough outline. But even when I am writing something that’s entirely original, I still carry out the needed research and then do a rough outline, I may decide to do a treatment or I may decide to just go straight into writing the screenplay with my outline as my guide, it depends.

indieactivity: What writing tip or idea can you give young writers?
Besidone: I would say, read a lot, of screenplays, books, poetry, whatever. A writer should be a reader. Study your environment, study how humans interact, we are all alike, but yet there are still differences; so, study how different sets of people behave in real life situations. Keep that in your head for when you write; and write. The more you write, hopefully the better you will get.

Besidone Atsemudiara_indieactivity

Besidone Atsemudiara onset

indieactivity: What is is like working in the Hollywood system?
Besidone: It’s interesting working in the Hollywood system. It has helped to make me more of a tenacious human being, for sure; failure is part of the system, and I have had my share and I am sure I will have more in the future, but at the same time, I have had successes. I know where I am going, and what kind of work I want to do, so I always try to keep my eyes on the prize and not let the failures keep me down.

indieactivity: What do you want to be remembered for?
Besidone: I want to be remembered as a filmmaker whose work gave hope to people; made them think, made them want to work just a little harder, provoked them to love, to kindness, to courage. I know it’s just film and some people might think it’s not that deep, but to me, it is.

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