Dr. hc. Sheldon Woodson Sr. | Interview

RSTMPA: What initially drew you to filmmaking?

Sheldon: I started as an artist, drawing portraits and writing comics using pictures without words, then writing the words later. After seeing how storyboards made movies what they were. I decided to throw my hat in the ring.


RSTMPA: Who are your filmmaking influences, and how do they inspire your work?

Sheldon: Initially, Spike Lee, seeing that a person of color was making films at a high level, intrigued me. Later, the rise of Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriquez, John Singleton, and James Cameron made very low-budget films that garnered big-budget attention. It earned them a career. I’m looking to achieve the same thing.


RSTMPA: What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an independent filmmaker?

Sheldon: The three significant challenges are money, commitment outside of me, and the marketing aspect of filmmaking. Not having a big enough budget to hire the actors I want and need for the roles I write makes filmmaking a chore. Most of the cast and crew I work with have no experience in filmmaking, which causes me to put on multiple hats, making it difficult for me to focus on one thing. Also, with most of my team being friends, family, and first-timers, the commitment is not there, and a lot of times, I can see in the work forcing me to accept what I get.


RSTMPA: What advice do you have for aspiring independent filmmakers on building a strong crew? 

Sheldon: Find people passionate about what they do and who will do it for free. I write, film, and release films. That’s my favorite pastime, much like people who watch sports all day. You get nothing from watching a game or a show but enjoyment. I get that from writing, filming, and releasing films. My hope is to make money to sustain my life while working on my passion and purpose. Finding people like that with the same life purpose will help streamline your productions.


RSTMPA: What strategies do you use to get your films seen by a wider audience? 

Sheldon: My movies go to the big ten film festivals,  assuming they’re within the range of my planned submission to streaming channels. I also submit to ten mid-level film festivals and a few minors to win laurels. Afterward, I will post on all social media platforms and conduct an interview campaign.


RSTMPA: What are your thoughts on the future of independent cinema in the digital age? 

Sheldon: Staying close to technology to help with the quality of a film is spectacular. It’ll give the authentic original concept film artist the ability to create without all the red tape of multiple middlemen. Eventually, technology will allow one person to do everything, like a painter painting a picture. Everything you see will come from this one person, unadulterated. It’ll also make collaboration more accessible, faster, and better.


RSTMPA: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your winning film?

Sheldon: I’ve always believed that the soul is the real you. The spirit is the cord that powers you, and the body is your VESSEL. There are people who believe they were put in the wrong body or a bad body that is not fit for what they want to do in life instead of augmenting their body or waiting to be reborn again to start over. You get to use a body, much like a car, to do what you want.


RSTMPA: Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited to work on?

Sheldon: I’m currently working on “The Creaks.” It follows a young lady with personal problems who works to create balance by managing positive and negative energy and fighting for dominance.  It’s cerebral and a bit difficult to explain in a sentence, but once complete, it will change the mind and think of thoughts.


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