Popularly known from his acclaimed work with drama hit series "A Lesson Learnt", Danny Wonders is exercising his creative power under his production company Wonder Vision Films.
The webseries of one his first projects as he branches into webseries television. However, he's done short films such as "Lost In The World" (starring CJ Beckford) in addition to a few music videos. It's been hectic couple of years for the creative director and editor since deciding to set up his own company in 2011. So we're very humbled that he was available to take time out of his busy schedule to have an interview with us, as we talk everything from helping sister (Priscilla Owusu) bring her script come to life (she is the screenwriter for the webseries show), John Boyega's success and how he's not waiting on no one to become great.
Plus he gives us an exclusive about "A Lesson Learnt".
Guess he's already a wonder.
1. Hi Danny Wonders! First things first. How did you come up with your name? Are you a man of many wonders in the film industry?
Haaa! Well, they say 'wonders shall never end', so I guess what I'm saying is I don't intend to lose the number one spot when I get there. I will work hard to deliver quality films/projects for people to remember and most importantly be inspired.
2. Loving your show "A Lesson Learnt"! Nice script from Priscilla Owusu with a fresh cast. Please tell us more about it: we'd love to know.
Why thank you! "A Lesson Learnt" focuses on the bad things we humans do on a daily basis; whether to others or with our own behavior that will in turn affect us in the future.
It was a very fun project to shoot - Priscilla happens to be my sister! The youngest in the family. She brought the script to me and I genuinely believed in it; not because she was my family, but I saw myself bringing the vision to life. This being our first web series not many people were open to working with us, so me and Priscilla decided to do everything ourselves. From the directing, writing all the way to the sound and colouring. It was a two person production crew, so the amount of support and positive comments about the show is overwhelming and shows us the hard work didn't go in vain. It taught me you don't need a large team, you just need the right team.
3. You've done music videos for the likes of Flex, Kweezy and a short film called "Lost in the World". So which film directors or even creative directors have influenced your work?
Well first things first, when people ask me "What kind of director are you?" I never have a question, I know I'm creative and I'm a storyteller, and storytelling fits into every field, so I choose not to limit myself, such as "just a music video director".
As for influences, there are no directors that have influenced me. Personally, being a director is showcasing your vision with the ideas you think of yourself or which are presented to you. What I can say is, there are directors who inspire me in terms of their achievements and I intend to meet them at the top. E.g Martin Scorsese, F Gary Gray, Quentin Tarantino and Nabil.
4. Reflecting on the new webseries "A Lesson Learnt", this is a major webshow project.
In terms of finding cast, the process was very easy: as social media is very effective, so once the word of mouth spread, it wasn't difficult. We already had images of who's best suited the characters. We just needed to find the right person to match it. The production process was very interesting, as we faced many obstacles but were able to turn them around last minute. It's the constant self motivation and positive attitude that ensured everything wasn't left finished.
5. The biggest topic of the year and talk right now is John Boyega. Who had progressed from his early days of television and also appeared in films such as "Attack The Block", "Murder" & "Half Of The Yellow Sun" with Chitewel Ejofor and Thandie Newton. Even though the film is now rumoured to be successful with a new chapter of the Star Wars series, speculation has also giving wind to racism with his character. In your thoughts, do you think that there is an issue in regards to the type of Black male that the mainstream is comfortable of seeing. The one that will make you laugh whilst mocking himself, that is weak, scared and dependent under the Western system at same time instead of being a man of power, wealth and influence external from society but more on his own front?
Personally, I don't feel there's any limit for us (Black people). Throughout time Blacks (people) have strived in times of controversy and judgement. They say Black people have to work harder. It seems like Black people have to work harder but that's only because most of the time employers are White, this doesn't mean they're racist, but they may comfortable with their people more. I feel if you come with the right aura and energy towards business, colour goes out the window. It's the same stigma we have against Jews that they're outcasts, but we don't see them complaining about it because they are united. They have each other when it comes to opportunity seeking, but because Black people aren't united, that's the reason (why) we rely on other cultures to employ us/give opportunities.
Opportunity to me comes from yourself, before anyone else. I have to employ myself and get to the top; for the people on top to realise, "Oh, he's not like the others who rely, because while the other guys were making excuses that we're racist, this guy chose to go against all odds. Now he's sitting at our table." No matter your race/religion, success is success, you can't look too deep into newspapers and word of mouth putting down any race because I feel anyone with faith, hard work and consistency, there is no limitation.
6. Since you consider yourself as a creative director:
6.1) Name one movie that you wish you directed.
All my favourite movies wouldn't be my favourite if I didn't like them, so I can only focus on what I direct.
6.2) An artist and the track that you'll love to create a music video for. It can be anyone you want; from mainstream to upcoming.
I would love to shoot videos for Katy Perry, Drake, Stormzy, Pusha T & Future.
6.3) A movie that you wish the whole production, execution and cast should be changed in order to get that Oscar/Golden Globe.
Martin Scorcese's "Wolf Of Wall Street" starring Leonardo DiCaprio (still can't believe he hasn't received an Oscar)!
6.4) Anymore chance of producing more short films for your portfolio? What exclusive ideas do you have up your sleeves for 2016?
They say it's not good to announce your moves before you've made a move; so I guess only time will tell...
6.5) Describe your personality as a blockbuster movie title. Make it good that it'll break the box office.
6.6) Are there any other screenwriters that you'd love to collaborate/work with? Who do you suggest that we should look out for?
Gillian Flynn who was behind "Gone Girl" and Russell Gewirtz who wrote "Inside Man". These may not be the biggest films ever, but the constant twists they had kept me really focused.
6.7) What has been the one revelation that you've found about yourself as a creative director?
That having a simple idea and applying it can change your entire life direction.
7. Is a second season of "A Lesson Learnt" on the cards? How can people subscribe to your channel and be kept updated with new episodes?
"A lesson Learnt" Season 2 will go into pre production and out by the end of this year 2016. To remain updated on Season 1 please subscribe to www.youtube.com/Wondervisionfilms.
8. You can say anything you want.
Thank you guys for approaching me! This will be first of many.