Creative Producing, MFA
My name is Themba and I’m a 2nd year student in Columbia’s Creative Producing, MFA program.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE YOU CAME TO COLUMBIA.
Before Columbia, I graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications at Lee University, located in Cleveland, Tennessee. Just before graduation I had the chance to be a production assistant with the National Geographic Channel for a special mini series that they were producing which gave me my first experience on a professional working set. Once I got my diploma, I moved to Orlando, Florida to begin my career, it was tough but eventually I landed internships and apprenticeships in cinematography & editing. After a year in Orlando, I landed my first full time job in Kansas City, Missiouri as a lead editor for a production company that specializes in webisodes. While in KC, my mantra became “9am-5pm I create THEIR dreams, but 5pm-9am, I create MY dreams”. As soon as I clocked out, I was heavily involved within the art community and collaborated with various artists, producing/shooting/editing/coloring short films and music videos.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE COLUMBIA FOR YOUR GRADUATE STUDY?
I chose Columbia because I was very attracted to the idea of becoming a producer for narrative storytelling. Producing is like being a composer of an orchestra. Composers have a strong understanding of each instrument, and I believe producing is the same, you must understand each department you’re overseeing to be able to properly tell the story. I believed Columbia had the right balance of creative and entrepreneurial courses that will enable their students to know how to balance artistic integrity with business affairs. I came to visit the school during open house, and I was convinced that this was the school for me. Plus, having Chicago as a backdrop for your stories, is BREATHTAKING!
TELL US ABOUT A PROJECT YOU’RE WORKING ON THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT.
Currently I’m collaborating with MFA writer/director Carlos Prias on an adaptation entitled ‘We Are Almost There’(2016). Its an adaptation of a published short story written by Lashielah Flowers. We began developing the story in October 2014 once we obtained the film rights. It’s been exciting because it gave me my first chance to crowdsource via social media, and we finished principal photography in May 2015. Currently it is in post production and we are looking for a Winter 2015 release. This short film is a dramatic civil rights thriller set in 1931, and our main protagonist, Charlie, has his morals challenged when he gets pulled over by a policemen, while journeying to Atlantic city with his girlfriend and younger sister. It’s been a roller coaster of an experience just because it’s a period piece, and we have two 1930 Ford Model A cars that were featured in ‘Road to Perdition’ (2002) and ‘Public Enemy’ (2009).