Alex is a director and actor, known for The Solution. Earlier this year Kayode-Kay was nominated for the prestigious Edinburgh TV Festival’s New Voice Test Card Pilot Award, (previous winners include Sebastian Thiel (creator of BBC 3’s Just A Couple) and Michaela Cole (creator of Channel 4’s Chewing Gum).
Alt. Tell us how you got started out in film?
I always loved films growing up, so it was natural for me to end up studying filmmaking. I did a 3-year degree at London Metropolitan University, studying film and broadcast, which I graduated from in 2013. I learned pretty much every aspect of filmmaking, from directing to cinematography.
Alt. What do you like about the film making process?
Probably writing. I like to generate my own ideas and material, like The Solution. It’s fulfilling to see something come to life from what I had written on paper to evolve into a full-fledged film. Also working alongside my producing partner Chris Fatoyinbo to build our start-up production company FatOedo Productions has given me more insight into the overall production process.
Alt. What is your take on Netflix in terms of the opportunities it may present for indie film makers?
I think Netflix is a great platform. Ideally, I’d love to see them take up The Solution and make it a series. But even if that doesn’t happen, I still feel they have been a big game changer for indie filmmakers. A lot of indie films on the festival circuit that would struggle to find a cinema distributor are now getting a lease of life on Netflix. Netflix really does offer opportunities for indie filmmakers to find a wider audience.
Alt. Tell about the premise of The Solution, the theme or message you thought important as a writer??
The Solution is a detective comedy-drama about a struggling detective agency. The main detective, played by me, encounters a 12-year-old girl genius during one of his investigations because she wants to become a detective. Personality clashes and hijinks ensue. It’s a fun adventure type of story. I suppose if there is a theme, it’s about reaching for what you really want to do. If there’s a message, it’s mainly in the casting showing what we can see on our screens. Very diverse and rare to see black leads in this genre in a UK based production.
Alt. How long did the film take to make and what have you learnt from the process?
It took four months and several drafts to write the script. Three months of pre-production. And only 5 actual days of shooting. Then another five months in post-production, which is really where a film gets shaped. I learned a lot during the process. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but if you put the time in, you’ll reap the rewards.
Alt. What was the film shot on?
The Solution was shot on a Sony PMW F5 (4K)
Alt. Disney’s Lion King was made with CGI, what technology excites you that might make it easy for smaller budgets?
Green Screen technology has been around for a while, but it’s becoming easier for smaller budget productions who can’t afford millions in set building to create filmic worlds and sets in post-production thanks to this technology.
Alt. How do you get a YouTube release?
Getting a YouTube release is mainly a case of contacting a YouTube channel or platform that puts out or screens short film content and showing them your film. They’ll either decide it’s for them or if it’s not for them. But the only way to find out is to do your research and ask.
Alt. Who are the actors in The Solution?
They include Memphis Dixon, Charis Agbonlahor, Liam Woon, Elsa Nori, James Lockhart, Beau Rambaut, Thao Minh Nguyen, Darrel Draper and me.
Alt. What 3 tips would you give to content creators?
Just do it. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to make or film something. It’s a cliché to say, but you can make a film with an I-phone these days. Old restrictions do not apply.
If someone turns down working on your project, move on quick to find the person you need. Time is precious, and you can waste lots of it waiting on people to come on on-board. If they are not showing enough enthusiasm to respond in a timely fashion, they probably weren’t meant to be on your project in the first place.
Pay people. I know it’s not always easy for content creators starting out, but it makes a huge difference. Even if you can’t afford to pay much, let your crew and cast know that it’s low budget, but you’ll be getting paid something. Most understand. It can make a huge difference in morale, productivity and quality if people feel they are doing paid work, as opposed to doing you a favour.
Alt. Tell us a bit about Fully Focused?
Fully Focused (also known as Million Youth Media on their YouTube platform) is a non-profit, youth-led media organisation. They produce their own content and short films, but also curate and screen independently produced short films (such as The Solution). Each independent production must be voted through by a panel of young members of Fully Focused. A lot of major UK talent have forged strong links with Fully Focused/MYM and work with them repeatedly. This includes Joivan Wade (Shiro’s Story, Doom Patrol), Kayode Ewumi (Hood Documentary, Enterprice) and Percelle Ascot (Shiro’s Story, Netflix’s The Innocents). https://www.youtube.com/user/MillionYouthMedia
Alt. What are you working on next?
As an actor, I recently shot a short film called The Float for a very promising young director called Finn Callan. It’s a psychological thriller. Very dark. It was an interesting challenge as I had to affect a French accent, so that was new for me. That should be out sometime towards the end of 2019. Regarding my own projects, I’m currently writing a feature film script, and developing two short film scripts I wrote. I hope at least one of them will go into production in November or December this year.
Watch “The Solution” here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vz_N4muIiE