NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?
Zaiesha Joseph: I am indeed excited about this achievement, at first, I was a little skeptical about submitting my work to film festivals because I thought that the significance of the screenplay would not be understood so the fact that my project was selected as a finalist by the ISC means that a panel of judges has sat down and read my screenplay and deemed it fit to be in the finals. This makes me very proud especially because I am black woman from the Caribbean and very rarely do we see work from people of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora receiving such attention in the United States of America. This achievement gives me hope and makes me more eager to share the Caribbean, African and African American culture with the rest of the world.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?
Zaiesha Joseph: I submitted my screenplay entitled ‘One Cent Cant Change’, the screenplay is of the Comedic Drama Genre where a Nigerian single-mother living in America receives a revelation from her pastor in Nigeria that her son Segun will father twin boys but in order for the revelation to come to fruition Segun must find a wife immediately, hence the mother pressures her son to find a wife. Feeling pressured by his Mother’s adamance, Segun introduces different women to his mother, however, none are welcomed by her. On the other side of the grass, a Caribbean girl called Antoinette migrates to America to live with her African American mother and to pursue a career in acting. Antoinette’s mother desperately wants her to find a boyfriend but warns her to never ever date a Nigerian. The two worlds collide when Segun falls head over heels for Antoinette and begs her to pretend to be a Nigerian so that his mother would like her but through a series of events both families discover that Segun and Antoinette are in fact brothers and sisters and that the two families are closer than they imagined.
NY Elite: Can you tell us yourself and your artistic talents?
Zaiesha Joseph: My name is Zaiesha Joseph, I am a 26 year old female from the Caribbean. In 2019 I migrated to America to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the New York Film Academy in Acting for Film which I am currently pursuing now. I observed that there was a great struggle finding auditions for someone like myself in America; a Caribbean girl with a thick Caribbean accent. Many times I have auditioned but had been told by the Casting Director that “We would prefer someone with an American accent”. It was then that I realized that in order for me to be successful in my career then I would need to be proactive, hence I started my youtube channel where I performed dramatic monologues from famous movies and from there I began writing my own monologues, then skits then short films and now feature films. Aside from writing and acting, I am also a Director and Producer.
NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?
Zaiesha Joseph: I have written a total of seven (7) scripts before, four (4) feature films and three (3) short films.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
Zaiesha Joseph: One Cent Can’t Change: This is by far my favorite because it was the first feature film that I filmed in America, not only that but I wrote the screenplay in three (3) days and though we faced many challenges and obstacles we were able to complete the project and we can not wait to share it with the world.
DECEIT: this is a short film that I wrote, produced and acted in. This was an exciting project for me because it was the first time that I worked with children on set.
FIFTYNINE: In this project I acted as dual characters, this was an intense film project because I had never acted dual roles before and I am proud of myself for taking on that task.
NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?
Zaiesha Joseph: I simply want to write the type of scripts that can evoke feelings in the readers or the audience but most importantly I want to write the scripts that teach people about African, African American and Caribbean culture. I believe that there is so much to learn about people of African descent and I want to be one of the persons that help educate people about these places through my screenwriting.
NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Zaiesha Joseph: No doubt that the most important aspect of building a character is introducing the world of the character, what I want people to see and know about the character, how did they grow up and how does their background influence their behavior, what contributing factors cause the character to act out or react in a certain way. I believe that once the world of the character is properly established then I will have a well-rounded character that keeps the audience intrigued.
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Zaiesha Joseph: Currently I am working on a twelve (12) part web series as well as two (2) feature films, all of which I intend to film this year 2022.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Zaiesha Joseph: I express myself creatively mostly in acting because I want to show the world that no matter who you are or where you come from you can achieve anything through hard work, persistence and consistency.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?
Zaiesha Joseph: Start Small, that is my most important advice yet. If you want to write a feature film but have never written one before then start by writing a short three page sketch, eventually you will gain the confidence to write a short film and before you know it you will be writing feature films. BE PROACTIVE IN YOUR CAREER.