MIAMI GARDENS — Renee Michelle Harris considered trying to sell one of the four feature- length scripts she has written to a Hollywood producer. So when a friend in the industry encouraged her to produce and direct her own material, Harris initially balked.
“I’m actually a natural director but I was reluctant because I had no technical training,” said Harris, until recently the associate editor of South Florida Times. “Once my friend planted the seed, the desire didn’t go away at all; instead it got stronger and stronger.”
Once Harris decided that she would follow her friend’s advice, she took the same intense filmmaking course that famed director Quentin Tarantino took to launch his career.
“I’d taken a screenwriting class, attended an awesome filmmaking conference in California, spent valuable time on a movie set and just really studied movies, so I felt like I had the basics,” Harris said. “The course that I took was a very popular two-day information-packed program that gave me what I needed to move forward with making movies.”
Harris is now in pre-production on her first feature length drama, Keisha’s Journey and she’s getting creative in order to raise the funds to produce the movie about a young black woman living in the inner city who transforms her life by changing her thoughts.
“We’ve created a really nice grassroots campaign on the crowd funding site, IndieGoGo. We have other avenues that we’re also working, but the primary campaign is currently IndieGoGo,” she said.
IndieGoGo allows people to raise money for a variety of projects. It also allows independent artists, including singers, photographers and filmmakers such as Harris to raise money for their projects.
“We got off to a slow start but we’ve picked up steam and are determined to finish strong,” Harris said of the campaign that has seven days left.
“The really cool part about the campaign is that people can help to get a very smart, powerful and thought-provoking movie made by donating a very small amount of money,” Harris said. The donation levels range from $15 to $100.
“We’re putting all of the donors’ names in the movie credits because their support is vital to the production of our movie,” she said.
Harris has produced a short promotional video to pitch Keisha’s Journey and to request donations.
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Photo: Renee Michelle Harris