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Featured Artist Conversation with Filmmaker Christopher Williams

Filmmaker, Christopher Williams

Back in March, we were fortunate to connect and have a conversation with Filmmaker Christopher Williams. Born in Brooklyn, and raised in Long Island, Christopher has always had an interest in films and photography. Being creative and having a desire to see more minorities in lead roles, Christopher took it upon himself to learn how to write scripts to show the world his vision.

Atlanta Film and TV: We gave you a brief introduction, but could you tell us a little more about what it is that you do in the Atlanta Film and TV Community? 

Christopher Williams: "I am relatively new to Atlanta, and moved about a year and a half ago. Once in Atlanta, I noticed there were a  lot of artists who needed cinematographers for their music videos, and  I began directing and filming for those artists. However, my main passion is writing and directing, and I have written several screenplays for web series and short films. Recently, I have done a short film where I hired a cast of 12-13 crew members in Atlanta. So, it’s been great to network, film, and collaborate with a lot of people, and I’m really getting into the industry in Atlanta on the filmmaking side."

Atlanta Film and TV: Can you take us on your journey of how you started, to where you are today?

Christopher Williams: "My filmmaking journey began in 2017. By day, I am a Software Engineer, and how it started was that I was working off of  Wall Street, in the Tech Company. It was a pretty decent-sized company of about 150 people, where I was the only black guy. I was surprised, and thought, ‘how can I be in the tech company, on Wall Street, and the only black person?’ Shortly thereafter, another African-American individual came to the company, and we had an interesting talk about the microaggressions we faced. Then, I thought about how it would be fun to film our experiences in a comical way. My co-worker and I began filming our experiences, and I enjoyed working between 13-14 hours a day filming for free. It was also the moment  I realized it was a passion of mine that I never knew existed, because I was working as an engineer from 9-5, which by the way wasn’t doing it for me! I told myself, ‘if I can do this for free, this is something that I should look into further.’ Filmmaking is where I am able to talk about my interests, ideas, and play with the creative-side of things!"

Atlanta Film and TV: Growing up, did your parents recognize your love of the arts, and if so how did they nourish your gift to facilitate growth?

Christopher Williams: My dad is Nigerian, and my mother is Haitian, and they both have always had this idea that you should make money, and have a successful life in America. The idea of the Arts was never talked about in our household. It was more about becoming a doctor, engineer, or a lawyer. Eventually, I developed my interest in filming at a later age, and both my parents were supportive! They would watch my films, give ideas, and attend screenings.

Atlanta Film and TV: In your bio it states that you are an engineer by day, and a content creator at night. There may be a few readers and viewers looking to break into film and tv, but don’t know how to balance both their job and their creativity. Can you share how you balance the two?

Christopher Williams: "I did a lot of research on CEO’s, and highly productive people, and learned to plan ahead. Every week, I will make a list of my interests, such as knowing what I need to get done. I will also jot down who I need to talk to as it pertains to screening locations, as well as the amount of editing I need to accomplish for the week. I not only plan out my week, but I also plan my day very specifically.  I also have a goal for the end of the week such as, having certain things accomplished like finding a screening location, or having edited a short film. All in all, you have to do things a little at a time, and make small accomplishments for the week and eventually it will get done."

Atlanta Film and TV: In your bio, it states you taught yourself how to write films. Can you share with us how long it took you to learn the art of film screenwriting, and would you recommend someone learning it on their own over going to college to learn film screenwriting? 

Christopher Williams: "I started learning film screenwriting six years ago. I am, however, still learning! I believe if you have the opportunity and time to go to school, do it! But for me, I wanted to jump into the art of filmmaking and wasn’t sure if filmmaking would be a path that I would go on. I also decided to start filming, and grabbed a few friends who were interested in screenwriting and began writing a few scripts. I do, however, believe there’s a lot of benefits in failing. I did a short film that I thought was the greatest thing ever. I realized viewers' real critiques were helpful when they said things like,‘oh wow! There’s no character development.’ It was, however, unfortunate in the beginning, and when I started reading about the Hero’s Journey, and learning about Character Development. I think if I hadn’t done my first film, then I wouldn’t do my next few projects. 

I think you should hit the ground running, because personally, I  don’t  believe you need school, because sometimes you have to start on your own. With school you could wait around for funds and it might take five to ten years, and then you realize that you never had the opportunity to try filmmaking."

Watch our full conversation below!

Atlanta Film and TV: Talk to us about Godwin Productions and share with us about some of the films that you’ve directed.

Christopher Williams: "I got my middle name in my 20s, because I have the most popular name in the world - Christopher Williams. Godwin was given to me by my dad, and I wanted to do it as a homage to him. I wanted to put my stamp of approval on it, kind of like Oprah Whinfrey does with her book club, where she puts her stamp of approval with the New York Times Best Seller.  I went online, and said, ‘hey! If it has the name Godwin Productions it has quality production, along with  diversity inclusion, and with a minority as the lead character. Outside of that, under the name Godwin Productions, I’ve written about seven films. The first of which was called ‘Bulls and Bears,’ a loose version of my life which talks about all the ups and downs of being a minority in New York City. This film also had different versions of being the only minority in a tech industry, gentrification in New York City, and dating outside your race. My second film “Holo’ is about a social networking company, similar to Meetup, that shows how we can engage and communicate with others, especially when dealing with people who are lonely. 

My latest film is RapStab, which is about one-sided relationships and also deals with revenge and payback. All the other films I create are more uplifting and helpful, and for experience. But, now I want to get into Urban Drama and learn more about who I am, and what I’m interested in."

Atlanta Film and TV: Can you share about any upcoming projects you are currently working on?

Christopher Williams: A few weeks ago, I wrapped on my latest project Rapstab which is about people losing their souls for revenge. I am hosting a screening on April 13th, in Atlanta, and I am inviting a lot of people to be a part. And, this will be my second time going through the film festival route and trying to network, and meet people in the industry, and use it as the ultimate resume! 

Atlanta Film and TV: How can people support you and your films?

Christopher Williams: You can follow me on Instagram at @iamdriven53 and on Youtube at Godwin Production to see what I am doing, how I am growing, and by supporting, commenting and liking!

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