2020 has been quite some year. Everyone reading this already knows about the havoc COVID-19 has had on everyone’s lives, so I won’t bother going into detail. While this blog is written within the backdrop of the dreaded Coronavirus, it will not be the focus. Instead, I want to look at some of the unexpected positives that have come from a year no-one was expecting.
As for many other companies, shooting in 2020 became incredibly difficult. So here at Team MsMono, I took advantage of the extra time on my hands and ploughed my energies into developing new ideas and making new connections. I spent most of the first lockdown filling in funding applications, having many zoom meetings (which I must admit, I still don’t mind) and sending email after email.
My work has resulted in some great opportunities and potential co-productions with significant key players. This included a number of audio series written by women of colour, a short form TV comedy project and an independent short film which is now fully funded. Everything is still in the early stages (and thus details are TBC), but after countless conversations and emails about contracts, 2021 is looking very exciting.
Our short film That Girl, Peugeot was also completed this year. Due to ‘Rona, the festival circuit had to change, and we were unable to have any in-person screenings. But we did have a number of online ones, which culminated in a UK screening back in November. It was great to see all the lovely faces who attended and the film itself was very well received.
We welcomed Carla Molina Whyte to the MsMono family, who became our Social Media and Marketing Intern. Carla will be looking after our Twitter and Instagram accounts and has already been responsible for the addictive quizzes on our Insta stories, the Tuesday night movie posts and inspiring videos series.
As well as running MsMono I am a TV Screenwriter. I have been writing as a hobby for well over 15 years, and in January 2015 I left my full-time job at the National Theatre and decided to pursue my dream of being a writer. What anybody neglected to tell me was that breaking into TV is VERY HARD! Especially when you were a pastor’s daughter from Wembley, who knew no-one and nothing when I started.
But this year that all changed. I signed to Curtis Brown Agency and secured my first option for an original TV drama. To say I am happy is an understatement – I am OVER THE MOON! It has been a life-long dream to write for TV and now that dream has become a reality. Achieving my goal has been absolutely brilliant – but now the real work begins. I am working on a different level and it challenges me to dig deeper, be more vulnerable and give more of myself than I previously expected. But working on this project has given meaning to the last 5 1/2 years of graft and grind, because it has prepared me for where I am now.
I couldn’t write about 2020 without talking about Black Lives Matter. For the first time in living memory, it felt like the world had awakened to the various forms racism takes including white privilege, institutionalized and systemic racism and unconscious biases. I have had many conversations about my experiences as a black woman with white people who have finally been listening. I’ve seen a commitment from a number of industries (including and about time, Film and TV!) to address racism at all levels and try to increase opportunities for non-white people. However bad the year has been, the fact that a whole bunch of white people now understand racism, is definitely a massive step forward.
As we close what has been one of the worst years to date and look towards a 2021 where no one is certain of anything, I want to say one thing – ‘weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning’. See you in 2021.