Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Interview -- Aletha Campbell, Producer

Aletha Campbell is a passionate filmmaker and I had to interview!

RQOH: How did you get into the entertainment industry?
AC: I've always loved movies ever since I was a young child growing up in Liberia before the war.

RQOH: What draws you into the entertainment industry?
AC: My love for movies. I love being able to do something that I love, but something I've also grown up enjoying. It's really a wonderful experience getting do something you love while also helping other people realize their dreams as well. Everybody loves movies. Everybody wants to be involved in making a movie in one way or another. It's a dream come true.

RQOH: Favorite movie of all time?
AC: American Beauty. I really enjoyed the storyline. I think Annette Bennie and Kevin Spacey did a tremendous job. Anything Kevin Spacey does is going to be brilliant. You can't go wrong with him.

RQOH: What you tell us about Crossed Lines?
AC: Crossed Lines is a story of four people who come from four different backgrounds but are all involved in the drug world in one way or another. One of the characters, Naja, is a good girl who spends her time with her close friend Amiata who happens to be a pretty wild party girl. Naja uses socially but gets pulled further into that life by her friend until she's in way over her head. Truth is a guy who has dreams of being a rapper and deals in exchange for studio time and a little extra money to help take care of his family. He has good intentions but, in a way, feels like the ends justify the means while still being conflicted about what he's doing to chase his dream. Billy is a guy who has big plans. He imports and distributes drugs without caring about the damage he causes. Finally, there's McNeil. He works for the DEA and has a big chip on his shoulder. He has his ideas and he's going to get done what he wants to get done regardless. His partner, Joseph Gannascoli (Vito from The Sopranos), plays Agent Santo who tries to pull McNeil towards the right side of the law.

I can tell you there's a bit of action but it's not just about the action. We're trying to show things may be different than what you see on the surface, but sometimes they aren't. Sometimes good people get pulled into bad situations.

RQOH: What's the release date for Crossed Lines?
AC: We're about to wrap shooting. We have one scene remaining but we're getting into editing now. It will be this fall but I don't have a specific date yet.

RQOH: Since this is a horror based website I *must* ask at least one horror related question; what's your favorite scary movie?
AC: The Exorcist. My favorite part was when the Father performed the exorcism. And then there's the fact that it's suppose to be based on a true story makes it all that more scary. I've always loved movies based on true stories so this one I was really excited to see.

RQOH: What's a typical day for you?
AC: Lots of phone calls. Lots of texts. Lots of emails. I spend a lot time getting things in order and adjusting to things that pop up out of no where. I've been luck to have so many good people working with me, that makes things a lot easier and smoother. That's the key. Having good people on your cast and crew make a world of difference. Unforeseen things will always come up but with a good core, it's a lot easier to adjust.

RQOH: How did Smooth Fusion Films come about?
AC: Some years ago I helped on a project. I found that the role I had came naturally to me. My husband, Andrew Campbell, writes a lot and had several scripts sitting in the basement. Interestingly enough, while I was thinking about doing something to pursue this dream, he was talking to a childhood friend, Joe Mitchell, about the same thing. After a lengthy discussion with Joe about what was done right, what could be done differently and what else could be added, Joe asked what was holding us back from going out and making it a reality. It just so happened that the one thing that was holding us back was something Joe could help with and on that day Smooth Fusion was created. We created our first movie “Somewhere In Baltimore” and were lucky enough to win 5 awards from several different countries and communities.

Things have really taken off from there. We've gotten to travel a lot and meet a lot of people. We started off with the two of us and the help of a great friend. Our resources and connections were minimal. But after what we were able to do, many doors have flown open.

RQOH: What's your favorite film genre?
AC: I really like biographies, movies based on actual events and suspense. Horror can be fun too.

RQOH: What do you enjoy doing when you're not workin?
AC: I love to travel and spend time with my friends. I'll travel every chance I get. I really enjoy going to places off the beaten path and exploring. I love going the big cities like Rome, Paris and Dubai, but I also love to find myself riding on a bus or train in the middle of someplace I thought I'd never see. I also love watching Discovery ID, hiking and jogging. But usually, I find so many of my free time activities and conversations lead back to the project I'm working on or how I can help rebuild and help advance the people of where I come from.

I really want to build a school and help the children and women develop the skills they can use to help improve their lives. There's so much potential in Liberia, I just feel a strong need to do help people there, as well as here in the US. I love helping people realize their dreams in entertainment but I also love to see people use their talents in all areas of life.

RQOH: What advice can you offer people who want to break into the entertainment industry?
AC: The best advice is to never give up. Know your dream. Think about what it will take to achieve it. Create a plan. Then work, work and work some more. You can't give up. Also you need to realize and prepare for the challenges you will face. It won't be easy but it can be done. There will be obstacles, those are unavoidable. You just have to make sure they don't stop you. They may slow you down and that's okay, you just can't let them stop you.

Finally, you need to be motivated by more than just money. Money is great. We all need it and enjoy it, but if you are measuring success by money, well, it's just better to measure success on accomplishments, achieving goals and taking steps forward. The money comes very slowly in the beginning and there's no way to tell when it's going to come.

RQOH: What can we expect from you next? Are there any upcoming films/projects you would like to share?
AC: We have many projects on our desk. It's an amazing feeling to know that just a few years ago this was just a dream. Now I have more projects on my desk than I know what to do with and things are growing at such a quick rate. We have thriller based on a true story. There's one we plan to film partially in the US and partially in Liberia, West Africa. There are a couple projects we are trying to set up with other producers in a couple other countries.

Then there's a project titled "Buck". That is my special horror project. I have no idea when it will be filmed at this time, but that one has been sitting on my desk for awhile. It has a deep story, but it also is really messy. I'm excited for everything we have coming up, but that one will be especially fun.

For more information on the awesome Aletha Campbell:

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