Adwoa Daniels is a hairstylist turned award winning film director who never thought in her wildest dreams she would end up in the film industry. Mrs. Daniels took the time out of her busy scheduled while filming her latest project “Money is Our Goal” to give me in-depth interview on her journey to how she got to this point in her life. Below is excerpts from our interview……
Q: So tell me a little about yourself and where you’re from.
A: I’m Adwoa Daniels, but I also go by Diamond Phillips. I am the CEO of Dominican Doobies by Adwoa Hair Salon located in Irmo, South Carolina. I’m also a up & coming director, filmmaker and I have a Production Company called Money Is Our Goal productions. I am a mother and a wife as well.
Q: How was life for you growing up in NY & how has it made you the woman you are today?
A: My life is New York was okay. I had to learn early on that I lived in a city that moved very fast and I had to always be aware of my surroundings and look over my shoulders. There are a lot of scammers and con artists in New York so I had to be “street smart.” Growing up in NY has made me a go-getter because there was so much competition in the city that if you didn’t have a voice or go after what you wanted you would be left behind.
Q: What inspired you to get into the film industry?
A: I was just playing around on my iPad one day and I recorded a video of myself doing an improvisational scene where I acted as if I was on the phone having a conversation with one of my girlfriends. It was my first time doing it and then I shared the video with some of my friends as a joke. Well, to my surprise they liked the video and told me that I needed to do more because I had a hidden talent. So, I actually started making a new video once a week and it became fun.
Q: When did the conception of your web-series turned movie “Money Is Our Goal” was created?
A: I created the unscripted web series in 2015 and have won 4 film festivals since then.
Q: What were your initial expectations of success when you first started filming “Money Is Our Goal”?
A: In the beginning I didn’t have any expectations for the series, I just knew that I was having fun and it was something new and exciting for me to do. I didn’t go into it expecting to win film festivals or anything.
Q: Despite the success and awards you’ve earned with “Money Is Our Goal,” what made you go to film directing school?
A: I decided to go to film school because I am self taught. I filmed, edited, produced and starred in my web series “Money Is Our Goal”; I did all of this without an acting or film background. Not to mention all of this was done using an iPad. Overtime I had gained a love and passion for what I was doing. I needed to learn more about this new field that I was entering into, so I enrolled in an online film school. I’m a very driven person so when I set my mind up to do something I go full speed ahead. I needed to know everything about filming and directing so I could be the best at it.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of turning “Money is Our Goal” from an award winning web-series into a movie?
A: I decided to turn it into a movie while doing the first edit of the film to show my actors. Instead of following the time frame normally used for a web series, I continued to put the scenes together and realized that I was editing my first movie. So it sort of happened by mistake.
Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years down the road in the film industry?
A: In 5 years, I see myself owning a Studio Lot in South Carolina so I can make all of my movies here. I want to be the first female director to make Feature Films without the use of a script. Making many movies while helping actors and filmmakers fulfill their dreams. Winning major film festivals, my film projects getting picked up by a network or even given the budget to make a movie for the big screen. Also, changing the game drastically because my vision is different from everyone else’s. I SEE MYSELF BLESSED AND WINNING!
Q: How has the film industry treated you thus far and what have you learned from it?
A: The film industry has been great so far, however I have not really scratched the surface to give an honest answer to that question. I can tell you that Amazon Video contacted me granting me access to self distribute a short film on their site; benefits of winning a film festival. I have learned that in this industry the more you know the better.
Q: When did it hit you that you was an actual film director and that it was going to becoming your livelihood?
A: I realized I was a film director while filming with my cast and they were depending on me to give them guidance to bring my vision to life.
Q: How has being a director changed your perception of the film industry?
A: Because I’m currently an independent filmmaker, being a director means that I can direct my own movies. If Hollywood doesn’t get my vision I can still make my film happen independently. So my perception of the film industry now is that I don’t have to have millions of dollars to make a movie.
Q: What are some of the new projects you are currently working on?
A: I have a couple of projects in mind but haven’t started production yet. Just waiting to finish film school.
Q: Not only are you a director but a writer and actress as well; are these story lines you write about similar to your life experiences?
A: Yes, a lot of the topics I film are very similar to things that have happened in my life or my friends lives.
Q: What advice would you give to up and coming directors, writers & actors?
A: The advice that I would give someone that wants to be in this business is “DON’T EVER GIVE UP!” Chase your dreams and learn as much as you can. You might get a lot of No’s but don’t get discouraged. You are capable of doing anything you set your mind too and make sure that you learn as much as you can so “You Can Be The Best You Possible!”