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The painter who became a film director | #MemberSpotlight

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Natasha Kinaru is a Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer and Editor who got her start in oil paintings and drawings before finding her true calling as a director. Today, we discuss how and why she transitioned from the slow and meditative world of painting into the fast-paced and eccentric world of moving pictures.

How did you get into the industry?

I started my career as an artist. I’ve made a living doing oil painting and drawing commissions since my late teens.

However, I believe I truly started realising my creative potential when I began writing and directing films. It opened up a new world for me and allowed me to meet and collaborate with many wonderful fellow artists.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

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I am based in London. To date, I’ve written, directed, produced and edited all of my films. It’s a fantastic feeling to be in charge of all the areas of production and I enjoyed every minute of it. I am however looking forward to collaborating with a producer or production company to take my new project to the next level.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I think I would have stuck with painting. I still love it and find very meditative, however not as thrilling and exciting as filmmaking.

Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?

We all have ideas. But it’s what you do or not do with them that matters.

It takes courage to believe in yourself and your idea and go out to the world, start reaching to people and making it all come true. But even though it can be challenging, it always pays off and inspires you to carry on and to take up more ambitious projects.

How would you describe your style?

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I heard a few filmmakers referring to my work as “having an edge”. I need something thrilling, be that a tint of horror in a drama or a dark humour in a comedy, or remorse and sadness in a romantic story. I love to push things further, to reach to the unexpected and see what comes out of it.

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

Everybody I worked with inspired me. I am constantly amazed at what people sacrifice to pursue their creative dreams.

As for established filmmakers, I am fascinated and learning from many. I have to name Stanley Kubrick, who loves to explore the dark sides of the human nature and who is a perfectionist which I can highly relate to. Christopher Nolan’s filmmaking is phenomenal. There will never be another “Inception” or “Interstellar”.

Paul Thomas Anderson with his hauntingly brilliant stories and David Fincher with his messed up but exhilarating worlds. The dreamy parallel realities of Tarkovsky, the timeless thrillers of master Hitchcock…the list can go on.

What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?

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If you’re truly passionate about filmmaking, just pick up a camera or a phone and make a film. Start small, but put your heart into it. Reach out to more established filmmakers, offer them your help. Read screenwriting books, watch cinematography tutorials, and of course watch and analyse films as much as you can.

What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?

Love what you do. People will see it. You might not be the best out there, but if you’re putting your heart in your craft and want to do your best every time, you’ll get noticed.

What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?

Premiere Pro and After Effects. I don’t know how I’d live without them. They’re crucial to any filmmaker or visual content creator. Take time to learn them. There are plenty of free tutorials out there.

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

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Whatever you put inside your head mentally is going to influence your ideas and creative output. Make sure to read classic literature, go to galleries and admire great works of art, listen to the masters of music. They will constantly inspire you and hone your taste and vision.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

The very first short film I made. It’s not the best one, but I DID IT. And that’s what matters.

It was the scary unknown, it was me reaching out to people I had never met before and telling them about my film idea, it was me scouting all North London to find a perfect location spot for it, me filming it on a day with my DSLR camera while my heart was pounding. It was the opening of the new door for me.

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

I would love to see more affordable locations for aspiring filmmakers.

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

The most helpful books on screenwriting I found were – Aristotle’s “Poetics”, Snyder’s “Save the Cat” and McKee’s “Story”. You might not use everything they teach you, but they’ll give you a foundation for understanding how the story works. Learn the rules then learn to break them.

As for everything else - I would never miss a new YouTube channel on cinematography, lighting, scene breakup, or any other tips and tricks that filmmakers use.

And of course - watch films. Watch great films and learn from them. Analyse, get inspired and most importantly – enjoy.

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