The Chimaera Project had the opportunity to chat with upbeat Bola Ogun, a Film and TV director living in Los Angeles. To find out more about her and her projects, visit her online at https://www.bolaogunfilms.com/
TCP: So, Bola, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We know that you are an experienced filmmaker but please set the stage for us about how you got to where you are now.
BOLA: I started out in the Arts as an actress/singer for school and Junior Players’ Shakespeare In The Park in summers. After college I was trying to find a way to get into Film/TV so I started working as a Production Assistant. I did that for about a year in my hometown Dallas and in Austin before I moved out to Los Angeles. I continued to work for a few years but really wanted to create more diverse roles because I wasn’t seeing them.
TCP: What did you decide to do to change the landscape and find your way in?
BOLA: I wrote a script about a mermaid and submitted it to America Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women and luckily I got in! I struggled to finish that movie (The Water Phoenix) because it was an ambitious script. But it was ambitious because I wanted to show that I could handle VFX, stunts, practical effects, and work with children. I continued to work as an Executive Assistant as I finished the movie and also got into the inaugural class of a directing program. Once my first short was done, I was already working on the second one (Are We Good Parents?) which premiered at SXSW, won awards at Urbanworld, Cleveland International Film Festival, and AT&T Shape Awards. I’d got picked to be a part of WeForShe’s Directing Program before getting my first episode on QUEEN SUGAR. I also got a spot in the WB Directing Program which secured me an episode of Legacies!
TCP: That is super exciting. It seems that the entertainment industry was waiting for you to show up, and ready to show you some love for all your hard work. Knowing that you have been so honored, what would you say is your proudest moment?
BOLA: Booking two additional episodes before I shot my first one!
TCP: Ha. Yeah, that would definitely be a crowning achievement for anyone lucky enough to be able to say that happened. Our congratulations, of course, but it isn’t without merit. You have been very focused. What do you think helps you on your path?
BOLA: When I saw that diverse parts were lacking in the industry I really wanted to figure out how I could change that. So I decided to make it myself!
TCP: That sounds easier said than done, it’s a big industry…
BOLA: Oh, for sure! But as Ava Duvernay said ‘If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.” Plus, I was a production assistant as well as a non-union Assistant Director for years which gave me a great understanding of how the “sausage” is made.
TCP: Of course, knowing how everything works is essential, but you also seem to be tackling it all, including topping off your resume with director. Do you feel it has been easy or a struggle?
BOLA: Well, I struggled to finish my first short (like everyone does) but I learned how to be a producer.
TCP: There you go again, turning everything difficult into a silver lining and adding job titles to your growing resume of talents. It must be part of why you are so successful. Have you done everything you want or do you have a specific goal you have in mind?
BOLA: I really hope to direct some tentpole-movies in the future!
TCP: We can’t wait to see them! In finishing off, are there any words of wisdom you would like to share with our Chimaera readers to help them on their path?
BOLA: For anyone who wants to be a filmmaker I would say the best thing to do is SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!! Even if it’s just on your phone. You want to show that you can be a storyteller! I saw someone do a short using the Snapchat platform as a model and it was really well done!
TCP: Well, thank you again Bola, for taking the time, and we hope everyone is able to be the change they want to see in the industry as well as you have. We look forward to seeing your future projects. Follow Bola online on social media’s Twitter and Instagram @onebolafun.