Visual Storyteller Sarah Dowuona shares how she transitioned from wanting to be in front of the camera to now being behind

Visual Storyteller, Sarah Dowuona specialises in scriptwriting and creative directory. Sarah for the past three years has used her creative flair to direct music videos and advertisement. Since 2017, Sarah has been script writing and directing. Prior to this she studied Television Product at the National Film and Television Institute, Ghana. Sarah believes in highlighting issues which she feels needs attention in society. Read more for our exclusive interview with Sarah:

Tell us about how you began your journey as a Visual Storyteller and Director? 

“This began back in Tertiary, I had always wanted to be in front of the camera, i.e. an actress or a presenter. It never crossed my mind that I will be behind the camera one day. I attended the National Film and Television Institute of Ghana (NAFTI) and I could remember during my first year I was disappointed to find out there was no acting course so I opted for Television Production, because I thought that it would be much easier to get a job with a television station after school.

Fast forward to my final year when I started to love writing and directing. I then began to wish I had done film directing instead of television production but nevertheless it didn’t stop me. I fell in love with the idea of creating my own world and being in charge of everything from writing, script to screen.

I remember my final year production received good feedback from the school and an award during my graduation. The school actually wanted to reshoot it as a short film for student film festivals since it was a television drama which couldn’t be used. This made me love being a visual storyteller which led me to directing more. And it’s really amazing when you can tell stories of your culture and people for the generations to come.”

What has been the most exciting project you have worked on so far and why? 

“My most exciting project is Slum Chronicles a documentary series which is still in production. I personally love this project because it deals with about 8 out of the 17 sustainable development goals. Slum Chronicles is a compilation of stories from people in different slums of Ghana, Africa and the outside world. Season 1 mainly covers a particular Slum in Ghana.

This documentary I must say is not like any documentary that is told by outsiders or foreign people giving explanations to people living in Slums. But rather from the people themselves, making the world know who they are, their way of life and changing the perception outsiders have. I have created a GoFundMe account in support of the Slum Chronicles Documentary. Kindly click on the link and help make this project a success.”

What advice would you give to those that wish to work on campaigns like yourself one day? 

“Go for it! It is funny because I used to be very shy and would never do stuff like this. Even back in school when I wanted to be an actress, I always wondered how that was going to happen because of my lack of confidence. But sometimes you need to get out of your thoughts and just push for it. Just say to yourself, “She is just like me so what makes me think I cannot achieve it” and then go for it!

You may not get the support you hope for to begin with, nonetheless just keep pushing things will definitely workout. With my field it is not very easy as many do not understand the creative aspects, due to this it can be difficult to secure funding. It is my dream to support people who would like to again access to my field, be it producing, filmmaking etc.”

How has building your own platform Film Etoile helped you secure corporate deals?

“After school that is when the real hustling begins, and it is very difficult to get clients to trust you if you are solo. So, after my National Service, I, together with some colleagues from school decided to form Film Etoile. And it has been the best decision we have ever made. The thing is most brands prefer to work with a group of people or companies that are legit, companies they trust, companies that are recognized and registered, and it makes work easier as compared to being solo.

As I mentioned earlier trust will always be the main issue and moreover it will be difficult to secure big gigs if you are solo. By building Film Etoile I must say we have been able to build more portfolios and it has really helped us secure more corporate deals.”

What does the future look like, what can we expect to see from you as a Producer and Director in 2021? 

“2021 is going to be fireworks! Y’all need to watch out! Hopefully I will be shooting and premiering my first feature film. May possibly shoot two films because I have a whole lot of scripts waiting for me lol. Will also be working on a few animations too. Mind you I do not animate. I will be co directing and working on the script. Also have some Corporate deals pending and awaiting for 2021! Slum Chronicles will also officially be premiered so y’all get ready!”

Follow Sarah on Instagram.

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