Hi Nikki! Welcome! Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Give us a brief introduction!

Currently I’m an Administrative Professional by day and a film maker on the side. I have been involved with film and theater in some manner since the early 1990’s. My first encounter was in front of the screen as an actress. My first major role was as a bully in an after school industrial film for the New Jersey Department of Education. Moving forward I’ve booked various roles in the Washington DC area with local commercials, background for a few award winning series, various indie films and Theater plays. Although I enjoy singing and acting, I also enjoy writing and in the last few years decided to get into the production side of film. I started as a production assistant helping with everything from making runs to gaffing. I then moved into various roles in the Art Department with make up, special effects make up and set design. Then I started to write scripts shorts and features.

Nikki Smallwood Filmmaker Interview

Where are you located?

Maryland, USA

Nikki Smallwood Filmmaker Interview

What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

“If you’ve written a script, you are now a screenwriter.”

I think it helps to get your mind right.

What inspired you to start creating films?

I was over the rat race of trying to get noticed on screen, but I loved the art and craft of making films. I wanted a way to still be in it, and finding a way to get on sets working for free was my way in. It was hard work but I loved every minute of it.

Who most inspires/influences you currently and why?

Black women film makers, such as Ava DuVernay and others. I just want to be like them when I grow up.

That’s amazing to hear. What would you say is your favorite film of all time?

Dirty Dancing

What is your favorite film genre and why?

Horror. Mostly ghost stories. Because I’ve had so many ghost encounters growing up. I like hearing that there are others who’ve experienced the same thing and that I’m not alone.

As a creator, what do you find to be the thing that most drives you?

Imagination. I love how ideas and dreams about “what if” can take me in so many directions. And if it entertains and interests someone, it gives me a little sense of gratification, even if it’s just one person.

What is your absolute dream in life?

To be a successful writer/director. I’m a little private so fame is not something I crave, but I would love to be able to consistently make films and become somewhat known for making good films.

Nikki Smallwood Filmmaker Interview

What work do you take the most pride in at this point in your career?

My short Before the Underground Vol. 1 – Rit. It was my very first writer/director debut. It was so low budget so it started off pretty ruff, it’s my baby and I’m proud of it. It can only go up from there.

Nikki Smallwood Filmmaker Interview

What has been the most challenging project you’ve been a part of?

Shooting Vol 1 of Before the Underground. Because it was low budget I was filling other hats besides Directing. I think as a Director, that is all you should be working on because you need that synchronicity with your cast and crew. It was hard.

Nikki Smallwood Filmmaker Interview

What was the most valuable single lesson you learned in completing that project?

To get more funding so I could hire more people and pay people.

An interview with Shivaan Makker

What has been the most fun thing you’ve done in your career so far?

I loved doing MUA and special effects make up, especially blood, bruises, cuts, burns, scars, scrapes etc. I’m not a gory person but it doesn’t bother me. I had a lot of fun playing with people when I tried out new things.

Who is one person that you hope to work with and why?

Ava DuVernay. I’d like to watch her move and take notes.

Nikki Smallwood Filmmaker Interview

Is there anyone in particular that you’d like to thank and/or shout-out in this interview?

I’d like to thank Mauricio Ventura a very talented Cinematographer, Sandra Camargo a very talented Director. They have both helped me tremendously not only with various projects but also personally. I’d also like to thank Dr. Kinley for being who he is.

Thank you so much for being a part of The Film Festival Network Community, Nikki! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

Be sure to keep up with Nikki online and stay tuned for incredible work to come!