We reached out to Tinisha Brugnone after visiting her webpage. Her artistic statement really resonated with me so we knew we had to reach out and find out more!
L21l: I watched a couple of your short films. Two very different dynamics in stories. What qualities do you look for in a film when choosing a project to produce?
TB: I have not produced many films and unfortunately, none that I have chosen to date. The few I have had the opportunity to produce, were assigned to me through a film alliance I used to belong to. In the future, I would like to produce films that are aligned with my own interests and only projects where I have a creative in addition to business role in the overall project. People hear the word producer and sometimes think “secretary or flunky”. Well at least in the small community of local filmmakers I have met in Michigan.
L21L: Who are your influences?
TB: I have not really found an influence as far as film making goes yet. I like a lot of different types of films, mostly foreign films usually. I am a fan of many filmmakers to include; Aronofsky, Steven Spielberg, Ava Duverney and my new favorite is Michaela Coel. I think that I love story more than any other aspects of the filmmaking process, so I tend to be drawn to films that have stories that keep me thinking about them and of course comedies. I love to laugh.
L21L:Besides producing, what is your favorite part of the process? Writing, directing, acting?
TB: My favorite part of filmmaking would be writing. I love to see a story come together on paper. From the moment, it starts in my head and grows into a screenplay is very exciting to me. It’s an opportunity for me to be as honest with myself as possible and dig in deep extracting life’s pain and joys to bring a story to life. I like my stories to be brutal and sometimes use some of those embarrassing moments in life that we try to suppress. I think that makes for great stories.
L21L: I read in your bio that you wanted to bring the inner city stories that no one really talks about to life. Are there plans for a feature film to tackle this or are short films better for telling these stories?
TB: Yes, I am working on an episodic series that explores the life of a young inner city child growing up as a minority in a community that ultimately raises him. I am in the early writing stages of this project but I have already begun submitting the project to various screenwriting competitions.
L21L: What type of budget do you usually work with and do you utilize crowdfunding?
TB: As far as budget goes, I am still really green and the largest budget I have worked on would be $30,000. This was for the project “Downriver” that I produced that is on my website. This project I raised around $13,000 on kickstarter. It was very stressful and intense. I do plan on doing other crowdfunding campaigns in the future.
L21L: What type of adversity have you encountered when setting out to make films? In what ways did you overcome them?
TB: The biggest adversity would be getting together a team. I know most people would say money, but I think once I have my team the money will follow. Living in the Metro Detroit Area presents a different set of challenges as opposed to some of my film friends who have left Michigan to places like Los Angelas or New York. Our community has taken a huge hit since the incentives were taken away so I am finding that it’s harder to get people on board. Even I was not enthused for a moment and took a sort of hiatus from filmmaking. But of course, I really started missing it and now that my youngest child graduates, this is the perfect time for me to delve back into it. My ways of overcoming it is simply to remain vigilant and keep trying.
L21L: Lost21Losers is a big advocate against bullying and we always ask when you were growing up did you always know that this is what you wanted to do? What obstacles if any did you come in contact with that you overcame?
TB: When I was growing up, I knew I wanted to write but I did not even consider filmmaking as a medium for my art. I did not figure that out until well into my adulthood and once I started learning about it, I was sure this is what I want to do. The main obstacle is time. Having to work a “regular job”, and trying to find time for my art is challenging, but I decided to make the time by allocating some amount of the day towards it. Even if it’s just filling out this questionnaire helps me reach my writing quota for the day. All writing stimulates thought and ways to express yourself.
L21L: What advice would you give others who are looking to pursue a career in filmmaking?
TB: As far as advice goes, I would say keep evolving! Learn as much as you can every day. I listen to podcasts about filmmaking, (Indie Film Hustle is my favorite) I read a lot of articles, watch tutorials and I am now getting into the online workshops. I feel like you can never know too much and everything is changing super-fast. I am not the most technical person, so I have a
basic understanding of what technology is out there. Only way I can keep up is by staying connected.
L21L: What is your favorite all time movie?
TB: Choosing a favorite movie is hard but if I could I’d say Love Jones and Forrest Gump. Love Jones because it’s a true love story that shows real complexities of falling in love when the time is not right and Forrest Gump because you know… It’s Forrest Gump.
We send a huge thank you to Tinisha Brugone and please check out her sites!! Spread the word!
Lost21Losers knows how hard it is to get the word out on new projects and to get funding for these projects. We want to help others in the same boat, who have intriguing stories to tell! So we started a new Indie Showcase section! We will be interviewing different producers, directors, and actors about their upcoming indie projects and sharing them with you! I hope you enjoy this series!
Our first selection has woman power all over it! We of course support strong women!! We were excited to talk to Stephanie Baird who is the producer for My Roommates an Escort. When I watched the trailer, the story had me intrigued. Stephanie was gracious enough to answer some of our questions!
L21L: What inspired you to do My Roommate's and Escort?
SB: Katie Uhlmann and I had worked together a couple times in the past. Katie starred in a short I produced called Politics (2016) and she did an amazing job in a guest role on the web series “IRL the Series”. I already knew that I liked working with Katie, so when I heard about her new project with Trish Rainone I was already interested!
After I had seen the prequel and heard the story behind MRAE I became very interested. I loved that two strong, outgoing women were going after what they wanted for their careers and creating real roles for themselves.
These two were 100% in control from the beginning! They wrote the script, raised the money, directed the series and acted their own starring roles. As a result anything that you will see in the series is their story that they built from the ground up – I really respected that.
The series itself focuses on the relationship and conflict between these two female roommates – which you don’t see a lot of in mainstream television.
L21L: I see that it is a webisode series, do you have an idea of where you would like it to end up?
SB: The vague answer is simply: in front of people! Our current plan is to launch it online this spring. However, the end goal for MRAE is to pitch the show as a 30 minute television series with broadcasting on Netflix or on a major television network.
L21L: What type of budget did you have?
SB: Katie and Trish worked their butts off in their crowdfunding campaign which raised over $25,000! Compared to mainstream network series, it doesn’t seem like much – but through careful planning and extreme generosity from our veteran teammates (David Carruthers and Russ Goozee), Adrenaline Tattoos, our amazing group of cast and crew, ACTRA Toronto and our product sponsors (Casa Dea Wines, Canadian
Technical Solutions, Narces, and so many more) we were able to produce MRAE with exceptional production value given our budget!
L21L: How many episodes are planned and or written?
SB: We’ve actually just announced picture lock on 11 five-minute episodes for season one of My Roommate’s an Escort!
L21L: What is your favorite part of the process? Filming, writing, producing?
SB: This this actually a really hard question for me to answer… I love all of it, but at the end of the day I love directing. I love collaborating with other people’s talents and pulling the best out of each other.
L21L: Did you ever face adversity growing up, and if so what are some ways that you overcame?
SB: I experienced a lot of people telling me I couldn’t do things “because I was a girl”. I’m not necessarily talking other children – I mean grown adults, implied or straight-out telling me that was inferior to the boys my age. I spend a lot of my time trying to prove to people around me that I was smart enough, strong enough and driven enough to play on the same playing field as the boys my age.
I noticed very early on in life that life was different for girls than it was for boys. One of the first instances I remember was in girl guides. I remember being so extremely bored sitting in the same room doing the same arts and crafts week after week that I asked my mom if I could join boy scouts with my brother.
At the time, there were no girls in boy scouts and the idea was just starting with the idea of making it a co-ed program, but the group welcomed me with open arms. I became one of the first girls to be in the Cubs Program in Ontario. It was something that I am super proud about today, and something that I never thought about the impact at the time. I was doing what I wanted to do – learning to camp in the winter, tie knots and build survival tools, and then I did ballet on the weekends – because I wanted to. I never lost sight of who I was, despite those around me telling me what I should or shouldn’t be doing as a girl.
As many independent artists see, we get a lot of negative remarks and people saying "You can't do that." What things do you do that keep you going?
It’s not that often in the past few years that I’ve ever felt like quitting or that I couldn’t succeed. I’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities that have presented themselves to me recently (and hoping they keep coming haha!)
But there have been times in the not so distant past where I felt lost and wondered if I’m cut out for this. Part of it is having an awesome support team that will tell you that you are being silly. Another thing that helps is to think about where I was 5 years ago versus today. If I can accomplish as much as I have in the last 5 years in the next 5 years and at the next “level up”, and then 5 years after that – the momentum is boundless!
The best advice I can give to people who feel lost or are just starting out is – don’t wait for someone else’s permission to earn your place in this industry. I see so many people sitting around waiting to be discovered – that only happens in a very small percentage of cases. Write, direct, produce – join groups, classes, networks - find other people who have the same goals as you and leverage each other’s talent. Make partnerships, find mentors, and most importantly – work hard and be reliable. The chance of you making it in this industry by riding on the waves of other people’s successes is minimal. They will keep improving and moving forward and you will stay the same – and you will get left behind.
L21L: Who are some of your influences?
SB: I’m a big fan of Sarah Polley. Some people know who she is, but sadly many people don’t especially outside of Canada. What I respect about her career is an actor, director, writer and producer she simply creates.
Sarah Polley seems to be drawn to create art that she really believes in. And she is one of the most humble, helpful and caring people I have had the fortune of meeting in this industry.
Thank you Stephanie Baird and MRAE! We appreciate your time and are looking forward to watching!
To contact Stephanie Baird please see these sites:
My personal social:
For more information on My Roommate's an Escort see these sites:
MRAE can be found at: