Can you please introduce yourself and describe your profession?
My name is Wendy Okoi-Obuli, and I am a British-Nigerian who lives in London. I am a screenwriter and also an occasional blogger. I contribute from time to time to Shadow And Act on IndieWire, which is a blog about cinema from the African diaspora, whose contributors are mostly making a way for themselves in various aspects of the independent film sector.
How did you become a writer and what are your current projects?
I become a writer by writing, quite simply. There are few full-time/permanent jobs to be found as a writer, you create your own jobs – many of which will be for little or no pay. For this reason, most writers I know also still hold down ‘regular’ jobs to pay their bills (I also work part-time as a freelance business presentations designer/consultant). I am currently working on THE NEW THIRTY, a London set drama-comedy narrative feature film, about two single British-Nigerian women, aged 30 and 40 respectively, and their contrasting and sometimes humorous adventures in search of love, companionship, possibly marriage and, ultimately (and unwittingly), themselves.
Your are your favorite writers? How have they defined/inspired you?
I’m not fond of picking favourites, but I’d have to say that Toni Morrison and Chimamanda Adichie would be two writers (novelists) who have inspired me. Although their styles are vastly different, both women write uncompromisingly from their own cultural perspectives (African-American and Nigerian respectively), which, as black women, was not always considered worthy of either critical or commercial acclaim. However, against the odds, they are both world-renown writers who have notched up several accolades between them, proving that stories from a diverse array of backgrounds can, and do, have universal appeal. Not sure I have a favourite screenwriter, as filmmaking is very much a collaborative process. However, I think I’d be happy if I had a writing career as rewarding and varied as Nora Ephron, who was a journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and blogger. I’m working on it. Another screenwriter I take inspiration from is Ava Duvernay, who is also a director and film distributor. Again, she is a woman successfully making strides in a male dominated industry.
I’d say that my goal would be to encourage people to find the best way to be themselves. I feel that most of us, women in particular, come under a lot of pressure to do what is expected of us by others — whether that be friends, family or society at large — rather than be given the space and freedom to figure out our personal goals, and the support to achieve them. In my view, a society comprised of people who are fulfilling their potential makes for a happy and healthy society.
What does to dream, inspire and act mean to you?
To dream, inspire and act means to live! That’s what life is for – that’s what life’s journey is all about. If we act on our dreams, we inspire others to believe in and, hopefully, even go for their own dreams. However, there’s also the chance that we might inspire others to behave negatively towards us, but I feel that this is usually because they haven’t had the courage to follow their own dreams, and so feel the need to discourage you from yours. Never be discouraged!