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Now I Lay Me: An Interview with Taioni Micaela

Please tell us about the projects you worked on before making ‘Now I Lay Me’. How did you start, and how did you learn to make films?

Before embarking on ‘Now I Lay Me,’ my professional journey in filmmaking began as a script supervisor, I had the unique opportunity to experience the filmmaking process through various projects. My formal education in digital cinema production, under the mentorship of Grey Fredrickson, a prominent figure known for producing masterpieces like ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Outsiders,’ laid the groundwork for my career. This experience led to my first script supervising job, a role facilitated by Fredrickson’s recommendation. My time at Oklahoma City Community College played a fundamental role in honing my skills and understanding of the filmmaking process. It provided a comprehensive foundation that enabled me to transition into roles as a writer, director, and producer. My capstone project ‘An Ode to the Sun that Never Shines,’ served as a culmination of my education and creative aspirations, exploring themes of love and adversity through the lens of a struggling poet and down-on-her-luck photographer. These experiences equipped me with the necessary expertise and confidence to tackle the challenges presented by ‘Now I Lay Me,’ where I embraced the opportunity to bring my vision to life without safeguards.


Tell us about ‘Now I Lay Me’. How do you describe it?

‘Now I Lay Me’ delves into the timeless struggle between light and darkness, underscored by the unwavering power of familial love and the profound impact of isolation and loss. Drawing inspiration from a recurring night terror that has haunted me for years, this film serves as a cathartic exploration of fear, resilience, and personal empowerment. I believe ‘Now I Lay Me’ offers audiences a thought-provoking experience that resonates on a universal level, inspiring individuals to confront their own inner demons and find strength in reclaiming control over the challenges that plague them.


Please tell us about your favorite filmmakers.

Tim Burton is a director that I have idolized since childhood. His distinctive visual aesthetic across all his films is a huge inspiration for me and my work. I want to develop a recognizable style that leaves a lasting impression on viewers. Additionally, I hold Quentin Tarantino in high esteem for his masterful character development and entertaining storytelling. I believe he is among the greatest of our generation. Lastly, I have grown fond of the work of Matt Reeves, especially his direction in films like the ‘Planet of the Apes’ trilogy and ‘The Batman.’


If you were given a good budget, what would be your ideal project?

I have so many stories waiting to be brought to life. Each one of them I care deeply about and want to share with the world. Among them, I have a romance-drama that would allow me to explore the intricacies of love, loss, and resilience through compelling characters and evocative storytelling. The Superhero genre has dominated the blockbuster landscape in recent years, and I think there is a growing appetite for a wider range of storytelling. So if given a good budget that allows for a star-studded cast, I would love to put my experience to the test with said romance-drama.


Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?

You never go to set without meticulously planning everything first. Beginning with a through breakdown of the script, I would collaborate closely with a seasoned 1st Assistant Director. Together, we would create a Stripboard Schedule, strategically arranging scenes to ensure efficiency within our allotted 12-hour shooting window. We would be sure to incorporate contingency plans into our schedule, enabling us to make quick and informed decisions on the day should unforeseen issues arise. Effective communication is also paramount for staying on schedule. Forms like the storyboard and shot list allow for the entire crew to understand what it is that we are trying to accomplish. Pre-production lays the foundation for your experience on set and it is something that I will never take for granted.


What was the hardest part of making ‘Now I Lay Me’.

The most challenging aspect of filming ‘Now I Lay Me’ was managing the visual effects. While I had some experience with VFX on previous projects, directing a film that heavily relied on it presented a new and daunting challenge. I am incredibly grateful for the expertise and dedication of the team at Artist Building Studio. Their ability to transform our protagonist with limited resources was nothing short of extraordinary. I am immensely proud of what we were able to achieve together.


If possible, tell us about your next work. What plans do you have for your future work?

My upcoming project is a short about a slick-mouthed business man who runs an infomercial for his unorthodox security company but when an angry client threatens to expose him, he must do what it takes to protect his business. It’s a horror/comedy that I am immensely proud of. I can’t wait for everyone to see it and have just as much fun watching it as I have had writing it.


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