Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a talented filmmaker and actor named Damien Swaby! Besides these three occupations, Swaby is also the New Talent Development for Dai4films. According to his bio, Damien’s work has been screened at film festivals including London, San Diego, Birmingham, Staffordshire, Reykjavik, Sacramento and Brighton. A passionate filmmaker, he aims to convey as much through visual imagery as the spoken word, praised by critics as being a director possessing unique poetic comedic vision. Keeping a finger on the pulse of modern life, he is a great asset to the team. Some of Swaby’s films include Two Different Worlds, You Thought of It First, and one of my favorites—Ophelia.
Check out my interview with Swaby where he discusses some of his films, his participation in Text Dater, what’s next for him, and more below.
- Growing up, did you know that you wanted to do something in the entertainment industry like directing or acting?
Pretty much, I was hooked on film and music as a kid. From Romantic comedies to action/adventure, I love movies.
- You’ve created some amazing short films and some have been featured on Black Talent TV. How did you come up with Two Different Worlds?
Two different worlds was my take on class and race in London. It all came to mind after the England soccer captain John Terry, at the time, called his international teammates little brother, Anton Ferdinand, a “f***ing black c***” while standing not far from Ashley Cole, also a person of color and a friend of Ferdinand’s, on the soccer pitch, the economic policies of our conservative government and the fact that relationships can be a very complicated at times.
- Why did you decide that you needed to be the main character in the film?
It’s hard to find black male actors who want to take on risky, challenging, controversial scripts. I don’t make hoddie films so…
- How did you come up with You Thought of It First?
A few of my friends recently got divorced and while sitting in Notting Hill, I met a group of nomads, we shared stories, I went home inspired, and wrote the script.
- Ophelia, one of your recent short films, really shows that a homosexual relationship is no different to a relationship of a man & woman. How did you come up with Ophelia?
Right now in the UK and Ireland there is a big debate about gay marriage and from what I’ve seen, women seem to be more “experimental” than men so I decided to cast two women. Also, England is pretty much a secular progressive country now so I wanted to capture some of that feeling on film.
- Which do you enjoy more-acting, directing, or screenwriting?
I enjoy directing and writing but out of everything, I enjoy being a cinematographer the most. Give me a Zeiss compact lens kit and a Red Dragon and I am one happy guy!
- You’re also part of Text Dater. How did that come about?
The owner of the company really liked my work and we spoke about working together for a while after he saw the trailer for my film, The Busker and the Princess.
- If you had the chance, which director and actor/actress would you love to work with and why?
Director? Hmm, I would have to say Cameron Crowe as I want to make films like Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, etc. Like myself, music is key in his films and I would love to shoot one of his movies and be on set with him—I think I would learn a lot for sure. Love letters to something he calls his films, I think some of mine capture the same type of moments. Richard Linklater is another director whose films I can relate to. If I could work with one actor/actress, it’s got to be Megan Fox!
- What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into directing, acting, or even screenwriting?
It’s so hard—only do it if you’re serious. I’m not sure what advice I would give but I not a fan of “Filmmakers” who do more talking about it in coffee shops than actually making/writing anything. There is a big culture of that in London—don’t be that. In this digital age, you can be so much more.
- What is NEXT for Damien Swaby?
Filming a wedding, finishing the first draft edit for the TextDater commercial, prepping for the TextDater live event, and buying a new camera soon—the Canon XF100.
Photo Credit: Vimeo/Instagram(Damien Swaby Accounts)