Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Rice and Morgan Shaginaw.
Jordan and Morgan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Jordan Rice: My roots in this industry are in acting. A role that I am still so grateful I portrayed was being the last girl on the screen of the Four Little Girls in Ava DuVernay’s movie, Selma. Being in that movie introduced me to the entire experience of film and acting. It showed me while I was acting that a female of color could direct such a powerful movie. I would’ve never thought that I would be following in her footsteps just a few years later.
Morgan Shaginaw: My most memorable work as a crew member is my experience on the set of All Of Me, Directed by Richard Hempton. On this set, I started as one of three production assistants and worked my way up to 2nd 2nd assistant director. I was able to get a taste of each department and its requirements, as well as become a leader and point person. This was my first experience as an AD, and it was a major inspiration for me to take on a producer position on the set of STAINED. Our film tells the story of a teenage girl who is sexually assaulted and eventually raped.
We took from current events in our society and experiences of friends and family to form the idea for our story. The film didn’t actually start out with this topic. We juggled around with a few different ideas, all centering around social justice issues. It wasn’t until about a month into script writing when we finally had our story in place for STAINED.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Morgan Shaginaw: Our journey has been anything but smooth. There have been many ups and downs, arguments, roadblocks, and much more. The time we felt has the most obstacles was the battle of getting people to realize that we are young people running a professional set.
Coming into this, we were fully aware that the concept of teenagers making an indie short film would be hard for some to take seriously. Part of the intimidating part of the process was having to work with people we had never met before.
Jordan Rice: The perception could be, “They won’t be organized or professional.”
However the members of our cast and crew who had worked with us before expected anything but that. The people who hadn’t, quickly realized that we take our work with the utmost seriousness. When it came to location scouting, we met a lot of closed doors because of our age. People didn’t trust teenagers to take care of their workspace. Our aim was to work to eliminate the stigma that young people cannot execute in a responsible way.
Morgan Shaginaw: Overall, we want our work to be viewed in an inspiring manner. The only way that would happen is if we were leading a strong team. This project made it apparent that our professionalism outshines our age when it comes to filmmaking.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about STAINED – what should we know?
Jordan Rice: We are very unique because we are teen actors in the Atlanta film community who have directed and produced. STAINED is not a student film, but an independent project that was made by actors. There are very few Atlanta teens who can say they have produced and directed on an efficient and professional film set. There are also a few actors who can say that they’ve experienced being both actors and directors. We both have taken inspiration from our mentors, who were found in our crew.
Morgan Shaginaw: Because this was our first rodeo, we wanted to keep our mentors close while maintaining a level of authoritative independence. This gave us a cushion if we got swamped, and a voice of reason when we hit uncharted territory. All in all, our set was unique because it was run by efficient teens who know the industry.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Jordan Rice: A person on our team that stands out is Nyah Bass. Nyah was our 1st assistant director (AD), and she is also a teenager. It didn’t matter how many work calls Morgan and I made, or how many hours we spent on that call, Nyah was there for it all. She provided a voice of reason, and presented us with happy mediums when we disagreed on certain topics. Her position as AD required so much planning, and she would continuously go above and beyond without fail. I speak for both Morgan and I when I say that STAINED would not have been possible without her.
Andrene Rozier, Michael Justice, Andrene Rozier, Dana Rice, Robert Vardaros, Alex Kettle