Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 9th 2014 Contents Novemer 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE | 5
By Onika Nkrumah-Lakhan
Make-up by Dianne John
Photo by Daren Johnson
PAULINE TAMIKA MARK is a petite powerhouse
wearing several hats. This multitalented "workaholic"
has embarked on her biggest production yet. Mark is
the writer, producer and one of the lead actresses in
the dark comedy, The Apartment. Based on the lives
of three angst-ridden roommates with a bag of issues,
The Apartment is the story of 'every woman' seeking
to carve our own niche in the world, and in search of
personal freedom from our respective demons.
WOW - What is the inspiration behind the three
"The three main characters are fictional, but they
represent what is going on with young women and
people in society. I wanted to imbue them with is-
sues and concerns that young women have to con-
front in a rapidly evolving society. My character,
Ayanna St. Clair is 'the Delusional'; she doesn't want
to follow the career path her parents have chosen
for her, and leaves a solid career to pursue one in the
Arts. Michelle Costa, played by Verena Siblal is 'the
Depressed' character, who comes from a family with
a history of depression, alcoholism and self-medica-
tion. Janelle Martin, portrayed by Jamie Lee Phillips,
is 'The Promiscuous', she's a victim of emotional and
sexual abuse, who has never met her biological fa-
ther. She masks the pain with her sparkly personal-
ity, but she self-mutilates. This character was loosely
inspired by Marilyn Munroe's life story, My Week
WOW - The series explores some difficult topics,
including incest, mental illness and addiction; how
"It's time we face our demons as people. I always feel
like Trinidad and Tobago is a place of 'pretty-but-hurt'
people...portraying such issues in a TV series, using
the genre of dark comedy, is a safe way to confront
them. The comedic elements are included to 'cushion
the fall'; it's 'survival laughter' ... you laugh, not to cry."
WOW - Is it difficult to focus on being creative as
an actress, when you have to think about mun-
dane things like sponsorship?
"YES! Absolutely, but in a strange way, it is rewarding
and helps me become more resourceful and creative.
It is very arduous to have to be your own business
manager and accountant. However, this is the state
of the local industry. All I need right now is two mil-
lion $TT to shoot the show. That is nothing, when
you think about it. In the US and elsewhere, actors
can relax and be 'pampered talent'. In Trinidad and
Tobago, we have to do it ALL ourselves. There is
NOTHING glamorous about being an actor here, be-
cause we are the proverbial 'hustlers'. But it builds
character and determination."
WOW - What are your thoughts on the local film
"It may seem as though the industry is thriving, be-
cause we are facilitating a lot of foreign crews and
productions. However, I think the foreign crews are
thriving. When last have we had a local TV series? I
grew up on Calabash Alley, No Boundaries and West-
wood Park. We need a locally-produced show that is
about Trinis. Local filmmakers are making films that
are predominantly 'shorts' or documentaries, be-
cause these types of productions are more afford-
able. In this resource-rich country, we shouldn't have
to be concerned about cutting costs in film and tele-
vision ... the fact that people can still call me and my
fellow actors and ask us to do work for free because
the production cannot afford to pay the performers
is a crying shame!"
WOW - Take us through the process of writing,
filming and producing for a TV series.
(Laughs out loud). "It's a mixture of headache, joy, re-
ward, sweat and tears. I started scripting
the series in 2012, but abandoned it after
I became disillusioned. I revisited it with
the assistance of Verena Siblal (my co-
producer and lead actor) earlier this year,
and immediately began to clean up the
old scripts and strengthen the story and
the concept. I then approached a local
crew and began conceptualizing and
scheduling a 'sizzle reel', a promotional
tool for sponsors and audiences. So far,
we have spent approximately $18,000.00
of our own money in development and
promotions. We are now approaching
sponsors and investors; that is the most
integral aspect ... it's an intense process."
WOW - What change would you like to
see in the local film industry?
"I would like to see mainly more financial
support from the corporate sector, and
more camaraderie among practitioners.
There is poetic irony in the fact that film-
making and television production is the
most expensive art form, but gets the
least amount of financial backing. I also
feel it's imperative for other members of
the local film and television industry to
collaborate, form a coalition, and sensi-
tize the powers that be."
• Check out The Apartment on
Facebook and @theApartment3
on Twitter or email theapart-
email@example.com. If you
would like to support the show
by way of sponsorship, contribu-
tions or partnership, contact
Watch and like The Apartment:
Girls Interrupted on YouTube. It
is directed by Juliette McCawley.
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