With 4 multi-award-winning projects for 7 Evils, Just By Chance, Out On A Limb, and “Still Got The Juice,” circulating throughout the film festival circuit globally. Antoinette continues to walk her path to success by creating stories with the content of everyday life mixing truth with fiction for all cultures to enjoy.
Can you tell us who Antoinette Fernandez is?
Great question… though this might be tough to answer, being that I am a Gemini… lol, but I’ll do my best to give a short version of who Antoinette Fernandez is. I am a woman who comes from a very diverse family. Though I was born in America, my family comes from a little island in the Cape Verde Islands called Fogo- Cape Verde is an island off the coast of Africa. You have to go to a Cape Verdean festival one day, the food, the music, the culture is absolutely amazing.
I grew up with musicians, writers, and singers in my family. I was always taught by my aunt to know my worth, to give 110% in everything I do, and to always treat others how I like to be treated — and most of all never to allow the pains from my childhood or relationships with others rather personal or business to affect how I excel in life. I live by that.
What ignited your interest in screenwriting?
Actually, my aunt who was like a second mother to me who recently passed away was a published author and at the time I did the music. I wanted to be this big rap star. However, the songs I wrote were not like a mainstream artist. I was writing more pain than club bangers… and one day my aunt said to me… “I strongly believe your calling is to be a writer, not a rap artist.”
I was so mad at her for I didn’t understand why she would try to deter me from what I was so passionate about and very good at. I won an award for Best Female Rap Artist in my hometown (Boston) .. so why would she want me to stop at such a high point in my life. She would later explain to me that I should get into filming and use my songs as a tool to write short scripts.
Unfortunately, I would face the tragedy of losing my sister to cancer — and that alone would take every breath of passion I had for music away. My sisters’ death killed my spirit, killed any drive I had to exist… until… a guy my sister knew introduced me to a guy who really sparked a flame in me to live again. That very moment I found writing not only as my calling but as a way to heal from my sisters’ death.
Can you tell us about your first screenwriting project?
Absolutely! My sisters’ death actually inspired my very first project which is called “Still Got The Juice”. In her memory, I have her on the poster of our latest episode called “When I Knew You”. “Still Got The Juice” is about losing yourself only to find your way again. It’s based in the late ’90s, it’s fun yet heartbreaking at times, though full of meaning and diversity, and has received Critics Choice Award in a few film festivals, which was awesome.
What would you consider your creative muse when writing that lets you know that this project is going to be amazing?
If I can’t stop writing when I start a project… I know it’s going to be something special. The characters will keep coming from every direction and then you just know this is it!
As a multi-award-winning screenwriter for four projects, can you tell us what it means to you to receive the news for your hard work?
It’s still so surreal… I never imagined winning over 60 awards in 6 months… though I know it’s all God’s plan… I still can’t explain the feeling. I wake up every day like WOW! Though I remain humble and thankful for all the amazing opportunities I have and will receive.
Can you tell us a bit about the process for writing the “7 Evils”, “Just By Chance”, “Out On A Limb”, and “Still Got The Juice” which are circulating throughout the film festival circuit globally?
The process is tedious though similar for every project. Each story is different. However, once I know what the story will entail, I then set out on my journey of research. I make sure that the dialogue I use for each character holds truth to how they speak and act.
Are the obstacles and goals I create for these characters believable? Once I have my story done, I then record an audio version of it. I act out all the parts, I add theme music, etc. I play it back and study it. I then have a table read with actors for feedback. All this helps me with the process of creating amazing stories.
What’s something that keeps you grounded while writing?
Ongoing training, I love learning, I am a humble person, and I know never to stop studying just because you’ve won awards. The bar is raised even higher once you start winning.
How do you maintain your work/life balance?
(Laughs) … it’s tough … If I am not working my day job, I am working on my film projects. So, I don’t have much of a social life at this time.
For individuals that are looking to study, start or even work within your area of expertise, what advice could you provide them?
Always be professional. Study as much as you can. Be patient for nothing happens overnight. Do not take rejection personally. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do. You can learn so much from people who have already been where you want to be. And the number one rule…. Never give up on yourself and leave your personal problems and ego HOME!
How can people connect with you and everything you have going on?
All images courtesy of Antoinette Fernandez