2020 has been a tough year for most of us, but one of the bright spots has been discovering new art and artists who have continued to create despite the obstacles this year has thrown our way. One of our faves is director Maya Table who has a long history of directing music videos but more recently stepped up her game with her own original projects about her Uncle Poochie, several short films (‘Dating App,’ ‘Reclaiming Nappy’ and ‘Hit The Road’) and some animated clips — including a Beyoncé/Tina Knowles joint that went viral. Global Grind’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden conducted a Q&A with the female filmmaker about how she used this time to transition into a more powerful position.
How did you get your start as a director?
I went to school at Georgia State University originally to be a dermatologist but I quickly found out that blood me want to throw up. so I changed my major to film and video. While I was there I learned about cameras and how to edit. Most of my projects looked pretty bad then but it was a great starting point.
What are some of the projects you’re most proud of?
My series on my Uncle Poochie, the vegan that dresses like a pimp. Someone at Harper’s Bazaar/ Condé Nast saw the series and then asked me to direct a piece for SELF magazine. Another project is the commercials I directed for Head & Shoulders because it was a dream come true.
What goals did you set when 2020 started?
My main goal was to focus on putting all of my energy into my directing career. I’ve been producing commercials and music videos for 15+ years but I’ve never really liked it. I did it for so long because it comes really natural to me, but it’s a stressful job.
How has work changed for you since March/lockdown?
It’s crazy because last year I really only worked like 5x. I wanted to only concentrate on building up my director’s portfolio so I turned down lots of producing jobs. I was super broke but I was happy to take the risk. This year I’ve been double booked most weeks since March. When lockdown happened I immediately thought “wow, this is the perfect time to start showing off my editing and animation skills.” Many clients started to hire me for edits or animation and then more started to hire me to direct.
I also started teaching online classes for directing, producing, editing and digital strategy. Last year was the first year in 10 years that I didn’t have any mentees but I really do love teaching and sharing my knowledge. My main goal for the classes was to help people gain skillsets that will help them always be able to make money.
How did you end up directing the video for Biden’s vote concert?
God be looking out! I got a call from the marketing genius Phillana Williams and I immediately knew she needed me to do something asap lol That’s usually how her requests go. She also knows that I’m with all the sh*ts so I’m down to fulfill her last minute requests. Sunday night at 11p she called me, Monday morning I submitted the treatment, Tuesday and Wednesday we filmed the performances. The edit was done by Friday.
What were the challenges of working with so many artists on that project?
We actually didn’t have any hiccups or challenges. Even though the turnaround time was extremely fast, the artist and their managers made the process really smooth.
What’s next for you?
I’m directing Season 2 of PBS’s “Say It Loud” so I’m really excited about that. And I’m hoping to get an agent really soon.
How do you think CoVid has changed production heading into 2021?
COVID safety is a been a whole production in itself. I’ve filmed 6 pieces during quarantine (Adidas, SELF, Apple, Stephen Colbert, Saucy Santana) and I don’t think productions will ever be the same. Safety is always number one on set but now Covid safety precautions is a production in itself. Getting crew tested, wiping down all equipment, washing hands continuously, hiring a Covid compliance officer and hiring a set medic are the new norm.
Love all this super informative and inspiring information. How have you gotten more creative during quarantine?
Follow @mayatable on social media and visit her website http://www.MayaTable.com