#CreatePreneurAfrica, Chinaka Iwunze from the Continent of Profound Storytellers

Chinaka Iwunze's purpose driven calling led her life pathway on a soul creative storytelling journey from page seeded conceptualization into moving picture motion - the world of creators, writers and storytellers. 

Her ongoing challenge is to be heard and never let trudges deter her from her universe defined destiny in the world of ongoing storytelling innovation. 

Chinaka Iwunze , screenwriter of ‘Looking For Love’ :  a recent film that premiered in South African cinemas nationwide on August 31, 2018, featuring a renowned cast including Lilian Dube ,Celeste Ntuli,  and Trevor Gumbi

MFA film graduate: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism: University of Westminster, London

 

Her work is encapsulated on several established and growing platforms including:

She is actively involved in creative writing teams for internationally distributed shows such as a miniseries for Ebony Life Channel,  acquired by Sony Television Pictures (pre-production) , as well as Bedford Wives, an SABC TV series currently available on Amazon.

  • 2014 : Jack Nicholson award for  Screenwriting
  • 2015: Ron Baham Memorial Fellowship in Comedy
  • 2016 : DISCOP pitching competition for the TV category.

Chinaka also teaches TV Writing at AFDA Johannesburg, one of the
top film and television schools in Africa.

Meet #CreatePreneurAfrica, Chinaka Iwunze on her visual journey from page to screen

Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?
After years of thinking I know the answer to this question and then realising I haven’t the faintest clue, I think I may have come somewhat close to an answer to what truly drive me or what my true passion in life is and that is: happiness.
Happiness should be the beginning and the end of every journey. The problem is that we as people have an idea of what we think drives us and we make a move for it but what we don’t realise is that we are fighting against our natural, organic happiness.
Happiness does not always come as we have imagined it and so we fight it, instead of letting it happen… But if by passion you mean my career then that would be visual storytelling!
How did you find your passion and how old were you?
I was five years old when my passion found me. I used to go around with a note book which my parents made sure to replace when I ran out of pages. I wrote stories, very random stories.
However, it was when I was doing my undergraduate degree that I was able to pinpoint and focus my passion to film and television. I knew I wanted to see my stories on the screen – big and small.
Passion comes in two phases: 1.) Fate – where God puts the purpose… the calling… the ideas in your heart and no matter how much you fight it, you will never have peace until you answer to it.
2.) Destiny – where once you have answered the calling to be a storyteller, a creator then you make things happen. Force people to notice you, hear you and never let ignorance from others or fear deter you. It’s not easy.
What about your passion appeals to you the most? 
The spiritual side to it. I am someone who naturally wants to be in control of things and writing and creating has taught me that there’s a natural process to things.
You cannot rush the process. It’s interesting how when you are writing and you realise there’s a greater power at hand when suddenly the plot and characters suddenly come together so organically, so deliciously you want to jump on your table and do the shoki while crying at the same time.
What drove you to make money from your passions?
I had no choice. Like I said, it was a calling. When you are constantly receiving ideas – even in the middle of the night, at some point you have to ask yourself what will you do with them.
At first I engaged with it for my pleasure and then I met people that helped me realise that I could make money from it and I decided to walk that path.
It is not an easy path and that’s why I know there’s a greater power at hand. It is by the grace of this higher power, of God that I am able to keep going. And of course the support from my family has been everything.
When was the first time you were paid for your passion?
When I came back from film school, I got my first writing gig with Ebony Life channel. That was in 2016. I wrote for Fifty The Series.
What kept you going when you thought about giving up?
I remember the day I watched the Lord of the Rings and as I sat and watched the end credits roll up the screen, I cried. I cried, not because I loved it so much (which I did) but because all I could think about was that I should be part of those names on the end credits.
I should be sharing stories with the world too. I need to be telling stories. So whenever I want to quit I remember this. I know that my heart will feel a void if I quit and that’s not a nice feeling.
What motivates you every day to be even more successful?
My family, mentors and friends who have been so supportive of me. I want to be successful for them, for myself, for God.
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?
“Watch this space. This show has just begun!”
What advice do you give to aspiring creatives who look up to you?
My advice is: always say yes to opportunities that will allow you to showcase yourself. Keep your mind open but alert. There are many opportunities, both good and bad.
You need to know that you will be burnt along the way but always remind yourself of why you want to create and keep creating!
Never stop.  Also keep speaking to people and don’t wait for someone to help you out, if you need to cold call a company or someone, do it! You are your best agent!