Stories! Everyone has one … and we need more. 2020 has shown us that stories are an essential source of entertainment and enlightenment.
The events of 2020 have also shown the importance of training storytelling professionals living in all parts of the country and connecting them to the appropriate decision makers so more stories can be told and seen.
Throughout December we published a series of impact stories from many of our talented alumni who told us how NSI training transformed their lives and careers.
We’ve loved doing this! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these stories as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing them. Read the whole series.
As we approach the end of the 2020 giving season, it’s my great pleasure to share one last story and remind you that there are just a couple of days left to make a donation in support of NSI’s students and receive a charitable tax receipt.
Darren recently completed his NSI training this year, and is already in development with CBC on his show, Dwayne Has Issues. Darren was recently named one of Playback’s 10 to Watch – an initiative recognizing 10 up-and-coming Canadians in the film and broadcast industry.
Through his NSI training, Darren was able to connect with like-minded creatives who have helped guide him and his producing partner through the development of their TV series concept. NSI inspired Darren to be confident in his own voice and become a better storyteller.
There is no question – 2020 has been a difficult year for many. As we close out this year and open the doors to a fresh one, I’m pleased to share Darren’s story with you. It’s an inspirational one that will leave you with hope and eager to see his unique and brilliantly funny comedy series on a screen near you.
Thank you for your support. Happy New Year!
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If you could describe your experience with NSI in three words what would they be, and why?
Exceptional – The lessons I’ve learned from the NSI Totally Television program have been career-altering.
Intense – The workload and demands have challenged me to be a better and more well-rounded creative and producer.
Transformative – I came into the program with a sense of who I was as a creative but I leave with a clear sense of who I am and what I’m capable of doing as a creative and producer.
How did your training through NSI help you get to the place you’re at in your career today?
The training I received through the NSI Totally Television program supported me in multiple ways, the most significant being the support I received through developing my TV series, mentorship, direct industry and broadcaster contacts.
How did your instructors, mentors, and peers influence you to become a better storyteller?
They all essentially supported me by asking the tough questions and forcing me to break down all aspects of my story. They also gave me direct contact to industry professionals. Their guidance and support gave me a lot of confidence and it truly inspired me to become a better storyteller.
What advice or encouragement would you give a prospective applicant considering NSI programs?
Do it! If you’re a creative looking to take your career to the next level, then I would urge you to apply to any of the NSI programs. Not only does the program connect you with other like-minded creatives but it also supports you with the resources/mentors you need to be successful in the film and television industry here in Canada and abroad.
What has your career trajectory looked like between when you completed training and now?
I continue to evolve as a storyteller. Before starting the program I did not even have a potential broadcaster, now I have a development deal with them.
What was the most transformative part of your learning experience?
I now have a clear understanding of how I can get the stories/projects I want to tell to the world and I have the confidence to do it.
What skills did you acquire in your course that you did not have before?
I learned how to pitch myself and my projects confidently. I’ve become more resourceful: I now have a full rolodex of people in the film and television industry that I can connect with directly to provide guidance and support.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
We’re in development with CBC on my family sitcom, Dwayne Has Issues. And I’m currently adapting my play, Secrets of a Black Boy, into my first feature film.
Where can people find out more about your work online?
Follow me on Facebook or Instagram. My new website, playingwithcrayons.com will be up early next year.
What is your favourite Canadian film, and why?
I would say Love, Sex and Eating the Bones, directed by Sudz Sutherland. It was the first time I’d seen a Black Canadian romantic comedy, it really inspired me to want to create like that. The writing by Sudz and Jennifer Holness was innovative and very witty and the acting was on point too.
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At NSI, we’re passionate about nurturing storytellers because stories connect us all.
Please consider a donation to support our talented students as part of your charitable giving. Big or small, your gift will provide value-added essentials that enhance their training experience.
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