I consider it a privilege that I get to learn, grow, and share, as I discover new projects and talent. The entertainment industry’s track record when it comes to diversity and inclusion is abysmal. So, when I have an opportunity to love-on two African-Amerian women — Meagan Good and Tamara Bass — who directed the new independent film, “If Not Now, When?”, well, I could not say no.
Meagan Good and Tamara Bass are best known as actresses so it’s an unusual turn that they decided to step behind the camera as co-directors bringing to life the story of four friends, who met in high school and are bonded by an event, are suddenly forced back together when one of them suffers a crisis. It’s a story of love, forgiveness, and the incredible bond between women. Bass also wrote the screenplay. Good and Bass also appear in the film.
Meagan Good has been a working actress for a long time. Her most recent credits include starring in the DC Comics film “Shazam!,” “The Intruder,” and “Monster Hunter.”
Tamara Bass credits include recurring roles on “The Fugitive,” and “Boston Public” and guest-starring roles on “Any Day Now,” “Moesha,” “Sliders,” “Haunted,” and “Cedric the Entertainer Presents.”
“If Not Now, When?” is Bass’ feature film debut. It premiered at American Black Film Festival and was nominated for the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay (for Tamara), and Best Director (shared with Meagan Good). Bass has just wrapped directing “Don’t Waste Your Pretty” for TV One, which will premiere in 2021. The film, inspired by the book of the same name, stars Keri Hilson, Deborah Joy Winans, and Redaric Williams.
“If Not Now, When?” stars Meagan Holder, Mekia Cox, Tamara Bass, and Meagan Good, which available on On Demand and Digital on January 8, 2021.
Here is what co-directors, Meagan Good and Tamara Bass, had to share about making “If Not Now, When?”
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: What’s “If Not Now, When?” really about?
MEGAN GOOD & TAMARA BASS: When something great happens in our lives, we pick up the phone and call our best friends, our “sisters”. And when something goes horribly wrong, we pick up the phone and dial the same number. Yet, those experiences, those relationships have been missing from the screen for so long. It’s as if the only relationships that exist between Black women are ones of competition and/or mentor-mentee. It’s been a void in the showcasing of the very relationships that drive our everyday life. When Tamara wrote “If Not Now, When?” and presented it as a project that could mark Krazy Actress Productions’ first feature film, we knew that we were putting into the world, not only the type of movie that shaped us but the type that represented the films we wanted to contribute to the community. Coming together, we discussed how we witnessed a void in the slice of life films that happen to showcase people of color. Particularly women of color. We knew that we were represented recently in the comedy genre and had played second fiddle to men for years. But, having our stories be front and center in a heartfelt drama, hadn’t been seen since “Waiting to Exhale.” And we were due. Women are consumers too! Hence the voyage of “If Not Now, When?” was born. For us, this film represents more than just a chance for Black actresses to play lead roles, side-by-side; it represents a shift in storytelling. If we can break through the barriers of only being seen in a particular light, we believe we have the ability to change the way our stories are told from here on out. And while we understood this journey was filled with lofty ambitions, we knew that we possessed the skills, determination, and drive to make that goal a reality. The end result is a film filled with a lot of love, heart, and a love letter to our sisterhood.
LAS: Gotcha! So — I’m interested in the business part of this story. How did the financing come together?
MG: It’s interesting how it happened. There were a few different people that wanted to make the movie but they really wanted to be in control of some of the things that we really wanted to keep the integrity of and, so, initially we had started raising the money on Kickstarter and it went through a four-year process.
LAS: Yikes, four years.
MG: It was actually my sister that found the investor that was this young, 25-year-old guy and we pitched the project to him and before we even got to fully through the pitch, he stopped us and he said, ‘Stop, you had me at Black women.’ He ended up the sole investor. It was really about someone believing in us and believing in the vision that we had. And understanding what we wanted to put out in the world. We really got the best-case scenario that you can possibly think of.
LAS: He trusted you both.
MG: Yes, he trusted us. It was a unique experience creating the exact movie that we wanted to create without anyone telling us what to do. We really were the bosses.
LAS: I love that Megan. I love that.
MG: We produced everything, just the two of us.
LAS: Wait. Hold the line, darling girl. You also star in “If Not Now, When?”. You both co-directed “If Not Now, When?” and now, you are sharing that you were both producers on “If Not Now, When?” Well, hello 2021! What made you want to co-direct?
TB: When we first set out to do the movie, we were making our rounds around town, we were going into those meetings with the idea of co-directing. It had never been done before and we knew it was such a unique experience. We knew how hands-on we would be as producers and it felt like a natural progression. It’s never been done before and everyone thinks we are crazy anyway — let’s do it!
LAS: I feel there is more to this story Tamara Bass. Am I right or am I, right?
TB: As we got further along, we thought let’s give another Black woman this opportunity [to direct] so we hired Tanya Hamilton but when we went to make her deal, she had already accepted another gig which was going to take her out of our production window for the whole time. She was bummed. We were bummed so when we went back to the drawing board, to try to come up with other directors, there was no one that we both agreed on that could replace Tanya Hamilton and her vision so we went back to our original plan.
LAS: Which was to co-direct “If Not Now, When?”. What did you learn in this process?
MG: That her strengths are my weaknesses and my weaknesses are her strengths.
LAS: Deep. Love it, love it!
MG: We trust each other.
LAS: I’m impressed with the level of talent that’s assembled in this film. It’s near a perfect 10. Who did the casting? Did you both do the casting?
MG: No, we didn’t cast the film.
TB: No, we used a casting director that happened to have cast both of us before. Her name is Kim Hardin.
LAS: Kim Hardin, she’s excellent!
TB: (laughing) Yes, Kim Hardin and Kimberly McCollum.
LAS: Wait. Hardin’s teamed up with McCollum?
TB: (laughing) No, I was an intern in Kimberly’s office before. They work together sometimes and this was their first joint project.
LAS: I am so excited that there is a young, producing, directing pair of African American women. This is brilliant. Do you hear me, brilliant? And this news and should be celebrated. To that end, I will take my time in letting people know exactly where they can watch “If Not Now, When?”.
TB & MG: Thank you.
LAS: You are welcome.
“If Not Now, When?” is available on January 8 on the following VOD/Digital Platforms: Cable/Sat/Telco, Comcast, Directv, Cox, Charter / Time Warner Dish, Verizon, Frontier, Shaw, Telus, Rogers, Bell, Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon Video
VUDU, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, FandangoNow, and Redbox On Demand.