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Jamaican actress Shauna Chin pursues screenwriting

Published:Monday | June 22, 2015 | 6:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Jamaican actress Shauna Chin.

Following her role on the hit TV series, Criminal Minds, back in February, Jamaican actress and Goodwill ambassador, Shauna Chin is trying her hand at screenwriting.

Chin, who was named among the list of film-makers whose script will be produced for the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival (JFF) slated to start next month, told The Gleaner, that she is fully focused on getting her own work out there.

"Right now I'm focusing a lot on creating my own film projects," she said. "The Jamaica Film Festival is an amazing opportunity where screenwriters are able to submit their scripts and have them reviewed by industry professionals. If your script is accepted, not only is feedback provided, but with all of Jampro's resources behind you, it's a perfect opportunity for success." Her entry, Reprisal, centres on a vengeful detective who is determined to seek justice for the loss of her fiancÈ and unborn child, but complications arise when the guilty ones may be her only remaining loved ones.

Jamaicans, however, may have to wait a while longer to see Chin's work materialise, as the project was put on hold because of financial constraints. Despite this, Chin is determined to make the film a reality in the near future.

"The incompletion of my project intended for screening at the JFF doesn't mean it will be terminated," she explained. "I was simply faced with a very hard decision to not continue with the deadline due to current financial resources." Keen on bringing about a quality production, Chin says she is happy with her decision. "Racing to the deadline could risk the quality of the production and as my first major directorial debut, I am more comfortable with screening the completed project at a later date, as this gives me and my production team more time to gather the financial resources needed to get it done right."

In the meantime, the actress is busy with her YouTube web series titled, 'The Skinny on Hollywood'. "It is on my YouTube channel and it is intended to teach Caribbean actors how to break into the film and television industry in Hollywood," she explained. "Currently, there are eight episodes of the series uploaded and I'm in the middle of finalising the scripts for the next season".

Chin also revealed that she has been reading a few scripts for roles that she has been offered, but said she has not yet made any decisions on any of them. "At a certain point in the game it's important not to attach your brand to just any project," she said. "As an actor, it's important to decide at an early stage, if your goal is to be in many film/tv projects, or if your goal is to be known for quality projects. Quality takes a lot more time to accomplish and that's the phase I'm in currently".

End of an era

The actress who is known for her role as Claudine Blackburn (sister of Jennifer Blackburn and fiancÈ of Richard Blackburn) on local television series, The Blackburns, expressed sadness at the ending of an era, as The Blackburns will no longer air on television.

"Unfortunately, the Mediamix production, The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate, has ended. I love my 'Blackburns' family, so it was difficult to learn that the production was ending. However, we have all developed a great camaraderie, so we all still communicate on one level or another."

Chin expressed that funding was one of the main reasons behind the show's end. "The director, Lennie Little-White, chose to keep the production on air this long because of the great necessity for our own Jamaican stories to be told on our screens. However, again in this situation, funding was greatly reduced and the production was very difficult to maintain." She went on to say that the ending of the show doesn't mean Jamaicans won't be seeing her on local television, as she will join the cast of another local project if the right opportunity presents itself.

shereita.grizzle@gleanerjm.com