Her ‘Morning Wood’ is invading Hollywood

Tuesday April 19 2016

Tanzanian screenwriter Angela Ruhinda PHOTO I

Tanzanian screenwriter Angela Ruhinda PHOTO I COURTESY 

By Esther Karin Mngodo

For some people, it takes a lifetime to find their passion in life. That wasn’t the case for Tanzanian screenwriter Angela Ruhinda who spends her time between the US and Tanzania. Having attended high school in Nairobi, Kenya, Angela was always focused on humanities and the arts. 

She was involved in school productions and English Literature was her favourite subject. In 2010, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Film in the UK. Afterwards, she applied to film school - the New York Film Academy. 

She attended its’ campus in Los Angeles, a city she always wanted to pursue her dreams in. Angela graduated in 2012 and has been writing since then. She self-published her first poetry chapbook titled ‘Love’ this year. 

She says it is a ‘cute take’ on modern love and relationships. A book of descriptions of what she considers love to be in 2016. 

Although it’s tongue-in-cheek, Angela feels it’s also very accurate. Success talks to her about her work in film and poetry. 


How did you start your journey as a writer?

When I was a little girl, my father would make me read books frequently.  He would also take me to the bookstore every weekend to get more books. 

He encouraged literacy and writing at home and him being my biggest role model, I would always run ideas by him and take his advice. 

Writing is always something I wanted to do. When I was younger, I thought the only way to write was by becoming a journalist like my father or by writing novels. 

As I grew older, I was leaning towards novels. It was only when I studied film in university that I realised I could combine my love for writing with my love for film and television to become a screenwriter. It was a no-brainer. Applying to film school to study the craft was the best decision I ever made.

What is your writing process?

It depends on what I’m writing. I like to be isolated. I like to be in my own head with my thoughts. 

Typically, I write best during early mornings and late nights. I start with an idea, I write an outline, revise the outline and proceed with the script which will definitely have more than a few re-writes before someone tells me it’s done. 

Do you think that writing has changed you as a person? How so.

Through writing, I have learned about the complexities of human beings. All of my experiences inform my writing and it is always therapeutic for me.  

Has being away from home shaped your writing and perhaps the theme of migration/identity? How much of it has appeared in your work?

For most of my life, I’ve been living in different cities outside on my own and I think that has affected the way I write. I like to tell stories of people from different cultural backgrounds and different walks of life. For example, ‘Iman & Andy’, the pilot that I recently sold is about an inter-racial couple (African and Caucasian) who are based in the US. 

In my opinion, the concept isn’t outrageous but you’d be surprised how many people would think it’s a weird phenomenon. I don’t often see diverse representation on television and I’d like to be part of the solution. The things we watch should look like the world we live in.

Your show was recently nominated for an Award. Congratulations! Tell us more about that.

I submitted the second season of my web series (‘Morning Wood’) to LA Web Festival and it got accepted. In December they informed me that my show got nominated for three awards - Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Theme Song and Outstanding Writing. The winner has not been announced yet. 

The festival takes place at Warner Bros. studios on the weekend of April 22. The awards ceremony will be on Sunday April 24 and we’ll find out the results then. Wish us luck.

Has any of your shows aired on television yet?

I am currently in the US pitching. Nothing has aired as of yet but keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.