Sky’s the limit for Stratford filmmaker Natasha Adams as her series hits Amazon Prime
PUBLISHED: 17:12 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:12 05 March 2020
Independent filmmaker Natasha Adams has had a busy five years. At 25 she began filming and editing athlete showreels while working at a gym. At 28 she filmed season one of web-series Growin Pains when pregnant with her first child.
Months later Natasha filmed season two alongside tending to her poorly daughter. Now aged 30, Natasha, of Stratford, has filmed three series of Growin Pains and has two films ready for release.
At the end of a hectic five years is the breakthrough Natasha has been seeking; Growin Pains is on Amazon Prime. Throughout our interview it's clear that Natasha really understands the gravity of this achievement, and what it could mean for the future: "Things like this don't happen to people like me - I didn't go to uni and study film. My life took a turn and I worked hard consistently. Who would've thought I would have a show on Amazon Prime? Not me."
Natasha describes Growin Pains as "exactly what it says on the tin; it's about growing up and facing the ups and downs we go through, all from an east London standpoint."
She remarks that, as a homage to her school days, the show essentially wrote itself. Natasha did have to update the storylines and address an odd casting quirk: "I went to an all-girls school, but when I was casting there weren't enough females, so I changed some of the characters to men."
The cast of six filmed series one against the clock as Natasha had discovered she was pregnant. Natasha explains the effort required to film and edit 10 episodes in six months: "I've got pictures of me holding a camera with this big belly out in the street - it's very guerrilla style."
Season two was filmed while Natasha's daughter was in hospital. She considers this the best season; filming offered a helpful catharsis. Amazon shared this view, adding the episodes to its Prime service.
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The irony isn't lost on Natasha, who is grateful something so positive came from a tumultuous time. Carried by the momentum of a strong season, she and the cast — now 17-strong — filmed the third and final season of Growin Pains.
When asked about the expanding cast, Natasha said: "I got excited. I wanted to help everyone in the community. I remember when I didn't know what to do - I would've loved someone to take me under their wing."
Growin Pains was already developing a cult following before Amazon's interest. Natasha recalls a funny moment where she stood anonymously as one of the cast got recognised in Stratford.
This has started to change; someone recently pitched Natasha for a role in a nightclub. Though she questions the appropriateness of the venue, Natasha is pleased.
It's clear she is very proud of Growin Pains, particularly the fact that it doesn't just focus on stereotypical topics: "I've seen enough of gun crime, knife crime, drugs - I'm over it. I'm all about social issues; I watched a lot of web-series before I started this. All of them were very much about that culture. Though Growin Pains touches on these issues, it isn't the full series."
Natasha has taken that passion into her next venture — short films "Time to Collect" and "Infatuation" (on debt and mental health) — are ready for release, having been produced with funding that very few get.
Natasha hopes Growin Pains will be the catalyst for further opportunities, bringing with them the chance to become more than a one-woman band: "if I can do this by myself, imagine what I could do with a team."
With or without a team, Natasha is destined to achieve. She's currently in talks with Channel 4, with Netflix the pinnacle: "I'm trying to develop a new style of writing for Netflix - that's where I'm aiming. I would like to show young kids to aim for the stars - I don't think I had this drive until I had my daughter, but I wish I had aimed that bit higher when I was young."
Natasha has an impatience typically shared by the successful; she wants it all, and quickly. The filmmaker always knew Growin Pains had great potential. With the backing of a world powerhouse, the possibilities for the series and its writer are vast.
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