About Morenike Joela

 Morenike Joela is a Director, Writer and Creative Producer who is passionate about creating stories for TV & Film  that are compelling, provoking and have heart.

 

She recently directed episodes of three hit Disney series— Raven’s Home, Coop & Cami Ask The World and BUNK’d—along with “Family Reunion,” a NAACP Image Award winning, multi-cam comedy for Netflix.  She is one of only a handful of African-American women directors breaking barriers in the multi-cam TV space.

 

She also directed “Deadly Dispatch” a drama/suspense feature for TV One starring Tamala Jones and Dominique Perry that premiered in July 2019.

 

Her work directing Season 1 of the Google-funded digital series GODCOMPLX won the Jury Award at the 2017 Diversity En Cannes Short Film Showcase and earned her an Outstanding Director nomination at 2017 LA WebFest. 

 

She was promoted to Co-EP/Showrunner for Season 2 of GODCOMPLX where in addition to directing two episodes, she was responsible for shaping the new season’s storylines, running the writer’s room, managing the creative production and overseeing a slate of 4 other directors including Allen Maldonado and Malik Yoba. GODCOMPLX premiered on Amazon in May 2019. 

In 2018, Morenike Joela was one of 10 Writer/Directors nationwide selected by the Producers Guild of America to be a 2018 Master of Diversity Workshop Fellow for her original scripted  project “FAB,” which is now being considered to be produced by 2 major production companies. 

 

She transitioned to scripted television after an impressive career producing entertainment and cultural lifestyle programming for MTV News, BET, NBC, TNT, OWN, TV One and PBS. 

 

Originally from the DC area, Morenike started as a journalist freelancing for the Washington Post after a successful internship there as a general assignment reporter.  She’s a proud Prairie View A&M graduate and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. If she wasn’t working as a triple threat in the entertainment industry, she’d be Janet Jackson’s backup dancer, a detective, or an archeologist--in that order.

 

PROJECTS (MY MOJO!)

Family Reunion "Remember The Dance Battle" Clips

This show is the one that got me into the DGA and got me my agents! I was blessed that I got this episode, “Remember the Dance Battle” because dance is my first love and still near and dear to my heart -- and yes, I was on the award winning step team of my sorority while in college! So it  raised my passion and excitement for directing  the episode even more than it already was and I laid all the way in to directing the dance scenes so that they were powerful and funny. But this episode was also about something else—a mom trying to instill certain values in her child while dealing with her own issues and insecurities of competition, and a kid trying to navigate friendship.  I loved these scenes because they were at a critical point where the mom and kid had to make a decision. It was both a bonding moment and one that would be the source of a moment of growth for each of them. Bonus— I got to include a homage to THE  Debbie Allen, the director, dancer, producer and all around inspiring bad ass— in what I called my “fame costs” scene.  Enjoy!

GODCOMPLX 

Working on this show, was  a true blessing and one of the best experiences of my career for many reasons. We had a hugely diverse and female heavy crew—some 90% for both seasons.  The storylines we addressed, and working with bright talented up & coming actors was a dream come true. GodComplx was the first time I got to show everything I was made of as a creative on the scripted side by not only directing and writing episodes, but in Season 2 being the showrunner and running the writers room! I was part of every aspect of this series, from casting to post production, and all of my prior experience working on sets, working in the edit bay and delivering shows came into play as I stepped into this role. For both seasons, we had to squeeze over 90 pages of work into 6 days of production. I’m so proud of this series and what we accomplished. I’m so grateful to Claire Brown for seeing me and my potential when she hired me to take the helm of this series for Season 1.  This was a break through moment for me both personally and professionally.  Here’s a clip of…..It is now streaming on Amazon Video!

LITTLE PROMO SPOT

I had the opportunity to work with some of the Queens of TV, and I have to admit, I was feeling hella awkward! I’ve frequently been hired to direct brand campaigns for BET’s Ad Sales department. This particular time, I got an urgent call because they had a project promoting the hilarious movie Little, and knew they had to come correct and have some Black Girl Magic at the helm of the project. This was a crossover campaign, which means they used a BET Star (Lala Milan of Boomerang) to help promote the film. We shot it on the Universal lot. Issa Rae and Regina Hall were kind, hugely professiona l-- and yes they had jokes! Time was critical as they were on a promo tour, so there wasn’t a lot of room for bonding. I certainly didn’t scream, run and hug them, tell them how much I loved them and how huge of an inspiration they both were to my career while grinning and yelling at the top of my lungs….though of course I wanted to! I kept it professional. We got the job done. And hopefully the work speaks for itself.

Morenike Joela's DRAMA REEL

One thing about me as an individual is I LOVE television. I’m a huge fan and have been so since i was a child. I think that's a major asset to have as a director—to actually love the stories and characters you are bringing to the screen. It makes you more passionate, it makes you better able to direct the actors because you know there characters. It doesn’t matter that this is your first episode of the show. You’ve been with them the entire season in your living room.

 

While a lot of my work has comedy and wit as it’s center, I love a great drama that explores deep relationships OR that involves mystery and suspense. If there’s ever a time when all these factors collide to create a comedic suspense, then that’s my sweet spot.

 

This drama reel includes my work handling a bit of each of these issues. I try to take a personal approach to how the scenes are played and presented in my reel—even down to the music selection. Enjoy!