Film and television were my first loves. I'd somehow learned, at a very early age, that there were people, with jobs that made these images flash across the screen. I became obsessed with the fact that someone wrote the words the characters spoke, that someone moved the cameras around and someone else decorated the sets. I've never had the desire to be in front of the camera, but for as long as I can remember I've always wanted to work behind it.
I must warn you: I absolutely lucked my way into the film business.
I wanted to go to NYU Film School, but apparently not enough to get the application in on time. I ended up attending Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia--solely based on the fact that my cousin was a professor there. With no film program, I ended up majoring in English with a minor in Mass Communications.
After graduation, I was immediately hired as the Producer/Director/Editor for VSU’s television station. I'd resolved to work there for a few years, saving up my pennies and then moving to New York to pursue my film career.
I couldn’t believe it! Film was coming to me!
I was devising a plan to get in with the studio when I received a call from their General Manager. In need of interns for an event, they'd called inquiring about mine. My answer? Absolutely…as long as I could come, too.
Over the course of the next few years the Reid's, along with their General Manager Martin C. Jones, generously took me under their wing. With over 30 years of experience, they had shared their stories--the good and the bad--helping me to build a solid understanding of the film business. Alongside practical work, of course. While I was with them I served as their Assistant Director, Associate Producer and I was even given a few of the smaller projects to direct.
In between projects with the studio, I was able to work on other shows filming within the greater Richmond area. It was during one of these movies, Sally Hemings: An American Scandal, that I met Larry Gilliard, Jr., who was an actor on the film.
We became fast friends and would often have conversations about where we saw our futures in the film business. I told him about my goals to produce and he shared with me his love of writing. After reading one of his scripts I was thrilled to find that, not only was he a talented actor, but he was also an amazing writer.
With a desire to produce his own scripts, he asked if I would be willing to move to New York and be a part of it. Again, I couldn’t believe it. Making movies and living in New York were my two biggest dreams.
Months after the film wrapped, Larry called to tell me he'd filed the papers for Silver Springs Media Group. I now had zero doubt that he was serious about getting his projects made. I had no idea how I was going to make it happened, but I told him I'd move to New York by March 1st.
On February 28th I was in a U-Haul with all of my belongings and $300 to my name.
While pitching and trying to raise money for projects, I took work as a production assistant on various NYC based projects. I eventually moved into the accounting department where I still freelance.