Skip to content

Grinding for My Art

Being a freelancer can be trying at times – the constant grind of hooping from job to job can be draining . But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working for myself and all the freedoms (and challenges) that comes with it.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

As I stated in my last post, I’ve spent the past few weeks jumping into the copywriting field. It has its stressful moments, but I enjoy using my storytelling capabilities to improve a company’s online presence and outreach. I feel like I’m finally using my gift for good. Speaking of good, I’ll have another announcement later this week pertaining to the gig I mentioned last (check out my socials). I still hope to carry on my journalistic work a I still look for a position where I can speak on contemporary issues through a Black lens. Hopefully, the demon known as COVID-19 will lose its grip in the future so I can hear from my other clients.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Pexels.com

Within the next month or two, I plan to put on my screenwriter hat again. I’m still waiting on some feedback from one or two beta readers. I want to begin the rewriting process by the time Nanowrimo comes around. Before that happens, I hope to start rewriting my action-adventure screenplay while i wait on my beta readers.

On the school front, I made it through my first online test of the semester (YAY!). I’m finally coming to the realization that I’m facing a huge learning curve when it comes to teaching online. Being an introvert, teaching online seemed like the best option during a pandemic. But I’m slowly starting to realize I actually miss communicating with my students one-on-one. I feel as if sometimes things get lost in translation online compared to face-to-face interaction. The pandemic is really taking a toll on the education system (some good, some bad, and some disastrous). On the bright side, I received my assignment for next Spring semester. Let’s hope 2021 is a better year for everyone all around!


Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Working on a Plan

It’s good to be back after taking a week off!

I have to admit I haven’t been as focused on my design work lately, It’s taken a backseat to other commitments I have going on. I’ve still been creative just in different ways. I recently acquired a few contract jobs that still keep me creative while making some much-needed funds. The jobs deal with writing, but it still taps into my creative expression.

While I’m enjoying my work, I hope to start doing my personal design work this week. I plan on doing more background work for both Brothas and Losing Valarie as I continue to focus on crafting their worlds – visually. Like any project, I’m all about the details so much of my time will be busy completing one while starting on the next one. Exteriors and interiors galore!

I hope before the end of the year to switch my focus from backgrounds to characters as I still need to focus on creating some more designs for both shows. I have some I’ve worked on, but I have yet to complete them. Others are just ideas. I need to find the time.

Once I’ve done enough work on my current work, I hope to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, freelance work is starting to pick back up with some potential prospects.

Sometimes, all the hard work leads to reward and relaxation.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Writing and Changing… and Changing and Writing

As a writer, sometimes, your goals can evolve based on your needs. While my core goals are still the focus, some of the immediate ones are being met in new and unexpected ways.

Lately, I’ve turned my attention from script writing to journalism and copywriting. Within the past few weeks, I began doing marketing and advertising copy for the blogging service Content Cucumber. So far, the experience has gone pretty well. I actually enjoy the work I’m doing as it allows me to do my favorite thing as a writer – tell a story. Through the agency, I have a steady stream of clients coming weekly. It’s nice to use my writing talents to improve someone’s company outreach rather than create content for click-bait. I might have another gig in the wings (fingers crossed for that one).

I’m still working with CBR for now. I hope to continue my journalistic journey as I pursue more positions. I want to tackle more pressing contemporary issues across various arenas at some point. I’m still waiting to hear about my status with one or two clients, but I know it’ll be awhile given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

Within the next few weeks, I plan to pick up my screenwriting again. I’m still waiting on some feedback from one or two beta readers. Hopefully, by the time November arrives, I’ll be in the process of rewriting for the umpteenth time. While I want to focus on my first two projects, I hope to start revising and rewriting my action-adventure screenplay by the end of the year. Along with screenwriting, I plan on finally writing a personal piece I’ve been thinking for a while.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

On the school front, my classes are barreling towards our first test. I’m still working out the kinks when it comes to teaching online. The effects of COVID-19 has impacted my students as well as fellow faculty in this early stage. Things may return to normal next semester, but given the trouble many college campuses are having, it might be stretch, to say the least.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Business…Man!

2020 has thrown everyone for a loop. Despite all the chaos and ominous events, I finally reached one of my long-term goals – I officially have an LLC! Taking this creative journey has tested both my will and patience as I faced some unexpected barriers. Getting the funds to finally register my buisness has been a long two-year process. Between big bills and unexpected expenses, I had to prioritize other needs over my dream. Then, there’s “it that shall not be named” threw off my first quarter plans. But eventually, some help from the Small Business Administration allowed me to get the process started. Of course, while I waited to hear about my registration, I began marketing Patreon and Etsy pages as another way to get funds flowing in for future projects.  Now as an official creative business, I can really start bringing in a client base and pursuing my passion. Being creative during this “thing” has been draining and trying to say the less. But finally getting my LLC started has been one of a few bright spots for me this year. Now, I can get the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. I’ll update you when that starts coming together.
man wearing black crew neck t shirt using black headphones reading book while sitting

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, more freelance opportunities have been coming my way. The pandemic had put a stop to my freelance work for a while, but with the economy slowly reopening, more people are willing to hire freelancers and independent contractors. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base. I’m still working on my personal projects as I mentioned before. After a month or so of teasing, I’ll be putting up some of my work pretty soon.

Writing to Survive in 2020

2020 has been a trying year, to say the least. As a freelancer, growth, and change have become my mantra when it comes to expression. But survival has become my motto as the year has brought continual blows.

As a writer, survival has become a way of life as I chose to take my career into my hand. Unbeknownst to me, 2020 would rain on my parade quite a bit with the catastrophic situation after situation. It put me in an awkward position as I tried forging a freelance career. Surviving came before my craft as I began experiencing difficulties when it came to finding and maintaining freelance work. I began doubting myself and my abilities.

This affected all aspects of my writing. Coming back to do this blog was a challenge in itself as I had gotten stuck in a certain style of writing. This blog was my way of surviving while my contract work started falling (and in some cases, draining me). This place became my haven and purpose when it came to expressing myself. I felt stifled in other areas of my life. But my voice came back as soon as I started writing this blog again.

Another thing that brought me joy is my screenwriting. Despite taking a break at this time, writing my projects has given me a sense of peace (as well as some anxiety). Writing dialogue. Planning out scenes. Developing characters. That’s my thing. It’s my calling, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I wait for some feedback, I’ll get back into scriptwriting before NaNoWriMo happens.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet. Recent social media campaigns are starting to pique people’s interest. I recently started a new writing job with another possible one on the horizon.

On the school front, the Fall semester has been quite a ride so far. Getting used to teaching online and new students have been an undertaking, to say the least. The effects of COVID-19 has impacted my students as well as fellow faculty in this early stage. If recent news and emails are anything to go by, these circumstances may be in place for a while.

As a Black male trying to enter the entertainment industry, many inspirational figures are working in front of and behind-the-scenes of Hollywood. Ava DuVernay. Ryan Coogler. Justin Simien. Geoffrey Fletcher. John Ridley. Spike Lee. John Singleton. Denzel Washington. Angela Bassett. Laurence Fishburne. Halle Berry. Will Smith. Martin Lawrence. Eddie Murphy. Chris Tucker. And these are just a few of many.

For me, Chadwick Boseman fell into that category. Hearing about his secret cancer diagnosis and untimely death helped me to come up with this week’s blog. Boseman was the true definition of a hero and survivor. Besides being an outstanding actor, Chad was an activist and humanitarian who gave his all to everyone and everything. He did everything in his power to provide entertainment for the masses in his final years. He got the chance to play some of history’s most iconic figures — Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall.

But his most impact role has to be T’Challa aka Black Panther. From the moment he appeared in Captain America: Civil War, he made a huge impression leaving audiences (including myself) wanting more. Then, Black Panther premiered in 2018. To say the movie was a moment is an understatement. Chad and that movie were a cultural shift that Hollywood big wigs are still trying to understand and replicate. He was an inspiration to millions especially for young Black boys who had only a few chances to see a Black superhero in full action (shout out to Blade and Spawn). Now, looking back, this amazing human being was creating escapism for the masses while facing the battle of his life.

The legacy he has left behind will last for decades to come. For me, there is only one T’Challa. So I say to my fellow South Carolinian Chadwick Boseman — may God bless you in your afterlife journey and that you are gone but never forgotten.

Read my 2018 Paste Magazine piece on Chadwick Boseman and the history-making Black Panther.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Back to Work

After taking a week break, I’m back with more about my ongoing projects!

As I previously mentioned, I’ve spent week or so working on interior designs for Brothas. Working on my main characters’ safe haven has led to some interesting work. I’ve made the space personal by using inspiration from childhood items to flesh my characters’ world. Along with childhood items, I incorporated some childhood hobbies and activities such as astronomy and racing to add more personality into space. Basing the series in contemporary times has allowed me to include modern technology like video consoles and tablets into the space. Just like Losing Valarie, I tapped into their “Blackness” by having items here and there as cultural signals.

The next step is developing more interior and exterior designs for the series before the end of the year. I hope to creating more character designs for the series by next year. In the near future, I’ll start posting my progress on this site and Patreon in the coming months.

Soon, I’ll switch my focus from Brothas to Losing Valarie in the next week or so. I hope to venture more into exteriors for the series soon. By the end of their year, I want to get back into my character designs.

Once I’ve done enough work on my current work, I hope to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, freelance work is starting to pick back up with some potential prospects.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Consuming the Culture Part Deux

In the U.S., August has been designated as National Black Business Month. 2020 has been a mixed year for many small businesses as it began with an increase in new business before social unrest and COVID-19 set in.

Many businesses in the U.S. have had to shift their models, or even worse, shutter their doors. This revelation is even worse for Black-owned establishments and businesses as they are twice as likely to close permanently compared to their White counterparts.

So to offset the imbalance, I decided to highlight some well-known and up-and-coming Black-owned businesses.

Beauty and Fashion

The Folklore – shopthefolklore.com

A sustainable New York-based online store and showroom catering to the African diaspora specializing in clothing, accessories and housewares. The store allows consumers to support well-known and up-and-coming Black brands from across the world.

UjuuMedia – www.ujuumedia.com

The fashion brand functions as part blog- part online marketplace for emerging Black designers. The brand uses its influence not only to market and highlight designers across the African diaspora but the overall culture.

Safashe – www.instagram.com/safashe

A Virginia-based independent fashion brand specializing in high-fashion and dress design for a variety of clients. Its founder Sasha Williams is notable amongst the fashion world for creating Richmond Runway, which highlights up-and-coming Black designers.

Honey Pot – thehoneypot.co

An Atlanta-based health and wellness brand catering towards the African diaspora and feminine hygiene care. Creator and founder Bea Dixon created the company to help other Black women naturally deal with feminine issues.

Juvia’s Place – www.juviasplace.com

A Los Angeles-based beauty and makeup company catering to women of different shades and tones. The brand has built its recognition for drawing upon the colors and formulas influenced by African culture.

Scotch Porter – https://www.scotchporter.com/

A men’s skincare brand catering to men of all ethnicities with all-natural skincare and grooming products. The emerging brand has become a go-to grooming brand for Black men.

Finances

One United Bank – www.oneunited.com

This Boston-based financial institution is one of the few Black-owned banks still operating in the United States. The bank has advocated for financial literacy amongst the African-American community.

Industrial Bank – www.industrial-bank.com

As one of the oldest banks in the United States, the Washington, D.C.-based financial institution caters to the African American community – banking and lending. The Congressional Black Caucus has backed the bank when it comes to promoting ethical lending practices to Blacks.

Awoye Capital – www.awoyecapital.com

This New York-based financial advising firm urging financial investment in the Black community. The firm has built its reputation for creating financial plans tailored to each client.

Food

Michele Food Inc. – michelefoods.com

An Illinois-based food company specializing in gourmet syrups. The product started as a family recipe passed down through founder Michele Hoskin’s family from her great-great-great-grandmother.

Slutty Vegan – sluttyveganatl.com

An Atlanta-based restaurant chain and food truck specializing in vegan fast-casual. The vegan food chain is best known for its take on the famous Impossible Burger.

This is It BBQ and Seafood – thisisitbbq.com

An Atlanta-based all-you-can-eat restaurant chain specializing in barbeque and seafood. Along with barbeque and seafood, it offers veggie options for practicing vegans.

CamiCakes – www.camicakes.com

An Atlanta-based franchised bakery chain offering a variety of confectionary treats. The bakery is best known for its specialty-flavored gourmet cupcakes.

Atlanta Breakfast Club – atlantabreakfastclub.com

This Atlanta staple serves up brunch at a reasonable price. Besides the traditional breakfast offerings, it offers breakfast and lunch alternatives with a Southern twist.

Media

Blavity – blavityinc.com

A multimedia online company caters to showing and acknowledging Black Millennials. The company has its hands in everything from news media to tech to travel with an appeal to the African diaspora.

Atlanta Blackstar – atlantablackstar.com

This Atlanta-based media company focuses on narrative aimed at Black America. Within the last year, the publication set its sights on entering the video sector.

UrbanOne – urban1.com

Founded in 1979 as Radio One, the multimedia conglomerate has been the premier outlet for Black media in the U.S. The media giant has expanded into television, advertising, and the digital space within the last decade.

kweliTV – www.kweli.tv

A streaming platform dedicated to highlighting and uplifting content created by those of the African diaspora worldwide. The streamer is currently available through Amazon Fire, AppleTV, Chromecast, and many more.

D’Art Shtajio – dartshtajio.com

Founded in 2016 by brothers Arthell and Darnell Isom, the Tokyo-based animation studio focuses on bringing much-needed diversity into anime. The studio has been on fire lately due to its collaborations with music artists Sturgill Simpson and The Weeknd.

Books

Eso Won Books – www.esowonbookstore.com

Based in Los Angeles, this Black-owned bookstore deals with a book selection specializing in African American history. The store spotlights both independent and well-known Black authors.

For Keeps Books – www.forkeepsbooks.com

The online bookstore offers classic and rare Black literature for bibliophiles. The online store showcases work from Alice Walker, Margaret Mead, Toni Morrison and many more Black writing luminaries.

Tech

Shine – join.shinetext.com

Created by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi, the tech app specializes in aiding BIPOC with dealing with anxiety and stress to connect with mental health experts. The app taps into the underserved and marginalized members of society.

Dollaride – www.dollaride.com

Created by Sulaiman “Su” Sanni, the mobile app aides underserved communities in finding affordable rides in the New York area. The app helps users to get around the city with their Dollar vans.

Hopefully, these examples of Black excellence show what the African diaspora can achieve when left it our own devices.

Watch this space as I return to document my writing journey.

The World According to Design

My approach to designing for Brothas has become more about having my characters’ world reflect them in every way.

I’ve spent the past week concentrating fleshing out my main characters’ bedroom as my first interior for the series. It is still taking shape as I play off the boys’ color palettes while introducing new colors. Being two young Black boys, I’ve decided to draw some inspiration from my childhood with particular themes and concepts. I plan on placing more personal items into the room to accompany the twin beds. I even plan on drawing from some childhood hobbies and activities to bring more personality into space. As Gen Zer’s, modern amenities will be incorporated into the room. In creating the room, I wanted to tell as much of a story as the character does. Like Losing Valarie, I’m tapping more into their “Blackness” as I explore more of their story.

The next step is to develop designs for some more interior and exteriors for the series before the end of the year. By next year, I plan to do some more character designs for the series. Hopefully, as the year progresses, I’ll be able to show more on this site or on my Patreon.

As I focus on the world of Brothas, I put Losing Valarie on the back burner for a bit. I still have more details to work on when it comes to the main protagonist’s bedroom. I hope to venture more into the exterior soon.

As I’ve stated before, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. The well of freelance work is still a little dry, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Growing and Moving

As an artist, the act of art is all about shifting and growing as one continues to evolve. This year has proven to me that growth and change are necessary when it comes to purpose and dedication.

As a writer, I’ve noticed more and more that my writing needs a purposeful end goal. As evident by some of my recent posts, something has awakened in me when it comes to raising awareness. I feel my job as an artist is to spotlight both the good and bad of the world through storytelling. Writing those pieces on microaggression fulfilled me in a way that I only feel when writing my screenplays. I have to admit only a few news pieces have made me feel that way in recent months. This realization has created somewhat of a crossroads for me.

I highlighted in a past post about the current situation I’m dealing with a current contract job. That job has tested me not only as a writer but as a loyal employee. I took a break to reassess some things, but I feel I may be coming to the end of the road for me. But I’ll reveal my decision at a later date.

I know as an artist my evolution is an ongoing process that will never end. I once heard at a conference that creatives face a career shift every ten years. I’m actually in the midst of mine right now.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

In regards to purpose, I’ve taken a mini-break from my screenwriting as I contemplate the direction of going forward with some of my work. Writing Losing Valarie has been a roller coaster as I constantly go back and forth about the direction of the story. Lately, I’ve been mulling over some ways to make it more current and update given its target audience. With technology playing a big role in the plot, I’ve tossed around some ideas about my teenage characters and its usage.

The hangup for my other series Brothas has been incorporating the parents more into the story while drawing from my real life. As my parents (more specifically my mother) were an integral part of my childhood, I feel incorporating a good moral base and relatable stories are essential.

As I continue to rewrite and restructure both shows, I’m still reaching out for more feedback on my scripts.

Soon, I’ll be hopping back into my unknown pilot. I want to do one or two more pass-throughs before I feel it is ready for feedback. With that said, it really is all about grinding it out to I get it right.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet.

The final countdown to the start of school has begun. The set-up for my Fall courses is pretty much set as next Monday inches closer and closer. Despite looking forward to teaching on campus, I’m preparing to teach my students online. From my perspective, I feel the school year will be vastly different from last year. COVID-19 has thrown the educational system for a loop just like every other industry.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Giving Your World Personality

My approach to designing for Losing Valarie has become more about displaying my main protagonist’s personality within the world I’ve created for her.

I’ve spent the past week or so concentrating fleshing out my main protagonist’s bedroom. Besides a distinct color palette and black accents, I’ve tapped into her personality more by adding more personal touches. As an aspiring writer and blerd, I chose to fill her room with posters of Black female writers along with a bookcase filled with books. I showcased more by placing items related to anime and music. As a Millennial (or Gen Zer), modern amenities are very much seen throughout the room. In creating the room, it wanted to tell as much of a story as the character does. Tapping into her “Blackness” is something I plan to explore more of – from the designs to stories.

The next step is to develop designs for the series’ exteriors along with some more interior shots. Within the next month or so, I plan to do some more character designs for the series. Hopefully, as the year progresses, I’ll be able to show more on this site or on my Patreon.

Within the next week, I plan to start the interiors for the family home in my children’s series Brothas. If things go according to plan, I hope to venture into more exterior settings. Developing more character designs may come up in the future as I plan to expand into supporting characters.

As I’ve stated before, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. My freelance work is still a bit slow, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Focusing and Refocusing

Rewriting brings about something many writers never speak on – focusing or re-focusing your work to deal with issues from the writing process.

Getting a clear focus is something I’ve been contemplating. For Losing Valarie, the revising and editing process has brought forth issues dealing with the continuity and a defined plot. The plot has always been secondary to my characters, but now, I see the two go hand-in-hand to make for the best story. Continuity has become another issue for me as I try to keep my story from verging from its original course. The latest revision requires me to fine-tune some key elements while adding some more contemporary elements for my teenage characters. This comes after getting some much-needed feedback. I’m still seeking more outside advice to make things better.

crop artist with new sketchpad in park
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Along with Losing Valarie, I received some much-needed feedback on Brothas from a fellow writer. It was nice to hear from a mother’s perspective as the show deals with two little boys. My script revisions deal with addressing some areas of continuity and plot. At the core of the series, I deal with a loving family. Making the parents a bigger part of the story is something I’m working on. Again like Losing Valarie, I’m still seeking feedback on the story.

I’m still in the process of working on my unknown pilot. I want to do one or two more pass-throughs before I feel it is ready for feedback. With that said, it really is all about grinding it out to I get it right.

busy young african american man with dreadlocks working on laptop in street cafe
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet.

With the start of school days away, I’m in the deal of setting up for the Fall semester as plans continue to evolve and change during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite looking forward to teaching on campus, I’m preparing to teach my students online. From my perspective, I feel the school year will be vastly different from last year. I can feel the landscape shifting on so many levels.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Seeing the Full Picture

As progress in my work, the backgrounds are starting to take shape as I build my animated worlds.

Fro the past week or so, I’ve been shaping the world for the teenagers of Losing Valarie. The high school setting is your typical high school atmosphere with a modern look to better reflect the advancement in design and technology. Like I mentioned before, I wanted a color palette filled with pastels and dark colors to reflect the light yet dramatic tone of the series. I kept the high school palette limited to blues and whites with pops of color here and there. As the idea has progressed over the years, my approach to design has evolved as I became more comfortable with digital art.

Along with creating the high school setting, I have concentrated my efforts on improving my main protagonist’s refuge – her bedroom. Much like the previous background, I limited the color palette to her favorite color – pale pink (or rose gold). Everything from her bedding to the walls is covered in it. But the break up the monochromatic, I decided to use black to again fit the series’ tone along with more vibrant colors for visual appeal. I’ve steadily built up the room to illustrate more of her personality as an aspiring writer and bleed. Along with personality, I wanted to highlight my protagonist’s “Blackness” through her choice of artwork and posters.

Hopefully, soon, I will illustrate the actual exteriors of these places to give a better look and understanding of this world. I know to see what the characters’ world looks like will create a connection with potential viewers.

Within the next week, I plan to focus more on my children’s series Brothas by concentrating on the interior of the family home. I might even deal with some more exterior settings in the main characters’ world. Much of the look and feel will still retain the child-like look of the series.

Focusing on the two previous projects, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. The series draws shows such as the original Teen Titans, Justice League, and Batman the Animated Series so my palette will be using more subdued colors and neutral tones – browns, beiges, whites, grays, and black. I’ll start with the character designs and work my way from there.

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

 

Social media presence has continued to play a role in attracting clients. My freelance work is still a bit slow, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

 

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working Through Microaggressions Part 2

Working a regular nine-to-five has shown me what in-your-face microaggression looks like, but remote work comes with its own set of tense moments and heated words.

Although I have only been freelancing professionally for a year or so, I’ve been working on my own since 2011. Like my situation at the paint store, I’ve experienced a form of aggression (and to some extent grooming) from one of my first freelance jobs. I came upon this animation job through my alma mater’s job board. Looking back now I should have been a little wary of the situation given the job board’s track record. I remember talking to the company’s founder and going over the project. Having been burned once before, I went into the situation expecting an ordinary freelance job. I spent a few months working on this industrial video with satisfactory results. The job took a turn when I was offered a full-time position. At first, I enjoyed the prospect, but things soon soured as the founder wanted me to do things outside my skillset. My biggest warning sign came when a young lady interning for the company suddenly quit. She emailed me afterward with some frightening accounts of her time there. But by this point, I saw the writing on the wall. He started to overreach when it came to not only my work life but my personal life as well. To make things once, I had dragged my brother into the situation (something I still feel bad about till this day).  Looking back now, I could see the grooming that was taking place. Isolation was definitely the next step in his plan. After some time, we got out of that situation, which was a blessing given the company closed down a year later.

man working using a laptop

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

But before that experience, I dealt with a fellow Black creative who took advantage of my naivety as a recent graduate. This position came days before my undergrad graduation. I was super excited about getting my name in the credits of an animated production. Like my previous account, I found this on my alma mater’s job board (see the pattern). Quickly, my dream job became a nightmare as I spent months going back and forth with this client over the direction and aesthetic of the project. One of my pet peeves as a freelancer are clients who give me “creative freedom” with stipulations developing in the process. The whole back-and-forth led to an email filled with anger, gaslighting, and condescension. It led to self-doubt and anger about my animation skills to bubble to the surface. My anger turned to motivation as I finished the project with simple animation and went on my way (with only half of the funds promised). The saddest part for me was that I never quite recovered from that experience.

Fast forward to 2018 where I interned for a well-known pop culture magazine. Like many internships, the experience had its ups and downs. I happened to be the only Black person and one of two BIPOC in the entire office. But one moment stood out to me and shown how even “allies” can show glimmers on unexpected aggression. To put everything in focus, I did overstep my bounds as an intern in promising a feature without checking with the publication. But the next thing that happened wasn’t warranted and was more of a power move than a teachable moment. I told my supervising editor about my talk with the PR for an unknown band. This led to a back-and-forth in a Slack chat where I admitted to my fault. I thought it was resolved as the band got the feature, but it wasn’t. Later on, I received an email meant as both a dressing-down and a vent session. I remembered reading the email and getting agitated and annoyed at the same. I mean if you’re going to come at somebody make sure your grammar and spelling are on point. In true Aquarius fashion, I dismissed it as another angry “White privilege” moment and went on about my day.

 

In summer 2019, I accepted a contract position with a well-known web publication. I admit to accepting the position more out of desperation for a job rather than journalistic integrity and money. That being said I enjoyed my time there for the most part. During my time there, I experienced various degrees of microaggression and gaslighting. During my tenure, I was one of a few BIPOC writers creating content for them with only one BIPOC editor. Having a carousel of editors with different approaches to writing led to some moments of doubt and questions about my skills as a writer. On more than one occasion, I have had side conversations that verged on condescending and demeaning towards my efforts to improve. What made the situation worse is that it was always the same three editors – two White and one BIPOC – always seemed to have a problem with me and my writing. Most of it dealt with insignificant components I was barely getting paid for. The White female editor has always been a little nasty towards me for some reason. But the later conversations were filled with everything from condescending “bro” talk about my writing to accusations of plagiarism. The amount of time and effort I put in my work didn’t yield significant returns for me. On top of the fact, that in an act of “performative activism” the lead editors tried to incentivize writers to help find BIPOC writers AFTER the Black Lives Matter movement began gaining momentum. At the moment, I’m at a crossroads when it comes to that position. 

These experiences taught me what to do and not do when comes to treating your employees more like flesh-and-blood humans rather than bricks in the wall. I still have not let others’ negativity taint my perspective about being a freelancer.

Next week is back to business as usual as I return tracking my writing journey.

 

 

Working on the Back – The Re-do

So last week turned out to be more writing-focused than anything so here is a repost of last week’s blog. I’m still working and striving to create the environment for my characters.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working Through Microaggressions Part 1

Having worked since I was age 16, I have dealt with my fair share of passive-aggressive and not-so-passive-aggressive actions and words towards me when it comes to being a Black male in predominately White spaces.

In my first job as a Summer worker for a local government organization, I experienced my first microaggression. At the time, the word wasn’t commonplace, and I didn’t realize what was happening. I had worked for the organization for two Summers at this point and had gained a great rapport with the staff (or so I thought). I remember the day the aggression attacked. It was a slow day at the office. I had been placed in charge of helping to create this coloring book for the organization since my artistic skills were known. I was doing some research for the book and ended up taking a typical internet spiral. Unfortunately, at that moment, one of my superiors (who happened to be White) caught me in the midst of it. Instead of just calling me out and admonishing for my actions, she decided to unleash her inner “Karen” on me fueled as hurtful words came flooding from her mouth. She then grabbed me from my chair and drug me to my supervisor. Then, she proceeded to tell him what happened and said to “do something with him [me].” My supervisor (also Black) talked to me and put me on a few menial tasks. Every time I think about that moment, I still think about that scared 17-year-old afraid for his future and his standing as “one of the good ones.”

man working using a laptop

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

Fast forward to a 21-year-old college dropout wandering aimlessly trying to find himself. After battling through a year-long bout with depression, I finally found my footing as an adult by getting my first “real” job at my local hospital. To say that job shaped both good and bad work habits would be an understatement. Doing the same mundane tasks on a daily basis can wear on your soul. But the one thing I never really experience in plain sight was the harsh words and aggressive actions of my White co-workers and department heads. That was until one fateful day when our computer system decided to go down, and my department was forced to do everything manually. At this point, the new delivery system had only been in place for two or three months. So being the type-A personality I am, I took over and started handing out orders to our assembly line. In the midst of this, I still had my usual paper load to do before the night over. But we maintained a pace like a relay team at the state-wide track meet as I handed out orders while my co-workers went back and forth.

At one point, one of my superiors came in to see how things were going. We continued our conversation while I continued doing my work. I thought I was mastering the art of multi-tasking but apparently not. After having a day off, I came to work the next day and was informed of an unannounced meeting. Unbeknownst to me, I was in huge trouble for just doing my job while Black. Thank god for one of my co-workers having a conscience and telling me what the meeting was really about. Apparently, my superior decided to have a “Karen” moment and tell my area manager that I ignored her while trying to keep my department from going into further chaos. I went through all the emotions – confusion, anxiousness, shock, and anger – as I received this news. I was so blindsided as my supervisor (who happened to Black) seemed worried more about his job rather than protecting his employees. Eventually, the meeting was canceled due to management realizing it was silly and unnecessary. That day changed my perspective on my job as my hatred towards the place intensified. My relationship with my supervisor and department manager was never the same again.

toxic

The next “Karen” encounter occurred while working at an eatery known for its “clean eating.” Now for months, I had tolerated the broken promises and the toxic ghetto-soap-opera-of-the-week atmosphere without complaint. The entire time I worked there my school schedule was a problem. I tolerated it because I needed a stable part-time job while working towards my Master’s. The one thing that always bothered was my subpar inappropriate manager with a nasty disposition. On more than one occasion, she pulled me to the side and told me things no manager should ever tell an employee. But the final straw for me came on one of my class days. I had my schedule planned out where it finally didn’t interfere with my work. On this particular day, I had agreed to take a co-worker home, which was no problem since she lived across the street. As time inched closer and closer to my class starting, I decided to take some initiative by walking over to my manager so I could close my register and be on my way. Upon seeing me in her vision, she shoed me away as if I was one of her children. To top it off, she had a grimace on her face while sipping on the place’s diabetes-inducing lemonade. Like the previous episode, a flood of emotions washed over me as I walked away. I was flabbergasted, uneasy, and astonished by this woman’s callous behavior. As a result, a few weeks later, I announced I found another job. I had tolerated that place for long enough. 

As a Black man, you would think that your own wouldn’t go against you, but sometimes, the worst microaggressions come from your skin folk and other minorities. I worked for a major paint retailer for years, becoming the subject of many microaggressions and outbursts from those with privilege and many without. But a key moment changed not only my outlook on the workplace but how power dynamics can corrupt the powerless. At my final location as a humble employee, my entire time there was filled with unspoken tension and jealousy as the older Black assistant and the Latino manager seemed thrown off by my ambition and drive for things outside of the job. After one too many times of nonchalant, gaslighting behavior, I came into work one day in a bad mood. I decided to not speak to either one of them out of fear I would explode on the spot. Apparently, my disposition didn’t sit well with my manager. Instead of confronting me like an adult, he decided to recruit my assistant manager into some intimidation tact meant to shake me. I took every ounce of my being to not go off on both of them. I knew at that moment I had to make a change in my life. Within the next month, I got my position as a part-time professor, and haven’t looked back since.

All these episodes taught me how to guard my spirit and energy against those focused on with ill-intentions. Despite my standoffishness, I still have not let others’ prejudices taint me from seeing the light in most humans.

Tune in next week for more on my microaggression experiences as a freelancer, and continue to watch this space for more on my writing journey.

 

 

Working on the Back

Working on my personal and professional creativity has been an amazing outlet for my mental health.

While I’ve been focusing on my character design work, I decided to concentrate on developing my background designs. I want to develop more of my look and aesthetics for many of my projects. For Losing Valarie, I wanted a simple color palette of pastels and dark colors to reflect the nature and subject matter of the series. I decided to keep my backgrounds limited and monochromatic to fit the characters and style. But ever since I’ve been working on this project, I wanted my characters and world to complement each other in the grand scheme.

My other project Brothas is the opposite of Losing Valarie with a bright color palette centered around primary colors. As seen in my character designs, I wanted the backgrounds to match more with my characters to reflect the style of the series. Whereas Losing Valarie is heavier in tone, I want the children’s series to be brighter and happier for families.

My still-untitled project is leans more towards a teenage audience in the same vein of the original Teen Titans and Justice League. I eventually want the color palette to reflect the darker nature of the action-adventure series. I haven’t designed anything yet, but I already know what it may look like. 

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the world, my social media presence has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients. My freelance work is coming slowly but surely, but I am definitely put in the work to expand my income.

Just remember creativity can lead to a lasting legacy.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

The Art of Re-writing

As a screenwriter, many times I’ve been told that the real write begins with the rewriting and revising process.

Rewriting can sometimes be daunting for me as I begin the process of reworking and revising these works I’ve spent years on. For Losing Valarie, the revising and editing process has been going on for years as I constantly come back to it to see if there are any new approaches or ideas I can apply. Going from an hour-long live-action drama to a half-hour animated dramedy has been a gift and a curse for me. In this latest revision, I have been trying to interject some more humor while ramping up the intensity given these are teenage characters. I have re-written and re-written this work so many times at this point I need to start reaching out to outside sources for some real feedback.

crop artist with new sketchpad in park

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Much like Losing Valarie, Brothas has been a labor of love for years as I try to translate scenarios from my own experience into a more streamlined kid-friendly series. I have continued to be insular with my work as I fine-tune my work. Again like Losing Valarie, I am at the point where I want some outsiders to see my work.

While those two may be ready for others to read, I’m still working on my unknown pilot. I want to do one or two more pass-throughs before I feel it is ready. With so much, it really is all about grinding it out to I get it right.

busy young african american man with dreadlocks working on laptop in street cafe

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Aside from forging my own path, screenwriting competitions are still in my front view. Even though, there is some trepidation as many require an entry fee. I have to decide whether I need to pay my bills or enter this contest. Hopefully, these next round of entries will yield some results.

I’m still working on getting more freelance work as some of my clients begin to get back on their feet.

While I continue to focus on writing, I’ll be concentrating on my professor’s job as I prepare for next Fall semester as we deal with this ongoing pandemic. I prepare to teach my students online instead of in the classroom.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Preparing for the Next Step

Since May, I’ve been working on my visual design work for personal projects.

To make these personal projects come to life, I’ve started a Patreon to fulfill my dreams.  While I crave out my lane, I have been revising and re-visiting some of my old designs. Looking at my first personal project, Brothas, allowed me to see my growth as an artist. The rudimentary look of the original designs has given way to more realistic humans (as the series is inspired by my childhood). That project is meant for children and their families as it portrays a Black family loving and living in today’s world. My other visual project, Losing Valarie, has seen more improvement in character design as I refine some of the original designs while creating new ones. With that project being an ensemble teen dramedy, I still have a ways to go before I feel it is complete. Much like Brothas, I centered the series about a Black character – this time a female. This project has gone through many evolutions since I first thought about her in my early 20s.

With those two projects on pause for a minute, I will start working on another still-untitled project. This one will be another series centered around two brothers and their crimefighting efforts. This is inspired by an idea from my undergraduate studies. Like the previous projects, I feel representation is key when it comes to animation especially given the social change currently going on worldwide.

While character design has been my main focus for a while, I plan on dealing with background designs for many of the projects. My work will be seen on my website (be on the lookout!)

Working on these projects allows me to tap into my creativity while creating something tangible when I get ready to present my ideas. While I prepare to get these shows off the ground, I’m still a few contests here and there as a way of getting my work seen.

With so much going on in the word, I see some bright spots as freelance offers to slowly trickling in. Social media has increased its importance in my work as I try recruiting more clients.

Everything will work out in 2020. What’s for you is for you, and what isn’t will fall to the wayside.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Pushing the Narrative

As the world faces some difficult choices in an age of social and societal changes, writing is now more important than ever 

As I mentioned last week, I now have an outlet to make my creative dreams come true as a content creator through Patreon. I’ve been stockpiling scripts for some years now I plan to finally do something with them. Making animated content for the marginalized and underserved is all about the long game for me. I love to experiment with genres such as children’s programming, action-adventure, slice-of-life, and teen dramedy, just to name a few. As a Black screenwriter, I want people across multiple generations to be able to enjoy the medium for decades to come.

crop artist with new sketchpad in park

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

As seen on my website, my two main projects – Brothas and Losing Valarie – have been in the works for years. They both came from a need that wasn’t being met. The teen dramedy Losing Valarie has festered in my mind for years under different names and concepts before becoming an Election-meets-Mean Girls-meets-Scandal hybrid – with a Black female lead, of course. Brothas was born from the void left by shows like The Backyardigans and Little Bill. As a children’s show, the series is inspired by my own life as it follows two Black brothers and their family living an average life filled with imaginative adventures.

I still have one or two more projects I want to write pilots for by the end of the year. One revisits a Disney-esque story from my undergrad studies while the other is an action-adventure series centered on two brothers (see a theme here) as they take up crimefighting to find their missing parents. Along with animation, there’s also a live-action musical series I have played around in my head (it may stay live-action or turn into adult animation?). Only time will tell with that one.

busy young african american man with dreadlocks working on laptop in street cafe

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Aside from forging my own path, I’m still entering screenwriting competitions as a way to get my work out there. I’ve worked on my spec script a little more to help smooth out dialogue issues and timing. Hopefully, these next round of entries will yield some results.

While I continue to focus on writing, I make some necessary adjustments to my course for this coming Fall semester. Within the next week or so, I’ll be concentrating on creating the best course for my students as we deal with this ongoing pandemic.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Forging My Own Path

Before all the chaos, pandemics, and civil unrest took over in 2020, I decided this would be the year I finally took a risk on myself and create my content on my terms. So far, forging this path hasn’t been easy.

silhouettes_logo

Character silhouette

In creating my own path, my eyes have been opened to how hard it can be for someone like me with all the creativity but minimal business sense. In order to make that transition a little easier, I’ve decided to make to create Patreon and Etsy pages to help me not only fund my own projects but to sell some of the design work I’ve been stockpiling the last few years. I see this opportunity to make help my creative dreams come true while giving to those who have supported me over the years.

For years, I’ve had certain ideas floating in my head with some of those that can be seen on this website (check my “Multimedia Art” menu for more). I want to do comedies, dramas, action-adventure, mystery, sci-fi and so much more. On top of the fact, I’ve been sitting on scripts, designs, story bibles, and so much more ready to be seen. And I’m tired of waiting for my chance. So I decided, in order to create the content I want to see, I will need to recruit other creators of color (especially Black ones) to help make animated content for the marginalized and underserved. But I need funds, that’s where Patreon and Etsy come into play. Plus, Hollywood is rushing for anything animated given the current state of live-action fare so strike while the iron is hot.

woman writing on her notebook

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

With that said, I’ve been concentrating on my personal projects for the past month or so. Most of many work can be seen on Instagram while some will be revealed over the course of the summer. It’ll definitely be worth the wait.

While I seek independence for my creativity, more freelance opportunities have been coming my way. The pandemic had put a stop to my freelance work for a while, but with the economy slowly reopening, more people are willing to hire freelancers and independent contractors. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

I’m still working on my personal projects as I mentioned before. Some of those results will start to pop up on my site pretty soon so be on the lookout.

 

Using My Words for Change

I’m a firm believer in being the change you want to see. You can’t complain if you don’t have a solution to the problem, and for me, my solution is using my words.

When I say “using my words,” I mean putting pen to pad (or in most cases, fingers to keyboard) to create the change I want to see. For many years, I have written about the lack of representation on film and television (especially in animation). As I mentioned in a previous post, I am moving forward to forge my own path as a content creator. I have scripts, designs, story bibles, and so much more ready to go, and I’m tired of waiting. So I decided to create a Patreon page to help me fund my work. I want to be able to recruit other creators of color (especially Black ones) to help make animated content for the marginalized and underserved. In order to do that, I need funds to help me fund my projects and pay people properly, and that’s where Patreon comes into play. 

With the masses clamoring for film and television that represents them, I think about the little boy in South Carolina who only saw sprinkles of himself here and there when it came to animated shows. I’ve had certain ideas floating around my head for years with some of those can be seen on this website (check my “Multimedia Art” menu for more). I want to do comedies, dramas, action-adventure, mystery, sci-fi and so much more. I feel animation is the best medium for that with Hollywood turning to it in the face of COVID-19. For me, this is the perfect time to strike.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, I am looking for other opportunities as a writer to highlight my talents. I am tweaking the spec script I wrote a month ago in preparation for an upcoming writing fellowship as well as some other writing competitions. Letting it rest for a while has really given me some clarity into what works and what doesn’t. Giving my work some time to breathe usually helps me and it in the long run. Every script helps me to hone my craft as a writer just like this blog.

My personal writing is still coming together while my professional writing is starting to pick up again. The pandemic put a stop to my freelance work for a while, but I’m now getting some offers. I have some clients starting to reach out again. Some new opportunities didn’t pan out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

architectural photography of brown and gray house

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

While I continue to focus on writing, I am getting ready for the next school year as I prepare to teach two classes in August. COVID-19 had caused some necessary adjustments to make the campus safe for students, faculty, and staff. So my syllabus and coursework will have to reflect that. Within the next week or so, I will concentrate on creating the best course for the Fall semester.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Celebrating Black Music Part 4

Sadly, this is the last post of my Black Music Month series

This week, I dedicated a post to the music superstars and game-changers from the 1980s through the 2000s. I wanted to highlight the men and women who took Black music to new heights while setting the blueprint for today’s music. In the process, I decided to highlight some groups from the time period. I drew inspiration from constellations, heaven, and the sky to tribute these true icons and legends. I also felt the need to highlight some legends we’ve lost in recent years.

Just like last week’s post, I will showcase my sources while giving a peek into my process.

Here are my source images:aaliyah

Aaliyah

al_b_sure

Al B. Sure

alicia_keys

Alicia Keys

anita baker

Anita Baker

ashanti

Ashanti

athony_hamilton

Anthony Hamilton

beyonce

Beyonce

Billy Ocean

bobby_brown

Bobby Brown

brandy

Brandy

Brian McKnight

Case

chris_brown

Chris Brown

ciara

Ciara

d_angelo

D’Angelo

deborah_cox

Deborah Cox

Donell Jones

erkyah_badu

Erykah Badu

faith_evans

Faith Evans

fantasia

Fantasia

freddie_jackson

Freddie Jackson

gerald_levert

Gerald Levert

ginuwine

Ginuwine

jaheim

Jaheim

janet_jackson

Janet Jackson

jill_scott

Jill Scott

Jody Watley

Joe

Keith Sweat

kelly_price

Kelly Price

keyshia_cole

Keyshia Cole

lenny_kravitz

Lenny Kravitz

luther_vandross

Luther Vandross

mariah_carey

Mariah Carey

mary_j_blige

Mary J. Blige

maxwell

Maxwell

Michael Jackson - 1983

Michael Jackson

monica

Monica

mya

Mya

patti_labelle

Patti Labelle

peabo_bryson

Peabo Bryson

Purple Rain (1984)
Directed by Albert Magnoli
Shown: Prince (as The Kid)

Prince

r_kelly

R. Kelly

rihanna

Rihanna

stephanie_mills

Stephanie Mills

tamia

Tamia

01/01/1985. Close Up Tina Turner

Tina Turner

toni_braxton

Toni Braxton

usher

Usher

whitney_houston

Whitney Houston

 phase_0_BL_50_70phase_1_BL_80_00phase_2_BL_80_00phase_3_BL_80_00phase_4_BL_80_00phase_5_BL_80_00phase_6_BL_80_00

phase_7_BL_80_00phase_8_BL_80_00phase_9_BL_80_00phase_10_BL_80_00phase_11_BL_80_00phase_12_BL_80_00phase_13_BL_80_00phase_14_BL_80_00phase_15_BL_80_00

If you want to see the final result, check out my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Writing Against the Microaggressions

As a Black creative (or Black person in general), I have dealt with my fair of doubt not only from myself but from others who may or may not know how their words and thinking have affected my creativity.

Over the years, I have taken certain slings and arrows for wanting to be an artist. I remember being in high school and speaking with my art teacher about wanting to be a cartoonist. I was told that there was no money in it, and I needed to think about something more practical. That moment whether I realized it or not affected my self-esteem as a creative.

auditorium benches chairs class

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Fast forward to my college years where the matter came up again. Going to art school for undergraduate and graduate was a gift and a curse for me. While I found the work and comradery prepared me for the industry, some of the faculty weren’t exactly the biggest cheerleaders (but I love constructive criticism). The one thing that always stuck out was the underlying but subtle racism that went unchecked.

The worst of this subtle (really not so subtle) racism happened as I pursued my Master’s degree.  I remember switching from animation to writing after feeling that some faculty were pushing me out from that major due to the look more than the quality of my work. While I admit I was a little rusty in my animation skills, I did feel a little animosity from some faculty (many I had cross paths with in my undergrad studies). I remember being asked my reasoning for pursuing my Master’s and being told I should be going to graduate school for the right reasons. I wonder if I were another persuasion would I have been told that. On top of the fact that I was one of four or five Black males in the program at the time.

It seemed the microaggressions got a little worse when I became a Writing major as the only Black male in the program. While I cherished and loved the chair of my department, the two white male professors were very so-so to me. One suffered from white guilt and was always trying to equate his experience with those of Black (eye roll). With this particular professor, I found myself more than once as the subject of his microaggressions. I was once told that I needed to choose between screenwriting and fiction writing after I turned in a hybrid-like work. He seemed more insulted that I tried expressing myself as a writer rather than fitting in a box. There were two or three more occasions where I had to almost defend myself as a screenwriter. He even kept the same energy when it came to my graduate review and thesis defense. 

The other professor I only had one class with, but every time I spoke with or saw him the energy was friendly yet weird. Whenever we did talk, it was not really substantive but leaned more towards sarcastic, witty remarks. Everything seemed okay with him until my graduate review where he commented that one of my pieces felt more vindictive than telling an actual story. But that piece, in particular, was based on my experience working in food services. And of course, “white guilt” (who mentioned that was one of my strong pieces) chimed in and agreed with him. I love it when people who haven’t lived your life question your experience and culture.

man wearing black crew neck t shirt using black headphones reading book while sitting

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

It really hasn’t stopped as I’ve become a freelancer (or working a regular 9-to-5 job), but that’s another story for another day.  

But while the world is filled with chaos, I will get back on my writing grind in the next week as I prepare to enter some more screenwriting competition. I also have some surprises coming at the end of the week as it pertains to my creative life.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

 

 

Celebrating Black Music Part 3

Back with another Black Music Month post!

This week, I decided to dedicate a post to the musical pioneers and innovators from the 1950s through the 1970s. I choose to go with the men and women who blazed a trail for Black entertainers of today while laying the foundation for today’s music. In the process, I decided to highlight some groups from the time period. I drew inspiration from constellations, heaven and the sky to tribute these true icons and legends. I also used the post to highlight some legends we’ve lost in recent years.

Just like my previous posts on Hip-Hop, I will showcase my sources while giving a peek into my process.

Here are my source images:al_green

Al Green

aretha_franklin

Aretha Franklin

barry_white

Barry White

betty_wright

Betty Wright

Bob Marley

chaka khan

Chaka Khan

chuck_berry

Chuck Berrycurtis_mayfieldCurtis Mayfielddiana_rossDiana Rossdionne_warwickDionne Warwickdonna_summerDonna Summerjackie_wilsonJackie Wilsonjames_brownJames Brown

jimi_hendrix

Jimi Hendrixlittle_richardLittle Richardmarvin_gayeMarvin Gayemary_wellsMary Wells

miles_davis

Miles Davisnat_king_coleNat King Colenatalie_coleNatalie Cole

nina-simone983j27.7765.23

Nina Simoneray_charlesRay Charlesrick_jamesRick Jamesruth_brownRuth Brownsam_cookeSam Cooke

sammy_davis_jr

Sammy Davis, Jr.stevie_wonderStevie Wonderteddy_pendergrassTeddy Pendergrass

 phase_0_BL_50_70phase_1_BL_50_70phase_2_BL_50_70phase_3_BL_50_70phase_4_BL_50_70phase_5_BL_50_70

If you want to see the final result, check out my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Consuming the Culture

Last week was a little heavy os I decided this week I wanted to highlight the many exciting and poignant (and sometimes, tragic) content based on the Black experience.

This post was inspired by Facebook user Crystal Marie

For those who love big-screen visuals and great storytelling that touch on real-life issues, here’s a list of films to watch:

Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy (starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx) – inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s memoir

Ava DuVernay’s Selma (starring David Oyelowo) – based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s trek from Selma to Montgomery

Ava DuVernay-produced documentary 13th – an examination of mass incarceration of Black Americans in the U.S.  

Raoul Peck-directed documentary I Am Not Your Negro – based on the words and thoughts of writer James Baldwin

Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters – based on the Wiley College debate team’s victory over USC

Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures – based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing – a hot Summer day in New York culminates in a tragic end fueled by racial tensions

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) – based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station (starring Michael B. Jordan) – based on the tragic shooting of Oscar Grant

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight – based on a play by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney

Dee Rees’ Pariah – a young Black woman comes to grip with her sexuality

Stefan Bristol’s See You Yesterday – a young girl travels back in time to save her slain brother

GeorgeTillman Jr’s The Hate You (starring Amandla Stenberg) – based on the book of the same name by Angie Thomas

Jordan Peele’s Get Out (starring Daniel Kaluuya) – a psychological examination of racism in the U.S.

Disney’s Zootopia – an animated examination of classism and racism through the world of animals

 

For those looking for great visual and realistic storytelling on a weekly basis, here’s a list of television series to watch:

Ava DuVernay-produced miniseries When They See Us – based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case

The landmark miniseries Roots (1977 and 2016 versions) – the original is a classic while the new version taps into today’s issues

Cheo Hodari Coker-based Netflix series Luke Cage – based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name

Salim Akil-developed CW series Black Lightning – based on the DC Comics series of the same name

Milestone Media-created Warner Bros. animated series Static Shock – based on the Milestone Media/DC Comics series Static

April Blair-created CW series All American – inspired by the life of former professional football player Spencer Paysinger

Issa Rae-created HBO series Insecure – a comedic yet realistic portrayal of the Black female experience in the U.S.

Donald Glover-created FX series Atlanta – inspired by the career and life of multi-tainer Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino)

ABC sitcom Black-ish – an exploration of the middle-class Black family experience in suburban America

 

For those look for Black authors and writers to read during these times, here’s a list of books and essays to read:

15 Essential Books By Black Authors – Black Writers to Read Now

25 Amazing Books by African-American Writers You Need to Read | Mental Floss

25 Books by Black Authors – Black Writers You Need to Know

Essays and works of journalism by Black authors on racism to read – Business Insider

For any Black writers (especially male), here is a great visual article on Black male writers of our times by The New York Times.

 

Hopefully, these examples of meaningful content by Black creators can help towards creating more understanding of what Black America has gone through since the days of slavery.

Watch this space as I return to document my writing journey.

Celebrating Black Music Part 2

Another week, another Black Music Month post!

This week, I’m dedicating a post to the women of Hip Hop. For my process this time around, I choose to go with women who not only had the skills (sometimes, better than the men) but the impact on the culture as a whole. While there have been many female rappers have made a mark, these women’s impact is still be felt today. I drew inspiration from Greco-Roman goddesses to pay homage to these amazing women. I also used the post to shout-out some female rappers who paved the way for today’s women in Hip-Hop.

Just like the post on the men of Hip-Hop, I will showcase my sources while giving a peek into my process.

Here are my source images:

Greco-Roman Goddesses

queen_latifah_newQueen Latifah

mc_lyteMC Lyte

da_bratDa Brat

lauryn_hillLauryn Hill

lil_kimLil’ Kim

missy_elliottMissy Elliott

eveEve

trinaTrina

nicki_minajNicki Minaj

phase_1_goddesses

phase_2_goddesses

phase_3_goddesses

phase_4_goddesses

phase_5_goddesses

phase_6_goddesses

phase_7_goddesses

phase_8_goddesses

phase_9_goddesses

If you want to see the final result, check out my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Writing in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter

As the world continues to deal with much chaos, I’ll be speaking on writing in a time of social and civil unrest. 

I’ve spent the past week contemplating my role as a writer with some much racial and civil unrest going on. Seeing people who look like me being gunned down has made me question quite a lot in my life. More and more I see my writing as a tool for change when it comes to making the U.S. see what’s going on with black and brown people. While I try to create pieces that are uplifting and stereotype-shifting, I also have to use my voice to highlight the harsh realities many Black people have experienced not only in the U.S. but worldwide. This movement (not moment) has caused me to push even harder to get my work out there for people to see. 

photo of man writing on notebook

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

Seeing all this death and upheaval has opened the world’s eyes to the double standards that many face daily due to the color of their skin. There’s one set for minorities (specifically Blacks) that places them on par with a caged animal (see the Declaration of Independence) were things our white counterparts can do is looked at with suspicion and fear when others do it. For whites (who may or may not acknowledge their privilege), no one bats an eye when they do normal everyday things (i.e. barbequing, sleeping, jogging, bird-watching, etc.).

But the biggest double standard comes from our treatment by police. While George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are not the first to be gunned down for no reason, the tension between the Black community and the police has been brewing since the days of slavery (when they hunted down rnaway slaves). With each killing and acquittal, the tension grew more and more until people had enough (and the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help matters either). It seems as soon as everyone was released from quarantine, all hell broke loose where polie brutality against the average Black men and women became normalized again in the U.S. I’m tired. You’re tired. We’re all tired. 

I think more and more social commentary will have to become a part of my work as more and more people start raising their voices. These exact events are why I always center my work around Black people and presenting a different view from the stereotypical fare. There’s a fire in me now that will not be extinguished. I must push on for the future generation coming up.

photo of man wearing black crew neck t shirt

Photo by Nicholas Swatz on Pexels.com

With that said, I know it can make you feel helpless and hopeless. And if protesting isn’t your calling, here is a way for you to help in creating social change. Click the link to donate any way you see fit to Black Lives Matter.

Say their names. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Tony McDade.

Celebrating Black Music Part 1

With time being on my side, I have decided to re-dedicate myself to my Black Music Month project.

This week, I’ll focus on revisiting my post from last year dealing with the men of Hip Hop. Last year, I was able to narrow my choices down to some of the best male lyricists of all time. I’ll admit my work from last year was just okay, but I knew I could do better. I wanted to dive deeper into my vision as an artist with better technique and understanding of the subject and the message.

Again, I will showcase my sources while giving a peek into my process.

Here are my source images:

Mt Rushmore

phase_10_rushmore

phase_11_rushmore

phase_12_rushmore

 

phase_12_rushmore

phase_13_rushmore

phase_14_rushmore

phase_16_rushmore

phase_17_rushmore

 

If you want to see the final result, check out my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Writing Towards a Goal

Like many writers, I have goals when it comes to writing. But right now, the goal isn’t about the present but molding and sharpening for the future.

Just like last week, I spent most of this week working on a spec script for screenwriting competitions. I had a real breakthrough writing the second act, which lead me into the third act. While I did enter it into a couple of competitions, I still need to tweak it before some other contests come up in June and July. Right now, there seems to be some rough areas with the dialogue and length of the script (especially for a half-hour comedy). For me, this spec script just isn’t about the contests but perfecting my craft as a screenwriter and content creator. Every script for me is an exercise in honing my skills as a writer.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

Entering screenwriting competitions hasn’t been my only plan as I move forward with creating my own path as a content creator. I’ve started looking into alternative means to not only create but to build the future I want for myself as well as others. Making animated content for the marginalized and underserved is the long game for me so that people across multiple generations can enjoy the medium. I plan on starting a Patreon in the near future to start building the next generation of animation.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

While writing is my passion and career, I am still focused on becoming a better professor for my students. With the online course ending, I have a better understanding of hoe to make my students’ experience better for the next school year. Now, I can concentrate on creating the best course for my students next Fall.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Toeing the Line

This week, I’m focusing on the line between being a follower and a leader.

I spent most of this week working on a spec script for screenwriting competitions. I’ve made some progress while feeling so behind as I worked to write the spec. While I’ve found the exercise to be motivating, in the same breath, I’ve been wanting to strike out on my own to get my content out there. I’ve contemplated many times, but it wasn’t until some family members told me I may be better to do my own thing rather than wait on the entertainment industry to come calling. I think my biggest fear has been failing without a safety net or having my work torn to pieces by internet trolls. But in the age of cancel culture, insta-fame, and disposable media, I feel now is the prefect time to take a risk.

stack of books about art on chair
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, I feel many independent contractors like myself as going to be more vital once people start getting use to the new “normal.” We’ll all have to make some adjustments, but the end goal will be worth it. I know if I keep grinding and practicing my craft my time will come. Just like last week, I feel like my time will come in my late 30s to early 40s like a lot of my favorite entertainers. Especially being black, it seems the industry never wants to give creators of color their time until they feel they’re “worthy” of their time and money. But also seeing creatives like Issa Rae and Donald Glover making content on their own terms has inspired me to start taking a risk with my own content.

While I battle between independence and the industry waiting game, I’m still pursuing more freelance work as I have a couple offers I’m considering. The ongoing pandemic has made the freelance landscape a little shaky, but I feel more and more working-from-home will become the new “norm” for businesses. I feel things will be on the up and up after everything is said and done.

beach blur clouds dawn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As summer break continues on, I find myself trying to be a better professor as take an online course, which I’m actually taking seriously. Right now, the course is going well. Hopefully, taking this course will help me to better understand creating online courses for my student next Fall.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Going for the Prize

I’m back this week with more insight into what’s been going on.

Last week, I didn’t do much writing outside of my freelance work. But this week, I’ve decided to write a spec script for some upcoming screenwriting contests. I would usually look for someone to give coverage, but with deadlines coming so soon, I’ll just have to take my chances. Eventually, I plan to put my original work on sites like the Blacklist to see what I need to work on. Hopefully, before the end of the year, I’ll be able to start looking for an agent to help me get out there. But that might be a while with COVID-19 still raging on. I know if I keep grinding and practicing my craft my time will come. Plus, some of my favorite actors, producers, and writers didn’t hit their stride until their late 30s to early 40s. As I said in the previous blog, it’s all about the marathon, not the sprint.

a vintage typewriter with corona update typed on white paper

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

I’m still pursuing more freelance work as I find my niche in journalism and content creation. With some jobs on hold and others disappearing, it has been a scary few weeks as the gig economy faces new and unprecedented changes due to the ongoing pandemic. I’m hoping things will begin to pick up as everyone tries to return to normal (or a new normal). I feel something(s) are coming upon the horizon.

positive young ethnic couple using laptop and tablet while working in modern workspace

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

As summer break continues, I find myself trying to be a better professor for my students come next Fall. I decided to take an online course, which I’m actually taking seriously. I know next month I’ll have to get my butt in gear as classes startup in August. I have so many ideas I just hope I have time for them all.

Watch this space for more on my writing journey.

Preparing for the Future

I’ve been working on my visual design work for personal projects.

With client work being on pause right now, I have dedicated myself to creating some work to celebrate my culture. I’ll share more in the coming weeks through this blog and my Instagram page.  The project for the moment is re-starting my Black Music Month project. Due to some external circumstances, I couldn’t fully commit myself to create my vision. The endgame with the project is to pay homage to the men and women of music who helped to shape not only Black culture but culture as a whole. Each post focuses on the artists, innovators, and pioneers of rock, Hip Hop, R&B, soul, and pop whose legacy and influence continues to inspire others.

Besides that project, I will be revising some of my old designs and creating some new ones. Doing this will allow me to enter a few contests here and there over the next few months. This is my way of moving my career forward.

With the country starting to re-open, I’m hoping to get my freelance work back up and running. My social media game is about to go into overdrive as I start to look for more clients.

I know 2020 will turn around and work out for everyone 9even the doubters).

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Working for More Creativity

Hello! I’m back! I know it’s been a minute since I last updated this blog. Now is the time for me to start doing my design work.

While I was away, I managed to get a few projects from various clients. I’ll share more of the results later on through the site. Expanding my client base has been a goal of mine, and it seems to be working.

I’m preparing to re-start my Black Music Month project from last year. I want to use my skills to pay homage to the men and women of music who helped to shape the culture. Each post will focus on the artists, innovators, and pioneers of Hip Hop, R&B, soul, and pop whose legacy and influence continues to inspire others.

Besides that project, I will be working on revising some of my old designs and creating some new ones. I plan on applying to some contests here and there as I move forward with my career as a content creator.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Back for More…Again!

What’s up!? How’s it been? I know it’s been a while since I last updated this blog, but life happened! So here’s what has been going on.

2019 into 2020 was a whirlwind for me. As a writer, I had some amazing triumphs and disappointing moments. I am still working for CBR writing content for them on a daily basis. During my absence, I did manage to acquire two freelance jobs with HipHopDX and The Blast. While my time with both was short, I did appreciate getting to do work outside of comics and geek culture. I’m still on the hunt for more freelance work as I find my niche in journalism and content creation.

woman in front of her computer

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

I have been entering screenwriting contests left and right – both as an exercise in moving forward and a way to get feedback on my work. Last year, I spoke on entering a contest held by Issa Rae. Well, I made it to the quarterfinals, but unfortunately, it didn’t pan out the way I wanted. But that’s okay as I have continued to enter contests as well as reaching out to industry people to get myself prepared for my screenwriting career. I just have to remember my pursuits are not in vain. and it’s all about the marathon, not the sprint.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, my work with PRESI has been on hold for a minute as the brand’s owner has been dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Just before the pandemic, we had spoken on retooling the blog to be more on-brand. For now, everything is on pause with things expected to pick up once the dust has settled.

As my writing career has continued to go through ebbs and flows, I found a bright spot before the new year. I became a professor at Kennesaw State University, teaching art history. It has been nice to have a stable job that really affects the lives of people from day-to-day. While the salary is great, the real reward has been the effect I’ve had on my students and vice versa. For the first time in my adult life, I feel fulfilled by my work (even with its good and bad days). There might be some more opportunities in the future at KSU (fingers crossed).

architectural photography of brown and gray house

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Now that I have a little more free (thanks COVID-19), I’ll try to dedicate more time to the blog so keep your eyes on this space.

Wow! I’m so glad to be back!

Write and Grind

Becoming your own boss can be a double-edged sword for anyone wanting to enter the freelance world. Creating your brand and business can be both rewarding and draining all at the same. Growing into the boss I want to be is a growing experience.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Mixing passion with business has become a way of life for me. Even though, I still need a 9-to-5, working on my own accord is becoming a huge part of my life. I can make my own schedule and working within my skill set. But there’s a quite bit of hard work, time and effort I put running my own brand and business. Working for CBR and a fashion brand is a way for me to build my portfolio while fueling my passion.

Journalism and content writing will hopefully help in paying the bills. Writing for someone else helps to me to be of service. It is always my mission to create something that pushes an entity or company forward. With CBR, I get to let my inter-nerd show through writing about all things related to comic books and media. I’ve felt that way since writing for Paste. My other gig has’t taken shape yet so I would be able to talk about until the brand’s relaunch in a few weeks.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Pexels.com

Writing is my outlet for expressing myself. The topics I speak on in all my work are things I are accustomed to speaking on. While I’m fulfilled in my work, I hope to find time for my own personal work. Finding that time is on me, but for now, I have to be in work mode for a bit.

While visual art is my first love, writing has become my calling. And wherever the Lord sees fit to use it is where I will go.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

The Art of Enterprise

Life can be a juggling act when it comes to being a multi-tasker. The more I comes into my own as a business owner the more life ebbs and flows. I feel my world has opened up, and now is my time to shine.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As an entrepreneur, it’s a must for me to make myself available to whatever the Lord throws my way. But in the same vein, I’ve realized every opportunity may not be a good fit. That doesn’t apply to my current situation. As I stated in my previous blog, I have begun writing for the website Comic Book Resource. Recently, I’ve been entertaining an offer to write content for an upstart street wear company. I’ll give more details after the papers have been finalized. This opportunities have me feeling as if my path is finally starting to take shape. Since graduation, it’s been tough creatively and financially as I get back into the game of adulting. Hopefully, I can thrive as I balance all the facets of my life.

Lately, I’ve been slacking on my writing, but now, I’m back at it with this two gigs. Focusing on my screenwriting has become another step in getting back in my routine. I’m currently working on my pilot script for a potential kids’ animated superhero series. This idea has been floating around in my head for years. And now is the right time to begin. With a synopsis and beat sheet written, I feel I’m in a good space to write it. Of course, I can’t forgot about this blog. I plan on being my consistent and timely when it comes to my own content. This place is my way of keeping up with my followers as well as a release for me. I know writing as a profession can become tedious at times, but this place is my escape from all outside distractions.

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

In the near future, I hope to give more updates on my script progress as well as my future plans for Nanowrimo.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Writing for a Bright Future

Unbeknownst to me, writing has always been my calling. Working on my craft consistently has paid off as my writer life is starting to bear some fruit. Getting my first paid post-graduate gig has reaffirmed my purpose as a creative.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

All my hard work is starting to pay off as I recently became a part of the Comic Book Resources family. Right now, it’s just a trial period, but hopefully, this opportunity turns into something more. Writing daily news pieces is something I’m use to from my Paste intern days. I enjoy writing news pertaining to film, television and all things media. Hopefully, writing for CBR will yield some revenue soon as post-grad life has been not so kind so far.

Due to some recent circumstances, I haven’t really concentrated on my screenwriting. But now, I’m back on track as I continue to shape my idea for an animated superhero series. I finally wrote an premise for the show, but now, I need to create the outline for the pilot episode. In the coming weeks, I want to start working on the script and supplemental material. Keep you fingers crossed!

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

I look forward to working on my craft to build the future I want.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Reclaiming My Writing Time

When reality clashes with passion, it can lead to a crossroad for any creative. Post-grad life has proved to be a little more chaotic than I initially thought. With that said, I’m reclaiming my writing time back now!

hands coffee cup apple
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Since my last post, life has had its share of ups and downs. On the positive end, I moved up the corporate ladder just a little (even though the position is not in my field). Getting use to the new facility as well as the new schedule has required an adjustment period I didn’t see lasting this long. All I know is that the new job will require some better time management for my creative activities. Another reason for my hiatus had to do with a family health crisis. While my family member is okay, it took some time to help them readjust to their new life with doctor’s visits, medication, etc. Since that phase is winding down, I can now concentrate more on my writing for the rest of the year (hopefully).

This space will definitely be more active as I continue to grow as a writer. I have so many things I want to accomplish before the end of this year. While some things are a guarded secret, I can say I will be participating in Nanowrimo this year. The project I want to work on is the expansion of an original piece I did a year or two ago. It’ll be a form of therapy for me while being a love letter to my hometown. But continue to watch this space for more on my future projects.

grayscale photo of man walking in hole
Photo by Kasuma on Pexels.com

After two turbulent months , I’ve finally got creative mojo back, and I am not going to let this go to waste.


Come back next week for more on my journey to creating my future!

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Writing and Rewriting and Rewriting and…

If writing is the release of all creative ideas, then rewriting is where the real writing begins. Putting all your ideas on the page is great, but it lends itself to being the equivalent of verbal diarrhea. It’s a mess that requires pain-staking clean-up. But in the end, it’s all worth for the aftermath.

6359991693275867841308429358_writers-block

Rewriting is a daunting task for me as the major of my scripts are passion projects. It’s hard to say your baby isn’t perfect, but it’s a necessary process in creating (and sometimes dismantling) your idea. I’ve found rewriting to be my best friend in finding new ways to approach an idea or concept especially when said idea isn’t working anymore.

As a writer, I’ve found myself getting attached to my stories and characters on a personal level. Having spent months (if not years) crafting my work, coming to the realization that I might not be my best can be heartbreaking. But it’s just another sign that I’m growing and learning as a writer. My work needs to reflect that.

As I mentioned in my past blog The Screenwriting Forum, I’ve been concentrating on making an hour-long drama into an animated half-hour dramedy for pitching in the near future. It needed to be shorter for the format I planned on using. Plus, rewriting the original allowed me to cut the fat while reintroducing some ideas I lost in the original screenplay. After some many years of going back and forth with the idea, all I needed to do is step away and fine tune it.

n-screenplay-628x314

All with that screenplay, I’ve been working on my children’s series idea and the series bible for it. I still have some tweaking to do to the two scripts I created, but it’s the series bible I needed to focus on. I wanted something more tangible to complement my screenwriting. Writing the second bible has be both easy and hard as I try making the necessary adjustments for a different genre. Who knew children’s television and angst-ridden teen dramedies didn’t mix?

I have some many ideas floating around this brain. Only time will tell if any my concepts make on the screen in some form.


Over time, I’ll reveal more about the ideas and stories I want to tell so stay tuned to this spot.

And as always, don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Celebrating Black Music Part 1

Welcome to The Creative Grind where all things visual exist! This blog will allow me to show my creative process for my art and visual designs.

Since it is Black Music Month, I decided to pay homage to the men and women who have affected the culture in some shape or form. This week’s post deals with the men of Hip Hop. I wanted to create something that would speak to the volume of the legacy each man holds within the genre. There were so many to choose from, but I narrowed it down to some of the best lyricist of all time.

Here are my source images:

Mt Rushmore

If you want to see the final result, check out my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Allow Me to Re-introduce Myself, Part Deux

I’m a fan of the old adage “when one chapter closes, another one opens.” Since graduating, my deferment in adulting has come to an end as real life has begun to set in.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Gone is Screenwriting While Black, and #WritingWhileBlack is its newest form. Limiting my writing to one form had been difficult for me with my last blog. My main focus will still be screenwriting, but my fiction and nonfiction writing will be showcased as well. This blog will allow me to speak more on all forms of writing.

With my last few entries of my past blog being visual, this blog will be a mix of written and visual as I share not only my process but my experiences. As a creative, I plan on sharing my tips and thoughts for writing, progress on personal projects, short pieces, and my life as a full-time content creator and adult.


Next week’s post will deal more with the progress of the various rewrites I have been tackling. So come back and take this new journey with me!

And as always, don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Bittersweet Beginning

The end has finally come! This past weekend, I graduated from SCAD-Atlanta with a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing. Below are some photos and video from the event.


This is the end of an era as I transition from blogging about screenwriting to covering all facets of my creative life. I will be separating my writing from my visual work with my new blogs: Writing While Black and The Creative Grind! Watch this space for their launch. Until then, see you on the other side.

A Night of Visual Fun at SCAD Atlantamation

As my time at SCAD draws to an end, I found some time to take in my passion – animation. Watching others’ work only drives my need to write for the medium even more. Check out the images and video below for more on that night.

Inspiration in the Life of John Singleton

As a screenwriter and creator, I’ve studied the greats by emulating them while trying to put my own spin on narrative storytelling. There has never been a drought for finding inspiration in film and television. There have been a myriad of writers, producers, and filmmakers who’ve influenced me in some shape or form. But a pivotal figure in my life since childhood has been the recently deceased John Singleton. I’ve watched everything from Boyz in the Hood to Poetic Justice to Baby Boy (certified hood classics). So I felt compelled to attend a celebration of Singleton’s life at SCADShow.

Planning and Working Towards the Future

Beginning of the journey to employment

As evident by the images above, I put my future career first and decided to participate in SCAD’s Out to Launch.

It was definitely an out-of-body experience for me as I has step out of my introvert mindset and put on my extrovert mask. All those years of retail customer service paid off in a major way. I was able to network and connect with companies I would have never thought (along with a company or two I had looked up online). Keeping contact with some individuals from the event has started building some relationships as my career goes into full swing.

I did learn that having a printed materials on-hand was a great idea, and LinkedIn is your best friend when business cards are non-existent.

Besides all the great things, there were a few things that could have been a little better. Being a time-conscience person, the dis-concern for people’s time was a somewhat off-putting. But considering the institution I mentioned beforehand, it’s really no surprise.

Then, there was the lack of space for the participants. All that preparation – business cards, resumes, portfolios, etc – had to be crammed into this plastic bin. Any overflow had to be placed in a small gray box (mind you that came in hand as the event commenced). From undergrad, I can remember each participant getting their own booth where they could spread out. But given the space and location we had, that would have been impossible to accomplish.

Speaking of the location, I feel the layout didn’t work for what the school was trying to accomplish. Having the split between different floors and the placement of the classrooms made for a flow problem. Being in a back corner room doesn’t exactly entice prospective employers to visit your station. I felt a little shafted as some employers I wanted to see never came to my floor (despite asking for some help from the staff).

Ulterior motives was another problem I felt undermined the purpose of a reverse career fair. I don’t let certain companies and organizations come in trying to mine for prospective employees for their low-wage jobs.

Other than those gripes, I found the event to be very rewarding (along with tiresome and mind-numbing at times). Hopefully, this event has pushed my career in the right direction.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Comment below.

Words of Wisdom with Gabby Rivera

Last week was a great week as a writer. SCAD-Atlanta hosted novelist and Marvel Comics writer Gabby Rivera for a keynote presentation on pushing against adversity in the entertainment industry.

 


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

Looking Towards the Future

Time has flown by as my time at SCAD draws to a close.  Working on my craft consistently has paid off as I continue working on expressing my artistic self. All that work led to a much-needed break from this blog, but I’m back… for now.

accuracy alarm clock analogue business

I needed time to recharge with so many big events coming around the corner. Being creative while life continued to move forward was a struggle for me. I’ve found myself getting anxious as graduation and Out to Launch drew closer and closer every day. As I’ve mentioned before, being creative every day was draining me. Some of my planned activities had to be placed on hold as time and energy needed to be placed elsewhere. Gearing up for Out to Launch caused me to put my spec script on the backburner (for the moment, at least). I found myself uninspired to create a work that wasn’t original. Plus, giving myself a month to write it ALONE wasn’t my best idea. As hard as that decision was, I needed to ram up my output for the fair. I’ve worked on improving my portfolio, resume, etc. (BTW, this website as well) as I prepare for post-grad life. I’m looking forward to the pay off this work is going to earn me.

Even though screenwriting was on hold, writing continued on in other forms. I wrote my final (?) article for The Connector. I’m actually proud of this piece as it’s my first interview. It was nice interviewing an alum and finding out so much about a person making their mark on the animation industry. Be on the lookout for that soon.

working in a group

I tried my best to participate in Black Artpril,  but I only produced one piece (check out my Instagram). Much of my design and artwork was focused on Out to Launch. The new work on this site has been a reflection of that. With my physical portfolios on the way, Out to Launch will be my moment to shine. Hopefully, my journey will finally begin as a writer from this upcoming experience.

Putting my writer life on hold for my art life has been a nice break for me after finishing my thesis. But hopefully, post-graduate life will give me time to find a balance between writing and creating art.

backlit beach christian dawn

I look forward to working on my craft to build the future I want.


Come back next week for more on my life as a creative.

Don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below.

1 2 14
%d bloggers like this: