Los Angeles, California
How did you get your start with filmmaking?
Filmmaking was not always the plan for me. I initially majored in Video-Film at the University of Miami. I wanted to learn the behind the camera responsibilities and experiences, so when I got in front of the camera, I would be fully aware of all aspects of this industry. However, after the first semester, I decided I didn't care too much for a certain professor or the classes, so I switched majors to Visual Journalism. Visual journalism mostly focuses on sharing true stories through graphics, photographs, and videos. The video aspect got me into filmmaking. I would say my passion was mostly for documentaries, but the more my acting evolved, I've grown to love and appreciate creating and sharing fictional pieces.
Where do you draw inspiration for your stories?
Inspiration is EVERYWHERE. Each person I encounter serves as inspiration. Each experience I'm blessed to have served as inspiration. We all have so many unique and ordinary life experiences; using those experiences to share stories that may impact others in some way or another is what's so beautiful about creating content. Traveling, fellowship and dreams are where most of my ideas come from. With travel, you're not only exposed to the country, city or space that you visit, but you're exposed to people from all over the world, all walks of life. These people have amazing stories to share. The things you learn and get to experience simply from speaking to someone on the plane, train, bus, tram, etc. is mesmerizing. Fellowship, specifically with close friends, also gifts me with endless inspiration. My girls, the FAB5, are a daily source of inspiration. Dreams (not goals, but real dreams when you're asleep) are probably my favorite source of inspiration. These are unique gifts from God to only you. No one else gets to be inside that beautiful mind of yours, but you and the Most High. The thing is you have to be quick about writing things down when you have a dream, the stories and memories usually don't last long. I like to keep a notebook near my bed or use the notes feature on my phone, so when I wake up from an amazing dream, all I have to do is write it down.
What are some of the messages you want your audience to take from your stories?
My goal is to share stories that spark and ignite something within people. I want people to watch my work and be moved. Whether it makes them curious, happy, sad, intrigued, inquisitive, or it teaches them something, I want them to feel connected to the story. No matter what the story is, whether it’s fiction, based on a true story or sci-fi, I want them to see a little bit of themselves within the work.
On current short film Glow:
Glow came about around three years ago. I started writing it a few months after my uncle passed away from esophageal cancer. I was battling with all sorts of emotions one night and just decided to write this story of both love and sadness. I wanted to create an open letter to God, lovingly called Papa throughout the film. Ironically, I got the idea to refer to God as Papa from my favorite book The Shack which was just released as a movie at the beginning of March.
The story takes you quickly through the life of Glow and Jazz. They fall in love, get engaged and married and then she's diagnosed with aggressive cancer that spreading rapidly. We follow her through her diary to Papa, and then through Jazz's diary to God. It's how I wished I talked to God as I watched my family members succumb to cancer. There are this love and respect for God, but also this desperation for Him to heal the one's you love. Glow shows the pain that comes along with cancer. I wasn't concerned with happily ever after, I just wanted the pain and sadness to be as real as the pain and sadness we all feel when we lose someone we love.
Glow is my very first completed short film. It was a challenge that took almost two years after shooting to commit to finishing finally. There's a level of vulnerability that comes along with releasing a project that is entirely yours. I wrote, directed, filmed, produced, starred and edited this entire project. I'm so grateful for the help of my co-star, Victor Ector, and my besties Shayla Love and Chazitear Martin for their assistance in filming some of the scenes.