How Bad Did COVID-19 Hit You Financially? Here’s My Story.

During these unprecedented times, I certainly hope you are all staying safe.   There has been a lot of talk about testing and surges, along with macro-level economic impact.  On a microeconomic scale, how bad has the novel CoronaVirus hit you? 

How Bad Did COVID-19 Hit You Financially? Blog Post Graphic. Animated Gif. Crying Emoji. Virus Image, IRS, Stimulus Status, Fiat Pop 500c, Car Accident

STIMULUS

COVID-19 struck my wallet hard and fast.  Nonetheless, I am sure that beats testing positive for the virus.  I have not received the $1200 stimulus check and I am honestly not even sure why.  Periodically, I would check the IRS website for status, however I am hit with the perpetual “payment status not available” message.  Somehow, though, the treasury managed to issue $1.4 billion in stimulus funds to over a million dead people.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Amidst curfews, social distancing and mask requirements, freelance opportunities in photography and videography dried up.  I did, however, maintain a conventional position which I assumed would result in eligibility for unemployment.  I filed a claim with the Washington, D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) and proceeded to certify weekly.  I even completed and submitted the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) forms; I’ve yet to receive a dime.  Unemployment insurance scammers have been cashing out nationwide, though.

UNEXPECTED EXPENDITURES

My car was left parked throughout most of the pandemic.  Just my luck that I got into a car accident one of my first trips out; t-boned by some idiot, speeding in the rain with no regard for traffic laws.  I wasn’t at fault, and I wasn’t injured.  However, my precious Fefe … Fiat Pop 500c was pretty banged up and left with an inoperable passenger side door.  I call National Continental Insurance, the offending party’s insurance company, and it turns out this is a Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP)I never heard of this before, but apparently, it is a $1/day car insurance for Medicaid recipients that doesn’t cover anything unless the car accident kills you or leaves you in a vegetative state. The death “benefit” is a whopping $10,000.  I can’t imagine someone’s life being valued at such a minuscule amount.  I spoke with the representative who forwarded the denial letter and her reply was classic: “Yeah, that’s just how it is.  Wouldn’t matter if they hit ten Lamborghinis.”  How reassuring.  Here I am, paying through the nose for an insurance policy because of discrimination (ugh) … age, risk factors, statistics, and mysterious underwriter voodoo.  My personal policy has a small under-insured motorist benefit and *fingers crossed*, that will kick in to assist with the cost of repair.

CONCLUSION

I am in a lease and still have to pay rent (w/ WIFI and utilities), still have to eat, still have to pay my cell phone bill, still have to buy toiletries, magically come up with tuition payments etc..  For some people, their biggest concern during this time is not being able to get a haircut and I’m jealous.  Must be nice!  Some people are having an absolute field-day and are not eager to return to work; personally, I cannot wait. 

In my next blog post, I will share some freelancer resources, ideas, and things I’ve been doing to make this time more productive.

If you aren’t in dire straits and wish to toss a few coins into my virtual tip jar, FEEL FREE.

Freelance Spotlight: The Genese Martin Foundation (Digital Media Presentation, Audio & Photo Editing)

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of working on a freelance project from The Genese Martin Foundation.   This intense, time-sensitive project required expeditious turnaround and serves as a true testament of digital age convenience, as the client was able to transmit files via DropBox during business travel throughout the day.  The final product was a MOV file / digital media presentation inclusive of voiceover, background music, sound editing, photo editing, b-roll sourcing, and content storyboarding in a coherent fashion to demonstrate the organization’s purpose.  The founder of this non-profit organization has a storied history and uses her experiences in the arts to PAY IT FORWARD.  We commend the work this foundation does in the community.  Art is the core of all humanity; ART IS LIFE.

Click to learn more about The Genese Martin Foundation.

What is Black Cinema? A Video Story. Film Criticism [Assignment]

Here is an excerpt from one of my Film Criticism assignment submissions.  The final video story is a 10-minute travel through time with b-roll curated from various online sources to corroborate the message.  I explored the meaning of black cinema, the history, cultural significance, theories, challenges, and future.  I highlighted the origins, silent film era, race films, blaxploitation films, the work of pioneer Oscar Michaux, independent cinema, notable challenges, the structure of Hollywood narratives, and the theories of Manthia Diawara, bell hooks and Haile Gerima.  The later describes cinema as a weapon, and “one of the most unexamined, unscrutinzed tool(s) of colonialism” detailing how mass media exploitation prescribes a view of blackness that perpetuates the disenfranchisement of Black Americans. 

What is Black Cinema? Film Criticism. Video Story. Assignment Submission. Screen Capture. Professor Sam Harman. Howard University.
What is Black Cinema? Film Criticism. Video Story. Assignment Submission. Screen Capture. Professor Sam Harman. Howard University.

What is Black Cinema anyway? 

Black Cinema is defined as classification used to describe film which involves the participation and/or representation of black people.  Now, this definition is quite broad and leaves some room for interpretation.  It could mean the film black cast, a black crew, a black director, a black story, or a focus on black audiences.

Alternatively, black cinema has been defined as a film recounting relatable common experiences and containing cultural elements that celebrate Black Cultural Identity.

Film director, Gladstone Yearwood defines black cinema as a body of films produced in the African diaspora which share a common problematic.  These films are a cultural expression of the survival impulse of African American culture and its struggle against marginalization.

Conclusion

Black cinema is not an isolated phenomenon. It has always been linked with social issues in the black community and served as the imagination of our aspirations.  Although challenges remain with funding and access, there is definitely a market for black stories.  It’s interesting to speculate in what direction black cinema would go.

If you would like to view the entire video story, send a message on the contact page or sign-up for mailing list.  I can also forward my voiceover transcript.  Best regards!

1st Year of Film MFA at Howard University Completed, Semester Reflection

What a bummer?!?!  While I am elated the academic year at Howard University has come to a close and I officially completed the first year of my graduate film school experience, something about this still feels incomplete.

When classes started in January, there was no way any of us could have predicted a pandemic would sweep through the nation and change life as we know it.  Classes were migrated to a virtual format, the status of my unfinished film remains in limbo, the film I was scheduled to DP was permanently postponed and my freelance photography / videography gigs were suspended amid curfew and social distancing requirements. Oh, and it gets better … my positions at Live Nation and Landry’s were furloughed as businesses closed. I’ve yet to see a stimulus check or unemployment check and sadly, I’m stuck in a lease in Washington, D.C., one of the most expensive places to live in America.  Putting it mildly, my life sucks right now.

Zoom classes are cute and all, but NOT when you are a film student.  The program is collaborative in nature!  We want access to equipment; we want to crew shoots.  Working on group projects remotely with behemoth sized files and varying degrees of software access and system capability is no fun at all.  I would have sat this semester out had I known it would wind up online.  With talks of additional COVID phases, the likelihood of next semester being online, no program funding for the film program and graduate assistant positions reportedly slashed 50% to measly two slots … an upcoming gap-year seems imminent.

Howard University Film MFA Graduate School - Spring 2020 Grades
Howard University MFA Film Student – Graduate School, Spring 2020 COVID-19 Grades

Update: Daughters of Solanas Nominated for Best Comedy at Film Festival

Considering the novel CoronaVirus pandemic, screenings and award shows have been postponed or moved to virtual delivery formats.   This hasn’t stopped the momentum for the Daughters of Solanas film which we recently learned was nominated for Best Comedy, alongside fellow Women’s Weekend Film Challenge alum, Pretty Dead.   Both films premiered at the MoMi (Museum of Moving Image) in April 2019. 

Daughters of Solanas is a drama/comedy short created by an all-female cast and crew.  I worked as the BTS / Unit Photographer and established the digital footprint for the film.  Thus far, the film has been selected for the Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival, 2020 Uptown Women’s Festival of New York, 2020 Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta, Queerly Film Festival and others. 

Poster for Daughters of Solanas Film for Women’s Weekend Film Challenge

Learn more about the festival and nomination by visiting the Instagram account for the Uptown Women’s Film Festival. Read more about the film by clicking here => #DaughtersofSolanas or visiting the IMDB page.


Introducing G-Pilot, Selected for Year-End Howard University Film Screening

The Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Department of Media, Journalism and Film (MJF) at Howard University presents its annual, invite-only, Year End Student Film Screening for 2019/2020.  The screening is scheduled to take place Sunday, May 10th to Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Introducing G-Pilot by Briana M. Andrews is among the undergraduate and graduate student projects selected for feature at the screening.   Briana worked as the Shreditor (shooter, producer, editor) and the mini-documentary features an interview, in-studio performance and music video featuring up-and-coming hip-hop recording artist G-Pilot.

Click to read the original BibbyFame Digital post on Introducing G-Pilot.

Visit G-Pilot on Instagram and click here to listen to his music on Soundcloud.

TEHT Screening Update – COVID-19 Postponement

It is with great regret, through likely no surprise, that due to the novel CoronaVirus pandemic, we had to adjust plans for the screening of To Each, Her Throne, originally scheduled for April 25, 2020 in New York City.

While the screening is no longer continuing as planned, we are actively working to reschedule. The tri-state area is among the hardest hit by COVID-19 and we’d like to urge you to stay home (if possible) and stay safe. We will be in touch when new dates are confirmed.

To Each Her Throne - Official Trailer - Web Episode Graphic

“To Each, Her Throne” Screening Date Announced, RSVP Now

The day we have been waiting for is almost here!  It gives me great joy to announce our date of release during Women’s History Month.  To Each, Her Throne, is a female-centric web-based docuseries produced by Briana M. Andrews.  It features women from all walks of life and boasts an all-female cast and crew.  Moreover, it focuses on challenges encountered and overcome by women. I encourage you all to check it out.  The premiere is taking place in TRIBECA, New York City at 7pm on April 25, 2020. Click here to RSVP

If you have any questions, concerns or would like to book a private screening or secure group tickets, feel free to contact me.  Learn more about the TEHT project, cast and crew => #ToEachHerThrone

  • Danielle Privat, Director / Production Designer
  • Alicia Allen, 1st Assistant Director / Director of Photography
  • Briana Andrews, Producer
  • Giovanni Jackson, Director of Photography
  • Veronica Lewis, Gaffer
  • Morgan Jones, Sound Mixer

“Let Live” Film Wraps Production, Enters Post

Let Live, the dramedy short, written and directed by Briana M. Andrews, owner of BibbyFame Digital, LLC and current Howard University Film MFA candidate has officially wrapped production and entered post.

Enjoy some photos from our last day on set.

We’d like to thank each member of the #LetLive cast and crew for working tirelessly on set these past few days.  We would also like to thank all contributors, including catering service and venue for their assistance in helping this production come to life. 

  • Film: Let Live
  • Genre: Drama, Short
  • Shoot Dates: March 1st – March 3rd
  • Locations: Washington, D.C. & Fort Washington, MD
  • Director / Writer: Briana M. Andrews
  • Producer: Ayo Awoyemi
  • Assistant Director: Elon Riley
  • Director of Photography: Rachel Carter
  • 1st Assistant Camera: Meagan Sims
  • Production Designer / Sound Mixer: Junee Ailes

Daughters of Solanas Selected for Two Additional Film Festivals

Daughters of Solanas continues to take off!  The dramedy short was recently accepted into two additional film festivals.  What great news to kick off Women’s History Month!?!?  It is an official selection of the 2020 Uptown Women’s Festival of New York which runs May 14-17th 2020 at New Stage Theater.  The film was also recently selected for the 2020 Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta.

Directed by Angele Cooper of Alpha Female Films, this dramedy short was created as part of the New York iteration of the Women’s Weekend Film Challenge.  It premiered in April 2019 at the Museum of Moving Image in New York.  I had the pleasure of working this entire female cast and crew as a BTS / Unit Photographer.  I also managed socials and established digital presence for the film.  Read more about the film by clicking here => #DaughtersofSolanas or visiting the IMDB page.