Collaboration Corner: Break Point (Actress) and Final Beat (First AC)

Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to work on several exciting film projects.  In addition to my personal ventures, I was on the crew for a few others, including student projects for fellow MFA candidates.  There are two projects I’d like to share details on.  First, because I am super proud of the outcome, and secondly, since both films were directed by women.  In recent weeks, there was quite the uproar about the industry’s lack of gender parity and female filmmakers being snubbed by the Oscars and Golden Globes.  Here are two projects from upcoming women in film to be on the lookout for:

The first project, Final Beat was directed by Elon Riley.  I was the first assistant camera (1st AC / focus puller) for this film.

The second project Break Point was written and directed by Melissa Witherspoon.  I was cast as the actress in this film; I’m usually behind the camera but I was able to flex some acting chops here.

I’ll share more details about release as information becomes available.

MFA: Film Candidate Grades, Semester Reflection

Grades were posted; I just completed the 1st semester of Howard University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA M.F.A) Film program.  In this golden age for diverse stories and digital expansion, this is an exciting time to study cinematic arts at THE MECCA, which happens to be sole HBCU with the program.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for each student in my cohort and truly feel like I found my “tribe” aka crew.  Although there generally isn’t as much of an emphasis on grades in graduate school for creative arts (since more importance lies with your completed body of work), I am proud of the perfect 4.0 GPA I secured this semester.  It is imperative that I maintain solid academic standing since I’d like to teach courses in the future, and for now, have hopes of securing a TA slot and competitive internship positions in TV/film/media.  This semester was remarkably challenging, but incredibly rewarding. 

During winter intermission, I’ll be in New Jersey and New York completing freelance projects.  Reach out for bookings and collaborations.

Academic Paper [BLOG] – Italian Neorealism: Origin and Correlation with Documentary Style Film

Some of the aspects I appreciate most about my MFA program is the emphasis on global perspectives, along with the screenings of international films.  In my film history and film analysis courses, I became increasingly familiar with Pre-Classical Cinema, Soviet Montage Theory, German Expressionism, French New Wave, British Cinema (among others).  I enjoyed learning more about Italian Neorealism; which is often heralded as “the Golden Age of Cinema” and one of the most important movements in film history.  Italian Neorealism provided viewers with a with a realistic depiction of life in post-war Italy.  Some of the distinctive features of this movement include the use of non-professional actors and filming on-location. I admired the emphasis on bare-boned storytelling devoid of the fluff and grandeur popularized by its American cinematic counterparts.  It gave a dreary scene of the everyday conditions experienced by normal citizens in the aftermath of a fascist regime.

Although highly regarded as one of the most influential film movements, there isn’t much discussion about the origins and stylistic influences of Italian Neorealism.  Personally, this movement struck me as a documentary-hybrid of sorts.  I pitched this topic and completed a research paper to explore the factors that contributed to the popularization of this cinematic language, while drawing parallel to documentary film. 

The films were created to appeal to our sensibilities with harsh reality and an emphasis on humanity.  There are undeniable similarities between documentary film and Neorealism.  It can be argued that both are visual mediums which provide an accurate depiction of life.  For my research paper, the works of Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica were screened for primary research, and various sources were utilized to demonstrate the correlation between Italian Neorealism to Documentary style film. Both can be deemed anti-Hollywood film styles derived from political and social circumstances.

Screen grab of research paper on Neorealism correlations with documentary style film
Click image to access research paper

Freelance Spotlight: Happy RHOvember from Theta Mu Chapter [Producer, Editor]

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Artwork Graphic Soror with Cane Poodle Eeyip
SGRho Artwork, Original Graphic

As a Jersey poodle and distinguished lady of royal blue and gold, I absolutely love this time of year. Check out this promo spot over a STM instrumental remake created for Theta Mu, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. undergraduate chapter at Rowan University.  This year, SGRho turns 97.  The organization was formed by seven young educators on November 12, 1922 at Butler University.  With an organizational commitment of scholarship, sisterhood and service, its mission includes enhancing the quality of life for women and families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil and social action.

While this is a Founders’ Day blog post, this video was actually created to commemorate Charter Day on the Theta Mu social media channel.  I was the Shreditor (shooter, producer, editor) and starred in this one one-man band piece shot at 114 Victoria, Nexus Apartments @ Rowan University.  Running time under one minute and optimized for socials. 

Theta Mu Chapter Crest - Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. NPHC Divine Nine D9 Rowan University SGRho
Theta Mu Chapter Crest

Career Update: Media Production DC TV (Public Access Corporation of the District of Columbia)

I am pleased to announce I recently accepted an intern position as a Production Assistant / Editor with DC TV.  This role is part of the media production crew with this Washington, D.C. based public access television station.  Thus far, I worked as a PA for a piece shot on a local food bank and edited spots aired on television.  I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work alongside such a talented group with a vested interest in the community.  DC TV provides opportunities for members of the community to be SEEN and HEARD. 

DC TV provides local programming created by and for DC communities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Providing a platform for individuals to share their own stories is one of the unique aspects that stuck out to me as an applicant.  I am eager to learn more about broadcasting and television production, while also being afforded the opportunity to share insight from my previous experiences.

Some of the responsibilities associated with the position are as follows:

  • Assist with producing, filming, and editing video content which adheres to standards for HD Cable Television channels, streaming and online channels and social media platforms
  • Production Assistant on field-based shoots, edit content to produce engaging narratives
  • Conduct research topics using video archives, the internet, library archives and other sources to find b-roll
  • Assist with all components of production and post-production, mic guests for in-studio shoots

Click here to learn more about Public Access Corporation of the District of Columbia (DC TV). I am certainly excited to join the team, wish me the best of luck Fall 2019.

Photographer / Videographer – Steering Committee, Media Team | Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS) – #HUDOS2019

Veritas et Utilitas, “Truth and Service” is the motto for Howard University and represents a vital component of the school’s identity.  I have a special affinity for educational initiatives, particularly those that drive young minority women to CREATE.  Service is a lifelong commitment and over the years, I volunteered hundreds of hours at various community-based and 501(c)(3) organizations.  While Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS) draws mostly undergraduate students, I was intrigued and sought a way to get involved.  I am pleased to announce I was selected for the Steering Committee and serve as the Photographer / Videographer on the Media Team. 

#HUDOS2019 Logo

To me, HUDOS provides a phenomenal way for students to become immersed in both the university and the community-at-large.  I am thrilled about having the opportunity to create visuals displaying Howard students as they come together, working hard to make a difference.  Check out one of my promo edits created using supplied photos and footage curated from HUDOS over the last two years, along with graphics I created to accompany student quotes on the service experience.

Freelance Spotlight: BTS from Eclectic New Yorker Project [Camera Assistant & Lighting Crew]

Summer 2019 has been remarkably busy (in a good way).  While the blog posts have certainly been more sporadic, I promise it’s for good reason.  I’d like to share some details on a recently completed freelance project in Astoria, NY.  In late July, I had the pleasure of working with photographer Regan Wood.  She is working on a super exciting project about eclectic New Yorkers and fascinating spaces.   I assisted on-set with several functions including lighting.  This connection was made by Jill Lotenberg, another lady of the lens that I had the pleasure of working with.  I’ll be sure to share more details about the project as it comes into fruition. Here are a couple behind the scenes snaps from the space:

“To Each, Her Throne” – Web Docuseries Official Trailer [VIEW]

Check out the official trailer for “To Each, Her Throne.” 

To Each, Her Throne is a five-episode web docuseries bringing together women from different ages, backgrounds, sexualities, religions, races and ethnic groups.  This is a female-centric project boasting an all-female cast and crew.  Thus far, support for the project has been overwhelmingly positive, partially securing funding through a successful IndieGogo campaign with over 40 backers.  Under the artistic direction of Danielle Privat, the cast came together for judgement-free discourse on the female experience, with the goal of breaking societal mandates.

Be on the lookout for the dates of our upcoming screening in NYC and project release. 

To Each Her Throne - Official Trailer - Web Episode Graphic

Crew:

  • 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

Cast:

Freelance Spotlight: BTS from Film Premiere – Heroic Episodes & The Shades [Desktop Publishing, Behind-the-Scenes Photo / Video]

June 2019 was an action-packed month!  One of the most memorable events I had the pleasure of being involved with this month was the screening of Heroic Episodes and The Shades.  These short films were both directed by Lisa Regina, the founder of A Write to Heal, a 501(c)(3) organization.  The cast consisted of military veterans, and the screening took place the weekend after Memorial Day. 

Below are some photos I took at the event: 

In the month leading up to the event I assisted with grassroots marketing efforts and used both Canva and desktop publishing software to design a 16-page program / theater booklet with cast bios, sponsors, advertisers and more. I also handled BTS / event photography and edited a photo-story and video collage for socials. The premiere took place on June 4, 2019 at the historic Broadway Theater in Pitman, NJ.

I received a referral for this opportunity from Professor Rachael Shapiro, a Writing Arts, Research and Technology professor at Rowan University who taught my New Media Practicum / senior seminar course. Lisa Regina is a professional actress and coach by-trade.  Her partnership with Bridging the Gap helps soldiers with communication skills and confidence building for reintegration into society after deployment.  To learn more about Lisa Regina, these film projects, or her acting classes visit her website.

Career Update: Media Associate (Social, Digital Content Production)

I recently accepted a summer project / temporary role through August 2019 with an innovative STEAM academy in Northern New Jersey.  In this role, I’ll act as photographer/videographer/editor for in-house production: social media content, short-form videos and slideshows.  My responsibilities will include coordination, production and post-production of strategically planned marketing photos/videos across two company locations serving Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York.

This short-term opportunity is ideal since I am relocating to Washington, D.C. in late August.  This academy teaches kids how to code and program smartphone apps, film and edit digital movies and develop digital inventions.  I will manage the social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), utilize scheduling software (Buffer), shoot photos and videos (Canon DSLR), and edit (Creative Suite, Movavi).  I’m happy to partner up with this company because STEAM = STEM + Media Arts.  In recent years, I volunteered extensively at Liberty Science Center as an ambassador, while also training and mentoring new volunteers.  I support learning methods that increase critical thinking and offer hands-on learning experiences.  It is particularly important that young children, especially girls are exposed to opportunities to use knowledge and skills in ways that are practical and applicable to the real world.

Little Ivy Academy Summer Camp Counselors & Staffers (Summer 2019)

Please note, I will still accept freelance photography and videography projects. Feel free to reach out for special pricing and seasonal studio shoots.