"30" | M o m e n t 1
While 30 is the age when all things are expected to fall into place and the age to when you should throw or attend massive 30 celebrations, I, instead went to work. But not just any old job. A job in my career path, a job that I enjoyed. Admittedly, I did beat myself up about going to work on my 30th birthday. I felt that I should be out exploring all the world has to offer—traveling to a new country, making a deal, maybe even starting a family (joke), but not work, anything but work. When I turned 25, I was living in Atlanta and working as a Production Assistant at Tyler Perry Studios. So the 30th birthday, I felt, should definitely be different.
I was working at a casting facility, working on casting actors for a network television movie.That day was a casting day, which meant that we saw a ton of actors for various roles in this particular production. They auditioned, I taped them, and then it was on to the next actor. As simple as this sounds, it can be quite, tiresome- hearing the same lines, over and over again. After feeling a bit down and beating myself up all day about it, my perspective suddenly changed. I felt different.
As I looked up from behind the camera lens to see an actor, Gary ‘G. Thang’ Johnson, auditioning in front of me, I realized just how blessed I really was. Here I was, in LA, pursing a passion, auditioning with an actor, and doing a job that I enjoyed. I was able to work when I wanted and where I wanted. I am “that” person—fully aware and fully capable of doing and being whatever I decide, whenever I decide. From that perspective, the rest of my 30th year looked victorious. I didn’t worry about what I did not do, but instead thought of just how blessed I really was. The year was just beginning and I still had time to Travel the world!
“Going for Greater” | M o m e n t 2
It was March-ish 2016 and I found myself stuck in a rut. I was thankful for this particular gig in which I was working in another Casting Facility working on a large-scale feature film. Because of the way the project was set up and run it became more of a task and felt more like a job. I had to deal with people being so stressed out to the point to where they would get panic attacks and spill boiling coffee all over the computers. In the facility, there was even an had an assistant who would constantly tell me that he was about 'have a heart attack' because of the level of stress. With that came added stress, stressed out people, and people trying to bring me more stress and all in all it had me feeling like I needed to escape. I begin to question myself and the passion I had for the industry, even my reason for being in a industry of this nature. Too many times, I had to 'professionally' read someone.
I begin to feel like I should be out of there, doing something more Grand and something that fueled my passion more and of course, something that didn’t seem like a job. Besides, they were always late on pay. (not uncommon in this industry)
A insane moment of courage came upon me. I didn’t think of bills, a weekly pay check, IMDB credit (www.imdb.com- we get this when we work on productions) or even staying on for other gigs with this particular facility. I just knew that I needed out and fast. As corny as that sounds, I kept hearing a beat (like drums) in my heart and I had to go after it. I had to discover what this rhythm was all about. Because we worked around 10-12 hours a day, the only way for me to do what to leave. It was at that moment that I made a decision to leave.
There was something placed on my heart to pursue a few years back and that thing kept coming back to me. Every time I would start it, I stopped.This happened for years. But at this very moment, I decided to pick it back up and run with it 100%.
I didn’t give a 2 weeks notice, but more of a 3-day notice. I even offered to assist in finding my replacement on the project and I would even catch them up to speed. They declined my help, but insisted that I return. They called me the whole weekend asking me if I wanted to return and work things out. I left on good terms, so I’m great! I was actually quite thankful for the added ‘craziness’ I experienced, because of this opportunity; it led me to pursue my greatest endeavor. Sometimes leaving someone or something is just the right amount of Kick you need to do something great! This has been my greatest endeavor to date, this will be announced later in 2017.
"Check your CoNneCtiOn" | M o m e n t 3
So, for the past years or so, I have been attending a week long Church Camp Meeting in Darrow, Louisiana under the direction of Apostle Leroy Thompson (check out his ministry HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE). Because my spirituality has and always will be an anchor and how I govern my life, it’s important to me that I stay connected.
This year, in particular I had been in communication with my home base pastor in Texas (Dr. Marvin Moore) about attending the conference and he urged me to attend, as this is a place of Faith and foreseen victory. While there, I was convinced that things happened to me, spiritually. I literally felt different when I left. I was convinced that many victories where in my path after this conference. No words can accurately describe this week.
While there, I was apart of sowing 1 Million dollars in the life of Apostle Leroy Thompson and his wife, Carolyn Thompson. In life, you sow into fertile ground; this is how you reap a bountiful harvest. In all my years of living, I was never apart of something so monumental, life changing and mind blowing. This is the connection that counts, the best connection. Spiritual connectivity.
“Homecoming” | M o m e n t 4
As a 2010 graduate of The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), it has been somewhat of a goal to be invited to go back to SCAD to attend the Savannah Film Festival and have a film that I am attached to, to be in the festival. Not to mention, all trip expenses fully paid. A win from the festival would be even better!
As the years passed, with its typical valleys and mountain, I held to the goal and with each victory, I was ensured that things would go as I hoped. In due time.
Flash forward to late 2015; I became attached as a Producer to the film, “Like Cotton Twines” featuring Jay Ellis (HBO, Issa Rae/’Insecure”). The film explores themes of Trokoski, Child sex slavery in a Voodoo religious culture in a remote area of Africa. By all means, the film is a tale of slavery in various aspects. The film hit the festival circuit and did, well!
Programmers from the Savannah Film Festival noticed the film when it screen at the Los Angeles Film Festival and invited the film to enter into competition at their 2016 Savannah Film Festival.
Because of this, the director and I were invited to attend. This included all expenses paid! We premiered and screened the film twice to a large and eager crowd of festival goers. I also had the opportunity to do a ton of media interviews, walked the red carpet, and also caught up with former professors and film friends. I even got the chance to speak on the SCAD alumni panel, where I discussed my faith and thriving in the Entertainment Industry. I was also able to meet and chat w/ President Paula Wallace. She can be dubbed the ‘Oprah’ of College presidents. Her story is remarkable and SCAD is a true reflection of her love and dedication to the Arts.
To top it off, our film, “Like Cotton Twines”, took home the award for “Best Narrative Feature Film.”
Everything that happened within that week is a true testament of creating your reality. Never quitting, never stopping. Just shaping my world, with continued Faith, and Actions. The festival widen my playing field and opened several doors. I knew that after this experience things for me would never be the same. I opened the door to a new and untapped territory in my life and I could never go back to being limited, being small, thinking small or making small moves. I had an explosive meeting with a high ranked employee of a company for a future project and I certain that connection will be vital.
Click H E R E to check out a RED CARPET video from Opening night at the 2016 Savannah Film Festival.
“It’s not over yet”/ International Vavay | M o m e n t 5
So, if you really know me, you know that my heart has always been to travel. So much so that I gave myself the name, Vavay, because it sounds French. Summed up, it means ALL THINGS GREAT.
This year, I had my heart set on traveling, internationally. By mid-year it didn’t happen, I kept in mind that the year wasn’t over yet and that things can change within a second.
>>>It was Sept 2016 -The director of the film, “Like Cotton Twines” alerted me that the film was invited to be screened at the 48th International Film Festival of India. I thought for sure that this was my opportunity to travel to India!! I FELT IT. If I was going out of the country this year then THIS WAS MY CHANCE! (and for free, too??!! Yassss) The only thing was that the festival was only sponsoring (paying for) ONE person from our film to attend. Bummed out, quite naturally, I figured the director would decide to go and quite naturally, she did decide to go! Although it’s been a dream of mine to travel (for free) I tried to make sure that I didn’t allow myself to feel down or disappointed because I really felt this was my year to travel, internationally. The year wasn’t over yet and things can change. Never know- I could win one of those Travel Sweepstakes and jet out to Europe the next day! :) :) :) :)
>>>Flash back to Oct. 2016. I was in a vehicle headed to LAX airport to travel to Savannah, GA for the Savannah Film Festival. I was alerted by the director of the film,“Like Cotton Twines” that she received word from the Programmers of the India Film Festival that our film was moved to the Centerpiece Gala screening, thus making it more prestigious. Because of this the festival extended the offer for 6 cast and/or crew members of the film. They wanted 6 representatives from the film to attend the festival! Meaning they would sponsor each person, flight, lodging, all the goodies. etc.
It was at that moment that I felt India in my future. All airfare, lodging completely arranged and funded by the festival, 5 star resort valued at over $500/night (U.S.Currency), chauffeured car in India, red carpet, Press conferences, appearing on India based TV shows, full festival passes + more! Check out the 5 star resort I had to pleasure to stay in, The Cidade de Goa.
Yes, I had some obstacles that I had to push through to go. Yes, because of certain issues it seemed like I wasn’t going at one point and YES, I did give up. Everything seemed to block me from passport issues, to VISA issues, to dealing with international communication issues. I literally wasn’t cleared to go until the morning I left. Talk about some pressure and stress. Thankful for a friend who told me to push through, because this is where I was destined to be. Since the very beginning this was meant for me. I believe that the change was all because of me and because I knew this was the year for, "International Vavay."
India, though…some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met…and I’m from the South.
:Push. Fight. Win!