You know that saying, “the first through the brush gets the thorns?”
Well, out of all the genres I write, that never rang for more true for me than it did with audio dramas.
I fell in love with making audio dramas eons ago when I was a graduate film student at Columbia College in Chicago. Thanks to my other love as a spoken word artist, I got introduced to a gruffy dude named Tony Green, who was writing and producing two audio dramas with up and coming actors out of a run down Southside brownstone in Bronzeville.
At first, I just typed up his hand-scrawled pages to make it easier for the actors to read. But soon, I was writing scenes myself and once I heard my words come out of their mouths with music and sound effects enhancing them, I was hooked.
At the time, though – except for Tom Joyner’s soap opera”It’s Your World” on his syndicated radio show – there was no real avenue for this genre of storytelling. So after I graduated from Columbia, I moved to LA to focus on my career as a filmmaker and screenwriter.
Fast forward 13 years later. Burned out from the roller coaster ride that’s life in Hollyweird, I quit my illustrious job as an executive assistant to write my debut novel, “Address: House of Corrections.” And after my then agent wasn’t able to secure me a publishing deal, I needed to independently publish and market it.
Of course, I Master P’d the mess out of it. Even bootstrapped my own national book tour. But the smartest thing I ever did was asking twelve of my actor friends to go into a booth and voice the narration and characters for first three chapters of my novel.
Not only did it help sell books, but it also let me flex my directing chops again. But, just like before, the timing wasn’t right for it to grow into anything more and went back to filmmaking and screenwriting.
Then, nine years later, this little thing called Covid19 dismantled our lives. And I, like you, was stuck in the house, trying to figure out what to do next, when I got a Twitter DM from Aisha Casey inviting me to attend a Zoom mixer hosted by XperienceJ, the creator of the collective, Black Audio Dramas Exist!
#6. I FOUND MY TRIBE : As soon as I logged on and saw all of those Black creatives faces from around the world, I knew I wasn’t an alien anymore. We all shared our goals for our audio dramas and ideas about how we can get a piece of the scripted podcast pie Hollyweird has finally woken up to. But most of all, we just connected and promised to help one another however we could.
And as the months of the pandemic dragged on, we did just that. From supportive emails, job leads, panel recommendations, social media shares and shout outs, we’ve been there for each other.
Check out this gallery of panels I got the opportunity to participate in and moderate because of the comradery and exposure I gained from Black Audio Dramas Exist:
Thank you, Podfest Multimedia Expo Global Summit, Afros & Audio, WGA Audio Alliance, WGAE, XperienceJ and my Black Audio Dramas Exist tribe for blessing me this year. You’ve given me my second wind to keep pushing through the brush.