World Mental Health Day: 5 Daily Tools To Combat Depression

World Mental Health Day: 5 Daily Tools To Combat Depression

It’s no secret that creatives suffer from depression at a rate that is higher than the general population. So, on this World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share 5 Daily Tools that have helped me to conquer the effects of depression in my life. 

World Mental Health Day: The Time To Check-In with Yourself

  1. Be present focused. It took me a while to realize that my depression struck when I was obsessing about what had happened in my past. It probably sounds lame but when I stopped thinking about what went wrong in my life and started focusing on what I could do to make my life right, the dark cloud lifted A LOT. No longer do I spend more than 5 minutes thinking about what went wrong way back when. I simply focus on what I can do now. 
  2. Journal to separate feelings from facts. With so many thoughts going through our heads, we often confuse our emotions and the reality of relationships, situations and outcomes. We need space to see what is real in our lives. For example, in my heart I wanted to believe someone was a good person. But, when I started to examine their actions on paper, I could see their actions weren’t that of a good person. Again, it might sound lame. But, your emotions can confuse you. Journaling on paper allows you to get out of your head. Therefore, it prevents you from being tricked by your emotions to remain in toxic situations.
  3. Exercise. There’s something about even the shortest walk around the block that can make you feel better. Exercise has a calming relaxing effect on me and has often made me feel better when the clouds have begun to form. Start out with a goal of 15 minutes. See how you feel afterwards. Listening to classical music or a motivational podcast often helps make the walk go by faster.
  4. Read a book that relates to a struggle you’re facing. There are books on depression, anxiety, letting go, grieving, sexual assault, adoption, divorce, etc. Many of these books provide insight and tools to help us to combat the mental illness that we’re facing. When I found myself having a hard time letting go of a toxic relationship, I began to read the book, The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. It absolutely gave me the tools I needed to let go. So, get a library card. Reading doesn’t have to be expensive. 
  5. Meditate by imagining yourself in a happy space. A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of meditation, but closing my eyes and seeing myself on a beach relaxes me. It also sends the clouds away. Meditating puts me in a spirit of gratitude which erases feelings of depression. I enjoy using the Breathe App to help center my meditations. 

Suffering from mental health issues is not reason to be ashamed. But, do not suffer by yourself and don’t suffer in silence. There are hotlines, therapists, and many more solutions to help us. On this World Mental Health Day, check in with your loved ones, your friends, your co-workers and most importantly, yourself. How are you feeling? Do you need to take steps to feel better? The National Suicide Helpline is 800.273.Talk. Take care of yourself. You are the only you we have. 

Introducing Shreveport Urban Film Festival: A Talk With Tanesha Morris

Introducing Shreveport Urban Film Festival: A Talk With Tanesha Morris

Director / Writer Tanesha Morris recently created the Shreveport Urban Film Festival. This film festival’s mission is to showcase black talent from all over the United States in Shreveport Louisiana. From her Writer – Director debut with the short film Ruthless to launching Shreveport Urban Film Festival, Tanesha is determined to elevate the work of black filmmakers. Therefore, Black TV Film Crew jumped at the opportunity to talk with her. 

Though there seems to be new film festivals springing up all over the US, there aren’t a plethora of festivals in Louisiana. Morris explains the motivation behind creating the Shreveport Urban Festival. “I created Shreveport Urban Film Festival because I felt that there is opportunity lacking for African-American filmmakers to be seen and heard in the film industry. I have a passion for film and wanted to open a door not only for local black talent in Shreveport but black talent all over the United States.”

The Shreveport Urban Film Festival is registered on Film Freeway and still accepting submissions. This festival is offering prizes to the winners: $1,000 to the 1st place Short Film winner and $500 to the 2nd place Short Film winner. Morris allowed filmmakers to submit their films for free through March 31st, 2018 which gave many filmmakers an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise. According to Morris, “I would like the filmmakers to walk away from SUFF knowing that they are valued and their voice matters. Their stories matter. I want them to feel like there’s a bend in the universe that welcomes them.”

Black TV Film Crew is a media sponsor of the Shreveport Urban Film Festival.

It’s always a joy to see filmmakers do more than write, direct and produce their own films. The film industry needs more people who are willing to help the industry move forward and not just watch their films and call it. Morris stepped up to the plate, “I know how it feels to be the only black writer/director in the room and I wanted to change that. There are more creators out there with unique voices but we have to be willing to give them a chance. With SUFF I wanted to give them the support they need no matter how big or small the platform. I am no longer asking for a seat at the table. I am creating my own table.”

Learn about Tanesha’s first movie, Ruthless, which happens to be a hip hop opera.

Rejection is definitely a part of filmmaker’s journey. But, Morris has some words of encouragement for all those filmmakers who may be nervous about submitting to film festivals. Morris cheers on our filmmakers, “Do it anyway! You might hear 100 no’s before you hear 1 yes but that’s okay! The point is to keep trying. Keep shooting. Keep putting your work out there!”

To follow the Shreveport Urban Film Festival on Social Media: 




If you have a new film festival that is targeting black filmmakers, let us know.

Film Critic Tim Gordon Introduces Lakefront Film Festival

Film Critic Tim Gordon Introduces Lakefront Film Festival


Tim Gordon, Film Critic, President of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association and Founder of the Black Reel Awards, has created a new venture: The Lakefront Film Festival. Gordon is taking 20+ years in the entertainment business and providing a forum to filmmakers of all backgrounds.  The 2018 season will be the inaugural session for the Lakefront Film Festival which will be held in Columbia, MD in July.

Why did you create the Lakefront Film Festival? 

I wanted a film festival with my imprint on it. It will be a user friendly festival where filmmakers come to this festival and feel validated. I want all filmmakers to know that we’re playing on a level playing field. I thought through a lot of the small touches in order to create a foundation and a culture. As a film critic, I’m uniquely built to do what we do with this festival: teaching and curating.

Why Columbia, Maryland to host the festival? 

The city was built on diversity and just celebrated its 50 year anniversary. I was able to get the local city government behind us and brought a lot of talented people to the mix. They have a huge facility here and we’ll use 13 venues in four days.

How will the Lakefront Film Festival be different from other festivals? 

There will be a strong presence of African American films and other ethnicities as well. We’re creating a good culture for the festival and I bring background and history. I want everything to be top shelf. I’m trying to cultivate different audiences and we may play a movie more than once.


What triggered your love of movies? 

My first mentor, my father, was a huge film fan. Being as young as 5 years old, I remember having plenty of conversations with my father around movies. I was never interested in movies as an actor or a director but I always saw movies as someone behind the scenes. When my father worked at the Newark Star Ledger, I would go into this room of old newspapers and I loved history and looking back.

I was in the military and I would go to the movies on dollar day. I was the guy who could always review the movies. I gained that reputation. People would say to me, “I know you saw the movie.”

Tim Gordon

Film Critic / Film Festival Founder, Lakefront Film Festival


Why have you been so vigilant in your support of black movies? 

I can’t really explain why I was so passionate about movies. But, I remember being 27 years old and reflecting about To Sleep With Anger with Danny Glover and also The Five Heartbeats movie. During that time, 1991, 1992, when the films came out neither of them made a lot of money at the box office. But I thought, ‘there has to be a way that someone can be a liaison between Hollywood and the community.’ That’s how my newsletter, The Renaissance Review, was born. And, I loved award shows as a kid. It always bothered me that strong black films were overlooked. I thought to myself, ‘we need to validate.’ So, I created the Reel Black Film Awards.

Gordon takes his passion and love for movies and creates MUCH NEEDED outlets for the community. The Lakefront Film Festival is currently accepting submissions. To learn more about Tim Gordon and his initiatives, please check out the sites: Lakefront Film Festival and Black Reel Awards, as well as his personal site: Film Gordon.

Marcus The Visual Talks The Super Natural Woman

Marcus The Visual Talks The Super Natural Woman

Professional Illustrator and Comic Artist, Marcus Williams, who successfully crowdfunded his new comic books, The Tuskegee Heirs and The Super Natural Woman shares his process and the motivation behind his powerful illustrations. This humble artist also almost broke the internet when he suggested that Wonder Woman has a TWIN SISTER!!! jumped at the opportunity to talk with Marcus.

“Super Natural is a superhero character I created to be used as a supporting pivotal character in Anthony Piper’s superhero parody entitled “Trill League“. In the world Anthony created, she sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison to the other character’s personalities. This was intentional as she is designed to be a vehicle of pseudo normality that readers can anchor to when things get too crazy. Her name refers to her moral stance against portraying herself as anything but a natural black woman. This includes her appearance, her diet and her lifestyle. Super Natural is not from earth, yet she has come to make a home here after some quick transitions into city life. She is immensely powerful and nearly invulnerable to all physical damage, but not immune to the everyday stresses of living in American society.”

What inspired you to create your latest project and/or take this career path?
I love characters and solving problems. A common problem today in entertainment is the lack of black characters that are creatively written for a black audience, so that’s keeps me inspired to create solutions.

How do you hope your work will connect with people?
A: Definitely on a personal and lasting level. I can only hope that my work generates emotion in some way that resonates past the content. That way, long after my art was viewed the audience will feel compelled to share their experience with friends and family.


Were you inspired by anyone in the industry to proceed on your current career path? If so, who?
A: Comic art wise, Jim Lee, Joe Maduera, Greg Capulla were very popular in my high school years so I borrowed from their example heavily as a young artist. I didn’t meet my 1st professional artist until I was out of high school, but when I did, I was excited to find that such a career path existed.

What is your average work day like as it relates to your projects?
A: I wake up and make sure my kids have eaten (they’re old enough to feed themselves, just have to be reminded to do so), and then I proceed to my workstation to warm up with a digital sketch. From there I choose which art I want to work on for the day.

What advice do you have for students and young professionals who may be inspired by your work?
A: Find a virtual master teacher to study from, someone that inspires you to improve and draw daily because they’re so much more skilled than you. Then choose a business path that suits your passion and find the best in that field to study from. Find out what made them successful and how you can build your strategy around their example. Plan your goals and work daily to find solutions to meet them.

To connect with Marcus, please check him out at the following links:

Twitter Handle: @marcusthevisual
Instagram Handle: @marcusthevisual