After 16-year-old Cyntoia Brown is sentenced to life in prison, questions about her past, physiology and the law itself call her guilt into question. The documentary is currently playing on Netflix.
According to Netflix:
In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up for sex. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison — Cyntoia’s fate seemed sealed. The film shows the complexity of a child who was the product of three generations of violence against women in her biological family. And how in 2019, after nearly 10 years of legal challenges, Governor Bill Haslam granted her request for clemency. He did so following a slow shift in the state for legislative change in juvenile sentencing laws and having seen evidence of her maturity, education, and good behavior as a prisoner. Directed and produced by Daniel H. Birman, and edited and produced by Megan E. Chao.
To read more about Cyntoia Brown, there are all sorts of stories online.
According to the Producer’s Guild of America’s website, The Power of Diversity Master Workshop is an eight-week intensive program that trains you as a creative producer to take a project from script through distribution on multiple platforms. The Workshop exists to help nurture creativity and diverse perspectives from people from all walks of life. It gives select participants an opportunity to learn from some of the most successful producers in the business, and network with like-minded participants.
What kinds of people apply to the workshop?
If you are a highly motivated and creative emerging or mid-career producer with a project that you believe in, this is the place for you. There are no barriers here; we seek underserved voices in media: all genders, all sexual orientations, all ethnicities, all religions, all ages, all abilities and veterans. We accept participants from all around the world, but you must provide your own transportation and lodging. Our mission is to prepare you to launch a story to the world from your unique perspective.
What kinds of projects do you accept? What genres?
We accept film, television, documentary features and series, and new media projects, in all genres. We do not accept shorts. You must submit a completed script, though not necessarily a final draft, or for documentary projects, a detailed treatment. We are looking for commercially-viable projects that foster diversity in the industry.
What does the workshop cover?
The workshop is focused on the tools of producing for feature films, television, documentary and digital media, with emphasis on up-to-the-minute trends in the industry. In eight weeks, we cover story, development, pitching, finance, packaging, production, marketing, distribution trends, multiplatform and more. Participants are expected to complete weekly homework assignments.
In addition to the expertise of guest speakers, each producer gets the benefit of individual mentorship throughout the two-month workshop by Producers Guild members. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will have a final project strategy, ready to launch into the marketplace.
Who are the speakers?
Some of the industry’s most successful producers in film, television, and new media. Past speakers have included: Shonda Rhimes, Bruce Cohen, Lori McCreary, Gary Lucchesi, Mark Gordon, Marshall Herskovitz, Bonnie Arnold, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Ashok Amritraj, Caryn Mandabach, Luis Barreto, Ali LeRoi, Cathy Schulman, Lauren Shuler Donner, Damon Lindelof, Lindsay Doran, Ralph Winter, Bruna Papandrea and many more.
What do I get out of this?
Success in any business, and most certainly in production, is predicated on building strong relationships. Some of our past participants have gone on to great success, and many have formed lasting relationships through the Workshop that will carry them well into the future.
Do I have to be a PGA member to apply?
No, you do not have to be a PGA member to apply. We encourage non-guild as well as guild members to apply.
I’m already a professional producer. Why should I apply?
A good producer is one who is always evolving, learning new things, meeting new people and searching out new stories. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Being a filmmaker is hard work. It’s an uphill battle at times. You struggle to get people to notice your work. You fight to get paid for your art. And at the end of a hard day, you want to have someone to bond with who understands your pain. For that reason we’ve compiled this list: 5 Friends Every Filmmaker Needs
1. The Friend with Money / Producer Friend.
This is the friend who is well-read and is somewhat a capitalist. They have stocks, bonds and a 401k. They understand that there are people who make art and other people who support it. This friend will help your kickstarter campaign and knows other people with money.
2. The Socially Conscious Friend / Reality Check Friend.
This is the person who makes sure you don’t go off supporting Donald Trump because you’ve become so out of touch with your black roots. This person reminds you of dope people like Malcolm X, and Tahneisi Coates and knows that sometimes you grind so much, you’re not reading like you’re supposed to. But this friend keeps you woke.
Photo courtesy Crew Member @coreyabrooks86 Instagram
3. The Therapist Friend / Won’t Put You In A Straight Jacket Friend.
This is the person who knows how hard you work but also knows your struggle with mental health. It’s no secret creatives have a higher incidence of mental illness. This person checks on you and notices things like when you disappear from social media or when you stop answering your phone. This person saves your life by simply being in your life.
4. The Share Your Dream Friend / Partner In Crime Friend.
This is the person who may share your skill or passion for your work. This person is willing to go to conferences, film festivals, writing retreats, etc. with you. This person keeps your passion alive because you can look at that person and see yourself. This is the friend who literally grows with you.
5. The Networking Friend / Help Get The Word Out Friend.
This is the person who knows people who know people. This person probably knows some friends with money, but they also know people who hire for jobs, they know people who will promote your work. Bottom line: They know people. This person is an asset because just knowing them increases the people who know you.
Look at your list of homies. Now ask yourself, “Do I have this starting five amongst my friends?” If not, it’s time to network and create your winning team. We have teammates on Instagram and on Facebook. And if you need us to act as your Share Your Dream Friend, sign up to the newsletter and we’ll help to keep your dream alive.Of course, our resident networker is yours truly, I love making friends.
African American actors are needed. And, we are pleased to announce that one of our crew members is currently casting for a indie short film project in Los Angeles that will be shooting in May. This is a paid opportunity and will shoot 1 – 2 days.
This casting call is looking for two youthful looking African American females in the 18 – 30 year old range and one youthful looking African American male in the 18-30 year old range.
Send a two minute monologue to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 7th, 2018.
Actress Vernika Eshay Rowe. This photo is courtesy @Venika_Eshay_Rowe Instagram
For African American Actors – A Few Words of Advice
I watched Kerry Washington on television the other night. She told Jimmy Kimmel about auditioning for her role on Scandal. She stated that many of her friends thought the role was for them and that she didn’t believe her audition went well. But, she went anyway. It was probably discouraging to hear friends say, “The role was written just for me,” and think to yourself, “Well that means the role isn’t mine.” No one knows who is going to get the role, but the person who doesn’t show up, will never get the role.
It was strange to her Kerry talk about being somewhat insecure about the role when she clearly became Olivia Pope in every sense of the word. All of us deal with doubts and fears from time to time, keep going anyway. Every one questions themselves, but every with a little doubt in your head, claim a victory. Talk positively to yourself and watch your life change.
At Black TV Film Crew, we know a lot of actors are out there looking for a break. This may be yours.
Don’t give up and just keep going.
Final note for those needing motivation:
We recently started a Pinterest page to help keep us motivated and remind us of all the talented black folks all over the world. If you’re on Pinterest, let’s connect.
(Feature photo published courtesy of @Lesliedapwatda’s instagram)