Producer Frustrations? Try Actor Frustrations

My friend and talented actor, Ariel Estrada from my latest film TITLE VII, schooled us all on the neverending (why is this still coming up?) question posed by a Black female producer on Facebook under the hashtag #ProducerFrustrations. Here is a recap:

"#ProducerFrustrations: Every time I am casting for something I can find 3,000 white women but like (2) black women, (1) latina actress, and ZERO Asian women!!!!

From Ariel:

There are TONS and TONS of talented Actors of Color who are impeccably trained, and hungry for work (me included!). When producers and casting directors bemoan the seeming dearth of actors of color I ask "where are you looking, and how are you looking for them"?

Invariably, they answer the usual channels, that is, expecting the actors to show up and/or submit. This is not a case of "if we build it they will come." Unfortunately, the reality of most open calls is that we, as POCs are SO BURNED by them, that we don't really believe you when you say that you are casting a particular role race specific, and that instead, the default race for any character is white. And even if you ARE specific, again, you can't depend on an open call. As actors of color, we've learned for the most part that they are a complete waste of time. I can't speak for anyone else, but I generally get cast by direct contact (or contact with our agent/manager) from the director/casting director.

Believe me: we are just as frustrated as you are. Yet the reality of how power works in this industry is that THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH AN ACTOR, ESPECIALLY AN ACTOR OF COLOR, CAN DO TO REACH YOU. So the responsibility lies primarily with the producers and casting directors TO COMMIT TO THE MORE DIFFICULT PROCESS OF REACHING OUT TO ACTORS OF COLOR. And I say difficult only because there ARE less of us, but not because we're that hard to find.

If you are truly committed to using Actors of Color, THEN YOU MUST ACTIVELY SEARCH AND ASK THEM OR THEIR REPRESENTATION DIRECTLY. It's not that we're hard to find, it's often that people aren't looking in the right place, and then throw up their hands in despair, "there aren't any actors of color"! 

Start with any of the theatre companies of color, and ACTIVELY REACHING OUT TO THEIR ARTISTIC DIRECTORS:

AFRICAN AMERICAN:
651 ARTS
Billie Holiday Theatre, Inc.
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
Blackboard Reading Series
Colloquy Collective
Harlem9
Harlem Repertory Theatre
Harlem Stage
IMPACT Repertory Theatre
Juneteenth Legacy Theatre
Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc.
Liberation Theatre Company
The Movement Theatre Company
The National Black Theater
The New Black Fest
New Federal Theatre
New Heritage Theatre Group
The Negro Ensemble Company
NuAFrikan Theatre
Opera Ebony
Shades of Truth Theatre
Theater Loft: Ujima Theatre Company

ASIAN AMERICAN:
We So Hapa
National Asian Artists Project, Inc.
Leviathan Lab
Ma-Yi Theater Company
Vampire Cowboys
National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO)
Pan Asian Rep
Rising Circle Theater Collective
Noor Theatre
Hypokrit Theatre Company

LATINX
Sol Collective
Caborca
INTAR Theatre
Pregones / PRTT
Repertorio Español
Teatro SEA
Teatro Iati
Thalia Spanish Theatre
Teatro LATEA
Teatro Círculo NYC
La Cooperativa of NYC Latinx Theatre Artists

AGENTS/MANAGERS THAT SPECIFICALLY HANDLE AOCS OR HAVE A GOOD HISTORY OF TAKING ON AOCS

First, read this article:

https://www.nytimes.com/.../fighting-to-give-minority...

Ken Park Management (Asian primarily)
Annette E. Alvarez of Multi-Ethnic Talent & Promotion, Inc.
Take 3 Talent Agency
Makalina Abalos (Asian primarily)
KPA Talent Management/Production (Hispanic primarily)
Anonymous Content
Untitled Entertainment
3 Arts Entertainment
Principato Young

Also ask my friend Nicole Franklin of Nicole Films, and a fellow African American filmmaker. She'll have some casting leads as well!"

Bravo, Ariel!! 'Nuff said!

#FilmAFeatureIn8Days SOLD OUT!

So excited to present my #FilmAFeatureIn8Days seminar twice in the next few weeks in Manhattan and Newark, NJ! One session is already sold out! Please click here for the session on May 6! I'm happy to present this workshop again and again. A microbudget feature is the calling card to be an industry player these days--if not Hollywood, a promising career as an indie filmmaker.  Can you have a career solely as an indie filmmaker? It takes a heck of a lot of work, but it's possible! I did not have too many references to filming a feature in a few hours excess of a week when we set out to film TITLE VII, but we did it! And you can do it too!

This seminar is a #TITLEVIIFilm Case Study. Workshop highlights:

*Planning your microbudget
*Financing your microbudget
*Attracting heavy hitters to your microbudget
*Filming your microbudget in eight days
*Taking your microbudget to market
*Leveraging your next career move by investing in your microbudget

Follow our hashtag, #FilmAFeatureIn8Days, and you'll see tips online and more! See you at the movies! Your movie!

NYWIFT presents...#FilmAFeatureIn8Days

7 is a Magic Number

Happy Spring, Everyone! And thank you for making the Spring, Summer and Fall season a very special one for EPIPHANY Inc. with multiple screenings of #TITLEVIIFilm! Our TITLE VII NJ Premiere is here! The Women in Media - Newark Film Festival is FREE and all info about our April 6 NJ Premiere may be found on our event page by clicking here. Seating is first come, first served. Even cooler news? As of this post TITLE VII is expected to grace the screens of at least seven film festivals. Yep, we had our preview at Urbanworld last year, our world premiere at the recent Hollywood Black Film Festival (February), and with NJ and four more acceptance letters we're on a roll--from Harlem to Brooklyn to Martha's Vineyard and more! Please visit our event pages by clicking here, RSVP and share. We're also encouraging audiences to visit our page on Rotten Tomatoes after screening the film. Click here to submit your reviews! Special shoutout to intern Justin Bramwell who put together some really fun memes to share on our social media. We're excited to release our little-film-that-could to the world! See you at the movies!

Chicava HoneyChild and Fidel Vicioso as Hillary Kelsey and Darryl Montgomery in TITLE VII.

 

Volunteering Our Way to a Better St Louis!

As I channel Oprah for a moment (haha) our nonprofit coding academy, Hack4Hope in St. Louis, is "one of my most favorite things!" Our students are introduced to coding as a career option and we have the honor of connecting the booming tech industry in St. Louis to its youngest potential candidates in the field! We like when corporate citizens take notice of students from all neighborhoods. That's what it's all about! Hack4Hope's lead partners are Educational Exchange Corps and ITEN. We meet monthly for six months with our partner Claim Academy with donated laptops from MasterCard (thank you, MasterCard!). And we're thrilled to welcome our latest sponsor BIM Object who is establishing some pretty firm roots in our fair city. So thrilled to have their support and confidence. What do the students experience with Hack4Hope? An annual hackathon, fun ice-breakers to encourage fellowship, coding instruction focusing this year on Python and the fundamentals of writing strong essays. Did we mention we're a nonprofit? We aim for introducing 50 students per year to incredible opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of their families through technology. Join us as a volunteer or a donor by clicking on Hack4Hope.org. As always, please spread our news and just drop an email to say "hello"!  See you online! Photos by Kirsten Petty.

Our #BlerdDating Monday Nights Keep Us In The Game!

On the first Monday of 2017 I was privileged to help launch #BlerdDating, created by ChilltownTV's Leesa Dean. We're a Monday night Twitter chat with confessions (Twitter Story-style), memes, celebrity guests and a whole lot of laughs. In fact, a very special #BlerdDating Valentine's Day episode brought R&B Superstar and Grammy-winner Anthony Hamilton to the show and what can we say? This Monday night date is the most exciting of my life! We're having so much fun. To date we have more than 40 million Twitter impressions and our sharing of #BadDates has reached across the globe. #Blerds who date (this includes married #Blerds) are supercool. Who knew? We'll keep bringing you gems every week. Check us out on Twitter at 9pmEST by searching #BlerdDating, then join us on FaceBook for the AfterParty that gets pretty wild! Need more info about the world's first Twitter Stories/Chat-Mashup phenomenon? Just check us out at BlerdDating.com. We're having a ball and want you to join us! See you Monday nights!

TITLE VII Announces Two Premieres!

#TITLEVIIFilm Excited to finally announce what everyone has been waiting for: Our narrative feature film, TITLE VII, starring Chicava HoneyChild, Fidel Vicioso, Brian Anthony Wilson and a talented ensemble cast, will have its world premiere at the Hollywood Black Film Festival this February and its New Jersey Premiere at "Women in the World," Women in Media - Newark's 2017 Women's History Month Film Festival this March! We are thrilled to finally have all of you who made this film possible see the film publicly and celebrate its completion and festival run with us! Screening dates are still to be determined, but HBFF will be held February 22 - 26 in Marina del Rey and the Newark festival will be held March 28 - April 5.  Will we see you there? Thanks for championing our #FilmAFeatureIn8Days Microbudget Film! We did it! Please let us know how to bring TITLE VII to a neighborhood near you! #TITLEVII #JusticeontheJob #SameRaceDiscrimination #Grateful

2017 may be Intimidating, but not when your Armed with James Baldwin

When I watched the film I Am Not Your Negro (twice) this year I knew that in spite of an unpredictable President-Elect who fires from the hip, racial tensions at an all-time high, and gender and racial equality in this business I'm in still having the length of 50 football fields to go towards progress, seeing James Baldwin speak of our same situation 30 years ago was what I needed--what this country needs--because this prolific icon left us with instructions on how to improve. The gifted filmmaker Raoul Peck recognized this and spent 10 years perfecting this magnificent portrait of an author's book proposal turned memoir. When I first met Raoul Peck a little more than 10 years ago I never thought he'd be the one to inspire me any more than I could be at 17 years into my career. I feel blessed to share news of this beautiful film through an article in the Toronto publication ByBlacks.com. Please click this link to read and share (and leave comments!). Remember, no matter who leads "the free world" in the next coming weeks, no one can tamper with our humanity and our hope. 

Filmmakers Raoul Peck and Nicole Franklin after a screening of I Am Not Your Negro.

Filmmakers Raoul Peck and Nicole Franklin after a screening of I Am Not Your Negro.

New Year, New Show!

It's been a busy year of filming, editing--and now writing.  In fact, I've teamed up with talented creator Leesa Dean (ChilltownTV) for a new concept that we hope will be the place to be on Twitter! Making its debut on Monday, January 2, 2017 is #BlerdDating a new Twitter stories/chat-mashup--52 confessions (Yep, I'm confessing!) on dates from hell that can only happen to us #Blerds
Join us with celebrity guests on Mondays on Twitter at 9pmEST with the hashtag #BlerdDating (follow me as well @Nicoleedits on Twitter if you think you'll be lost). At 10pmEST, head back over to Facebook for our #BlerdDating Afterparty with host Lisa Durden for a live online chat fest that gets deeper, darker and wilder. (Like we said--it's the Afterparty!)
One of my favorite parts about #BlerdDating is because the #Blerds on Twitter will probably help us get super popular, why keep all of that attention to ourselves? At certain times during the year, we'll spotlight some hard-working nonprofits for the entire month. We have merch! Purchase our t-shirts that month and 20% of the profits goes right to that featured charity. It's a month of love--because when our dates go low, we go high! :) Hang out with us! More info: BlerdDating.com. 
We're thrilled to have a show where we can talk good times, relationship issues and outrageously bad dates. Yeah...we all went through them for some reason, right? Here we go! 

Sometimes Thankless Encounters Bring Home the Thankful

It's been quite a year personally and professionally for me and my work with EPIPHANY Inc. We filmed a feature (in 8 days, in case you haven't heard...yes!) and we are currently in wait-and-see mode for festival acceptances/rejections while our post production team is working in a realm nothing short of magical. I am blessed to have an incredible crew that said, "Let's do this!" and made something beyond my wildest dreams happen. I am truly grateful. I also experienced a bout of racism in the process of making a dream happen this year and other than the emotional toll that takes on one's soul, I'm learning from the vitriol many of us have experienced publicly due to one of the wildest U.S. election cycles ever, we WILL move forward and thrive in spite of people trying to pit all of the beautiful communities that make up the U.S. and our incoming residents against each other. I've been personally moved by individuals who have reached out to me to acknowledge the decades of work I've been so focused on producing for audiences and I've been a bit kicked in the stomach by some who build you up with false promises then expect you to just roll with it because it makes them feel better. There's been love, there's been loss. It's a life lived and sometimes it can be challenging. But as President Obama says, "The sun will rise in the morning." I realize that having good days and bad days are why God provided the strongest healing ever: A passion for the arts. Music and storytelling always saves. It's been there for the solitary bouts of depression and underscored the most joyous of occasions. My work as a filmmaker, writer and television director have been my favorite full-time side gig for 17 years. I'm excited to say 2017 will see the full-time hours now in EPIPHANY Inc.'s hands and it will be my pleasure to churn out a slate of projects for you--a very patient, receptive and supportive audience. We even are collaborating on a new show premiering the first week of January that will hopefully be the comic relief for any tough days ahead. More details to come.... In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving! Let's celebrate our love and support for one another this holiday season and forever ever after.    

More #FilmAFeatureIn8Days News to Share!

As many of you are learning, our narrative feature, TITLE VII, filmed this summer in Florham Park, NJ and was lensed in eight days. And,  we wrapped by 6pm each day.  As we look back to say, "We did that!" I love the idea of looking ahead to the very near future when I get to share tips on the "Why" and "How" this production schedule came to be! So join me Sunday, October 23 at 2pm, Spike Lee Screening Room, LIU Brooklyn Campus for the #ReelSisters microbudgeting workshop, #FilmAFeatureIn8Days. Please register by clicking here. I'll be there to give lots of behind-the-scenes lessons that may help you get your first narrative feature in the can as well! Have you tried the hashtag #FilmAFeatureIn8Days on Twitter? Please catch my numbered tips there--tryin' to get to 100 (which would be longer than the film!). A great way to launch the conversation, though, was an interview I was thrilled to do with Directed by Women. You may check that out by clicking here.  Would love to hear your thoughts. I already admitted, we were crazy! But it turned out to be a good crazy. :) I can't wait to hear your reviews! For now, see you in class! 

TITLE VII scene with Darryl (Fidel Vicioso) and Hillary (Chicava HoneyChild) as they work out a lifechanging deal.

TITLE VII scene with Darryl (Fidel Vicioso) and Hillary (Chicava HoneyChild) as they work out a lifechanging deal.

A Season of Giving

It's Fall, my favorite time of year, and I'd like to celebrate--with a giveaway! Our EPIPHANY #GrabBag will be our own version of a pop-up boutique and offer a big Thank You to all who have supported our films throughout the years. Simply put, if you have a small business with your designs and crafts, let's talk about offering your product to a few of our fans, accompanied by loads of publicity. Long-time fans and new friends, let's get some wonderful goodies into your hands! Contact me here and we'll plan the exchange! Look for our #EConvo #GrabBag announcements on social media. Happy Fall!

#FilmAFeatureIn8Days

We did it! We filmed a feature in eight days! TITLE VII is in the can and off to editor Veronique Doumbe with our blessings. Whew! That was a doozey!  We had a beautiful set courtesy of Fairleigh Dickinson University/Florham Campus and their talented student crew who kept up with a grueling schedule. Hats off to all departments.  Incredible work by DP CYbel Martin and our producing team who kept us rolling!  The actors--what can I say?  I'm in awe of them and will be forever grateful to the talent that lifted this script to levels beyond belief.  SO many people to thank. The witty and critical writing of Craig T. Williams and author Daisy M. Jenkins who originally got us here--I will be forever indebted to them as well.  Here's your first look, Everyone.  Official trailer and more #FilmAFeatureIn8Days news to come.  And please share and continue to support us by joining our street team by clicking here.

TITLE VII First Look.

#Sisters4TITLEVIIFilm

#Sisters4TITLEVIIFilm is an awareness campaign behind the narrative feature, TITLE VII, on the topic of same-race discrimination from writer/director Nicole Franklin. Behind-the-scenes stories and developments may be found here. As female film directors we're Sisters in the struggle no more. We are dominating. The call for more women behind the camera is being answered. Sure, it's documented that in 2015 women made up 9% of all directors hired in the studio system, but what about the independent films that are experiencing a groundswell of support from audiences hungry for good storytelling? Countless numbers of directors like me are standing on the shoulders of Julie Dash, Barbara Kopple, Neema Barnette, Nora Ephron, Jane Campion, Kathe Sandler, Mira Nair, Debbie Allen, Ava DuVernay, Kathleen Collins, Euzhan Palzy, Kim Longinotto, Amma Asante, Jodie Foster, Stacey Muhammad, Kathryn Bigelow, Dee Rees and so many, many more. So in sisterly fashion let's start a movement. #Sisters4___(fill in the blank)___ will be our endorsement for female-helmed narrative features, shorts, docs, TV episodes, web content and who knows what we'll create next. I'm a career documentarian embarking on my first narrative feature, TITLE VII.  So let's start here:  #Sisters4TITLEVIIFilm. We'll take this viral and do so for the next project from the next sister as well. And so on...and so on..... Women are here to change the world. I believe that. And I'm prepared to film it as well.     

Script Supervisor Needed

#TITLEVIIFilm We're crewing up for our feature film this summer. It's a microbudget but we need top preparation going into the shoot. It's also my first narrative feature as writer/director. We're currently in need of a Script Supervisor. Here are the particulars:

Microbudget feature film, TITLE VII, from writer/director Nicole Franklin seeks Script Supervisor for an 8-day shoot, July 5 - 12, 2016. Previous experience required. Location: Florham Park N.J. Pay. Please contact: NicoleFilmAssist@gmail.com.

Any takers?  Please give us a shout! Thanks so much!

#ENTITLED2TheLaw

We have been in an exciting development and preproduction phase for the feature film TITLE VII and are now thrilled to share news on how our spotlight on justice through film continues.

ENTITLED

We are entitled to a safe and just workplace for all. #ENTITLED2TheLaw

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act banned employment discrimination based on sex, race, color and national origin in 1964. Our feature film dives deep into same-race discrimination and with this storyline we are putting a rarely discussed aspect of racism on the screen, ending this silence. Also gaining traction in recent years is the fight victims of sexual harassment and abuse in the military have undergone. With jurisdiction through the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), TITLE X is the law that protects our service women and men against sexual violence. They too hope to end the silence and we are teaming up to see that violations under both laws are brought to light.

How did our activism partnership happen? A few months before writing the first draft of the TITLE VII screenplay, I was contacted by the Minority Women Veterans about directing a docu-series exploring rape in the military. We have heard about it but we are slow to see it come to an end.  I jumped at the chance to accept their offer and assist in seeing this series come together. You may learn more about the Minority Women Veterans Organization by clicking here.

We decided to bring on the public to help. By clicking here on Represent.com you will be getting the word out by purchasing a TITLE VII/TITLE X Tee. Available colors: Black, Blue, Army and Lieutenant in both short sleeve tees and tanks. Special shoutout to EPIPHANY Inc. Graphic Artist Carlos Dos Santos for the design. Shoutout to Ruth Sergel for her craft for messaging. Please support our cause today. Profits from the sales will be split between the funding of our two projects.  Wearing your tee, photographing yourself in it and uploading it with our hashtag #Entitled2TheLaw for our social media campaigns will put your activism on the frontlines and we thank you.

TITLE VII, TITLE X. It’s the law.

We Welcome Kayla to EPIPHANY Inc. this Summer

So awesome to have friends reach out with the words, "Do you need an Intern?" and have one actually show up!  And she's a journalism major who loves sports and--did I mention she loves to write? Like me!  Everyone welcome, please, Kayla Solomon to our EPIPHANY Inc. family for the summer. Here is her bio:

Kayla Solomon is a junior journalism major at Temple University. She is an avid New York sports fan and Netflix watcher, when she isn't writing of course. Her work can be found weekly on her personal blog, dearfuturekay.wordpress.com, as well as The Odyssey at Templeand www.blackaphillyated.com. Kayla is honored to be interning with Nicole Franklin and Ephiphany Inc. this summer. Let's get the summer started!

Twitter: @dontKAYme

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KaylaNyree

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kaylasolomon

Temple University student and EPIPHANY Inc. Intern 2016 Kayla Solomon.

Temple University student and EPIPHANY Inc. Intern 2016 Kayla Solomon.