Help me begin to build a platform that will produce more films and jobs that will inspire the upcoming generation of artist of color!
A lot can be said about having a dream you want to achieve in life. Where you are willing to sacrifice all else in pursuit of that one goal as ambition collides with passion to drive desired outcomes. However, sometimes one’s background and set of circumstances can stand in the way of this journey. These can include issues such as inadequate funds or societal perceptions, especially where these perceptions often dictate or influence the direction that people will take in life. Thus this impacts generation after generation in our society. This is how my story begins, although in my case, I made a choice to take control of my life's story.
Hello everyone, my name is Akmad Nichols and I am an African American with dreams of bringing more "color" to the film/television industry. I grew up in a small city that’s more like a town by the name of Salem. Not the one with the witches, this on is nestled in south-western area of New Jersey and it isn’t the best place to grow up with dreams of making art. Either you are what they deem intelligent or you get really good at a sport and try your luck Other than that, you just kind of fade into the murkiness that is our town and that fire inside you slowly dies out. But, I'm not letting that happen to me.
(Directing a short film.)
I had dreams of making films ever since I was young, having been exposed to shows that featured Martin Lawrence and Will Smith and the movies of Spike Lee. However the more I immersed myself in watching movies over the years, it wasn’t long before I noted that there weren't too many movies and shows that featured people who looked like me. At least not in the main roles. Most of the time all I saw stereotype after stereotype. It's so hard to see that this is still a trend even today. Sadly, growing up I never had the money to make my own films, nor did I have any film equipment or know where to get it. It wasn't as if we had a decent library in my town or anyway to research this stuff.
Nevertheless I worked hard and went to college for engineering because everyone said, “Hey, you’re smart. Your good at math. You should do this.” I kept being told that film and art wasn’t going to get me anywhere in life, but as fate would have it, I would soon be able to follow my passion to make films. I couldn’t afford to stay at my first university and found myself back home. After working in an elementary school, I was able to find another university that I could attend. During the end of my sophomore year, a film professor helped me reach the first goal on my list. Without even having a portfolio, she saw something in me during her class that made her think I would be a good fit in the industry and helped me get into the program.
It was after getting into the program that I then felt a sense of non-belonging at times. The reason being that there were only a handful of students that were people of color. It was sad to see how most of them were on the perimeter of the program. We all felt lost in a sea of white and I realized that this wasn’t something that was unique to just our film school - this was everywhere. I wanted change, me and a friend tried to start a club for film students who were people of color and this helped for a bit. However, I soon found myself having to take time away from school again because of money issues. Fortunately I found work at an arts integration school and even got to use my skills to teach film a bit, but even there I saw the kids of color being pushed to the edge.
This is when my vision started to fully form. I am looking to build something that will enable me to help build a brighter future for people of color in the film industry. With this company as a base, I will bring more people of color to the forefront of the film industry. I know I’m starting small but one day, I hope to build something that will help many people. Through things like scholarships or building talent empowerment programs across the nation to help children who, like me, want to make films or be actors and give them an opportunity to do it.
I am hugely inspired by director-writers like Spike Lee and Jordan Peele whose movies put African Americans in the forefront. I want to follow in their footsteps in a way, but also do my best to help pave the way for others. It is as a result of all this and all my life's experience, that I then had a light bulb moment: I knew I wanted to start my own production company.
This is where you come in. Please support me in my journey to creating more diverse films. Support me in creating opportunities to people of color in the film industry. Support me in giving a chance to the children who have none.
The funds raised will help me register the company and hire a lawyer. It would also allow me to buy the equipment needed so that the company actually start making films and getting people work. So, you would not only be helping me but all the people who I will work with. I truly want to bring more diverse stories to the screen.
Whether you read everything or just skimmed it. Thank you so much for giving me your time and if you donated, thank you for supporting my cause.
Email: [email redacted]
- Alex Centeno
- Olivia Siegel
- Leo Blanks
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