One thing I know to be true is that when God tells you to do something, you do it. Move or be moved!
I began my journey as a news producer in 2012, and in 2015 I asked God if it was time for me to move on, and I heard Him say, "I have something greater for you." Fast forward to 2022, and I've produced an Emmy and Peabody-nominated documentary among other entertainment and social justice docs. My screenplays have earned recognition in highly coveted screenwriting competitions, and I work in creative operations for a major media company. And my tweets have reached millions across social media. (Your favorite meme probably came from one of my tweets.)
Fun Fact: I'm just getting started.
A few months ago, God told me to try directing. I have fought Him about this idea and you already know who won. The idea of stepping outside of my comfort zone beyond producing has caused me great anxiety to the point where the vision for this project began to haunt my dreams shortly after my 34th birthday in August. Again God? You want me to start over again?
The answer is always "yes" to that question.
(Ava DuVernay began her directing career when she was my age which has brought me much comfort in pursuing this.)
So boom...here we go.
I wrote a comedy pilot called, Dying Laughing, loosely based on my dad's mortuary career and my time moving back home with my parents in my late 20s. I've turned it into a short film, and I need your support to make it happen.
Logline: A struggling standup comedian, in trouble with the feds, moves back to her small town and takes a job at her father's mortuary to save enough money to flee the country.
Synopsis: The universal story behind Dying Laughing tackles the gutwrenching challenge of making final plans for your loved ones through Black funeral culture. This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman returning home to face the ghosts of her past after she spent many years using comedy to conceal unresolved issues with her family. Dying Laughing is a story about learning to laugh to keep from crying. My protagonist, Dru, must learn how to have a celebration of life for the people she loves the most, while they're still living. She'll soon find out that death has a funny way of bringing people together.
The backstory: I should begin by telling you about my weird blessing/curse where I dream about funerals, and like clockwork, someone I know dies. True story. (Fun Fact: I had one last night.) My dad believes I've inherited his gift of connecting with the dead, although he doesn't exactly have the best relationships with the living. He got started in 1981 earning extra cash by digging graves at a funeral home in South Carolina. Performing odd jobs at local mortuaries spurred my dad's grand revelation that his purpose in life was to make sure people were properly buried. Today, my dad is a disabled veteran, and I'd like to honor him by making his vision come to life through this film. Dying Laughing is about finding joy during those shitty moments in life that try to take you out.
Here's where your money goes:
- Crew (I don't believe in people working for free, especially Black people. We did that for 241+ years, and enough is enough.)
- Talent (I don't believe in people working for free, especially Black people. We did that for 241+ years, and enough is enough.)
(Casting updates coming soon!)
My producing partner is Monique Hazeur, another dynamic Southern filmmaker. Monique is a Brooklyn-based writer, producer, and foodie originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She is an alumna of New York University and Howard University. Through the Black TV & Film Collective/Wavelength Black Producers Fellowship, she co-wrote and produced the mockumentary short film "I Won the Lottery…". She is currently producing a coming-of-age short through Tribeca Studios and the Queen Collective entitled "GAPS," which is in post-production.
Fun Fact: Monique and I will not be compensated. I have picked up extra work to cover additional fees to ensure everyone is paid for their time and talent on my short film. That's how much I believe in this project.
We are super excited to announce Burt Blackarach and Demonte Posey as The Music Supervisor and Composer on Dying Laughing. Grammy winner, Burt Blackarach, is currently the music supervisor on ABC's The Wonder Years and Nat Geo/Disney+ Genius, as well as an accomplished composer. Grammy-nominated producer and composer, Demonté’ impressive credits include American Soul, Eric Benet’s “Spend My Life With You,” The New Edition & The Bobby Brown Story, and much much more. Our team is still growing, and we're grateful to have this dynamic team moving us closer to the finish line. More updates coming soon!
Thank you for supporting me on this journey.