Tales of Filmmaker Who Fell on Her Face and is Currently Wiping What looks like Fairy Dust off her Shoulders

As promised I’m back with a few lessons learned. Its the 1st of July and we are already getting into the second half of the year. I’ve already had a very adventurous 2017. I’ve been in a car accident, driven cross country, almost got my first feature film producer credit (so close!), been stranded in NOLA, been homeless and got my first full time job at a studio (freelance life is over!) Here are some things I’ve learned from those experiences.

  1. You don’t need a reason to do what you want

When I got into my car accident in february, it gave me the reason I needed to move back home, but the truth is that I shouldn’t have needed a reason. I was tired of LA and wanted to leave. That was reason enough. You don’t need to justify decisions you make for yourself. Just do it and be happy.

2. Don’t stay broke

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Don’t let this be you

I stayed broke for wayyy too long. When you are broke, you are usually desperate and can be manipulated by people who say they will give you money. You don’t think as logically as you would have if you had savings. Save!

3. Dues are NOT mandatory

You don’t have to pay dues. Only people with no privilege pay dues. Don’t work a shit job because you’re “paying dues”. Get the job you want with what you have. This way when you need a reference, you won’t be nervous when your potential employer calls the manager you hated. I met a young white man recently who turned down 3 full time studio jobs, because he wanted to work in post production specifically and he felt like he didn’t have to be an office production assistant to move up to post production assistant. He said he knew people so working his way up wasn’t necessary.  This guy is 23 talking about he doesn’t have to work his way up!

4. Quit a project if you don’t get paid within two weeks

I will never continue to work if I don’t receive my first check within two weeks. This may seem like a no brainer, but I’ve actually worked on projects that didn’t pay me until a month later, which can be standard in production. But for now I’m scarred, and I won’t be doing anything that doesn’t pay me within a two week period.

5. You can travel alone and you won’t be raped or robbed…well not robbed violently

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Zim of Travel Noire living her best life.

People think Im cray cray because Im not afraid to do things alone. I go to dinner alone(when I’m not broke) go to movies alone, go to different countries alone and I drove cross country alone. Nobody is worried ’bout you! As long as you mind your business and give people a stank face when you see them, they will leave you alone. I got pick pocketed in Cannes, France in 2015 and I was by myself so I was pretty vulnerable when all my money was taken. I still went to Paris as planned but I stayed on a friend of a friends couch…a strangers couch. I stayed on a strangers couch. He, yes he, barely noticed I was there and I enjoyed the rest of my time in France. Live your life and watch your back, but don’t be paranoid. No one cares about your wack life. People are too busy on Facebook.

6. Listen to your parents/family

This one hurts, because i usually thing my family is automatically wrong when it comes to the entertainment industry, but sometimes family can see things that you can’t simply because they are on the outside. I know. Defeat sucks.

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How I look when I have to listen to my parents.

7. Focus on your OWN goals/projects

Collaborating is great and helping people on projects is awesome if it leads to you reaching your own goals. I was so focused on projects that weren’t my own and they didn’t give me much fulfillment. Now Im working on films/webseries that I’ve written and I feel much more confident because I’m not biting off more than i can chew and i don’t have to answer anyone.

8. Don’t chase credits

A big part of the reason I got myself into a tizzy was because I was chasing a credit. Credits are funny, they don’t hold any weight until way after the film is shot and you’re getting a great response from the audience. Of course you can try and impress people by saying your producing Denzel Washington’s next film, but it doesn’t mean anything until you and Denzel are screening the film. create the work you want to see. Just don’t be desperate to get on IMDB.

9. Learn what you need to know to excel at your goal

After my NOLA fiasco, I knew I needed to learn more about finances in Film and TV, so now Im in a production accounting job where I get all the money secrets.

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I’m also developing a startup so I been listening to lots of podcasts about startups, product development, cash flow etc. If you don’t have the specific knowledge you need to make your film or start your business, you could be doomed to fail. Google is free ya’ll. Use her.

10. It is okay to start from nothing…again

This is not the first time I had to start over. I beat myself up about it, but its okay. Sometimes shit don’t work out. Just pick yourself back up even if its for the second or third  or fifth time. Cry it out and develop a plan to pick yourself up. I was in the most disgusting Airbnb in the garden district in NOLA where I had my cry and created a plan to get on my feet. You are not alone.

Learn from my mistakes and don’t be like me! Be better.

Nydia

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How I Went From Being Stranded in New Orleans to Working for CBS in a Matter of Weeks

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Some people in my family call me delusionally optimistic, and I would agree. This spring/summer that trait knocked me off my socks…we’ll not really but you get my drift. I  stubbornly believed the movie I was working on was going to make me rich and famous…I know, I know. The stupid Hollywood fantasy got in my system. And because I so strongly held this belief, when everything started crumbly around i.e. not getting paid on time and people quitting I just told myself, this is my chance and I’m going to prove everyone wrong! Tip, NEVER try to prove anyone wrong. Just focus on yourself. Focusing on others is just a distraction. If I had been more realistic i.e. not thinking this was my one shot at wealth and fame, I would have left when I didn’t get paid on time. But I thought I needed this gig.

The truth was, the gig needed me more than I needed it. Something I realized way too late into the game. On May 15th when I literally got kicked of the hotel I was staying in, my delusion had broken, and when the person who hired me said I wouldn’t be getting paid and he didn’t have any money for me to get home, it was completely shattered.

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I felt so ashamed and hurt and really really really stupid. I put myself in this position. No one forced me to come to NOLA. I did it willingly and look where it got me. I used the little money I had to sleep in a dingy Airbnb in the garden district and try to figure out a plan to get home. I couldn’t call my parents. I didn’t want to hear “I told you so”. I needed a job as soon as I got to NY and I briefly considered staying in NOLA out of pure embarrassment. But my parents didn’t raise no punk.

My cousin got me a one way ticket back to new york and I got the guts to tell my mom what was really going on and I needed a ride from the airport since I was flat broke. She was really understanding and genuinely felt bad for me because she knew how much I wanted to produce this film. Yet and still I wasn’t ready to tell friends or family I was in NY and the film was a bust. I quietly got a job with a temp agency where I worked in midtown as a leasing agent. I was ready to take a break from entertainment and really questioned if I had “it”. I felt really unlucky and gullible. Maybe I needed to do something else and film could be my hobby?

Three weeks into my job I get an email asking if i would be interested in working as an Accounting clerk on a CBS Television show. Is water wet?! Hell yeah! I interviewed and made sure I left 3 hours early just so I could make the interview and get to work on time.

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Long story short, I got the job and its awesome. I love working here and quite frankly Im upset we get July 3rd and 4th off because I want to be working. I’m learning so much about accounting and the studio system and this experience has taught me so much about myself and pitfalls to look out for when accepting a job offer. Life is cray, ya’ll.

Nydia

Quarter Life Transition

Whew. Since I had my car accident my life has been in complete flux and its been hard to catch up. I’m officially on the east coast and currently Im working on a film. Between feb 9 and now I have learned more about producing and the entertainment industry than I have learned living in LA for three years! And Since I am in a sharing mood I’m going to share with you.

  1. Business Associates are not Friends so don’t put your trust in them.

Its really easy to feel like your colleagues in the industry are your friends that care about you. When I say don’t put your trust in them, I don’t mean you shouldn’t trust your colleagues. We put our trust in our parents and family members and sometimes relinquish control to them. This should never be done with business associates. Never get comfortable .These aren’t your friends no matter how friendly you are.

2.  Always have multiple streams of income.

Unfortunately I have been supa dupa po so I know how it feels when you are behind in rent and don’t have enough money for the phone bill. Whether its contributing to a blog or working remote as a social media manager you need to to have more than one job.

3. Don’t Show All Your Cards

Don’t give everyone all you resources. I used to feel like i had to overcompensate because I am young and i wanted people to know that I was a serious professional so I would divulge all my connections to networks and such. Its not necessary. Some people don’t deserve to know your PR contact. Keep it close to the vest.

4. Listen

I can’t say this enough. Most people NEVER listen. They wait to talk or they think about the next time they’re going to eat while you’re talking. Listening will help you discern you is full of shit and who is not.

5. Watch What People Do and Ignore What They Say

People say a lot of things, but watch what they do. And look out for inconstancies in what they say. A stepping stone is a stepping stone, but don’t do business with garbage people.

At this point, Im hyper focused on writing and producing. After I finish the last rewrite for my feature film, I’ll submit it to about 10 screenplay competitions and complete by next one. Im also in the process of writing a pilot and web series. My plan is to shoot my web series in the fall and collaborate with other artists in the tri state area. In the last week I have made my first TV pitch, pitched an idea to a film fund and I have less than $20 bucks in my account. Yes, the struggle is real. Yet there are so many opportunities abound. I’m still learning how I can capitalize on them.

 

Nydia

 

Why Im Moving Back to New York

If you haven’t heard already, by March 2nd I’m leaving LA for good. Well at least for now. When I had a visit back home, I felt like there was so much going on in NY and so much work for me if I was there. I was happy, having fun with people outside the business and around people who were CREATING. I was a little sad coming back to LA because there wasn’t much going on for me here. It felt like everything was a struggle. But I kept on saying “I can’t leave until I get what I came her for.” I came to LA to be a movie star. I truly believed it would happen for me here.

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My car immediately after the accident. A very nice police officer drove it off the sidewalk to a parking spot.

Then on Feb 1st I was in a car accident. A woman ran the red light and t-boned me, with the impact of the hit moving my car off the road onto the sidewalk nearly missing a woman walking her dog. I was injured and as a sat in the hospital alone, I thought. I’m done. I’m done being alone in LA. I can do this in NY. At first I felt like I would be starting over, but when I started to tell me close friends and colleagues they were excited and I even got a job…in New York!

 

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This is the Im done with LA face.

 

The funny thing is, I came to LA to be a movie star and I haven’t made it quite yet, but LA gave me all the tools I need to become a movie producer. Right now I’m the lead producer on a feature film that shoots in New Orleans in April with an all star cast and I get to call the shots. Everything I have done in the past has prepared me for this moment.

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Happy after the decision. I was on my way to the Image Awards!

Nydia

I Got Kicked Out of My Writers Group

About two years ago I was in this writers group called The Aspiring Writers Initiative and that’s exactly what I was…an aspiring writer. I wanted to write because I thought it would give me better leverage as an actress. The problem was I couldn’t write a screenplay for shit and my skill in poetry and short stories was not transferring very well to screenplay writing. Long story short, I got kicked out of the group. I couldn’t keep up and they couldn’t hold the group back because  of my inability to complete the assignments.

But as of today I have written a 112 page feature and I’m 19 pages into my second. I’m writing to tell you this because it took me two years to complete a solid beat sheet outline. I quit a lot during those two years, but this year I decided I wScreen Shot 2016-12-22 at 10.02.20 PM.pngouldn’t quit anymore and I would keep hitting my head against the wall until something came through. Eventually I had a decent outline and then I got the confidence to go deeper into the writing process. Now I’m on a roll and all I want to do is keep writing until I have 5-7 scripts on deck. Most actors aren’t sitting around excited about writing 13 pages in one day, but I am because I think I found a plan that works for me. Literally creating my catalog.

In the new year you may have no skills. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn and grow. You can create any skill or talent you want with research and practice. Google is free ya’ll! At this point I’m convinced that I could learn how to build a tiny house if I really wanted to.

-Nydia

30 Day Discipline Challenge

I’ve been doing this 30 Day Discipline challenge and I’ve learned so much. Not only am I learning a lot but Im starting to see things change right before my eyes. So here is the challenge. Everyday I say my affirmations everyday. They include bodygoals, career goals, relationship goals and things I want to have. I also focus on being positive and speaking the things I want in my life. I’ve also been dressage up for often for average tasks, like going grocery shopping. Instead of wearing sweats I’ll put on a dress. It’s been going well. Now that I dress up i feel like people want to speak to me more.

Although the challenge is only for 30 days, I want to make it apart of my lifestyle. However I am excited to measure the fruits of the 30 day challenge. So far, I have a new bed, I’ve attracted new friends and Im starting to align with producers and famous actors. Nothing concrete yet, but after thirty days of completing my “rituals” I defiantly expect for some new developments in my career.

I definitely encourage you to do your own discipline challenge. I think writing down what you want to accomplish each day is crucial. I have a to do list for the rest of the year. If I complete everything on my to do list, I will have shot a short film and completed 3 screenplays along with writing an e-book. It’s 4 months, but thats still pretty impressive.

I started listening to Brian Tracy and he’s been crucial to helping me figure out my time management.

-Nydia

 

If You’re Still Here, You’ve Already Won

Over the past 72 hours my phone was stolen and my car literally wouldn’t start. I couldn’t complain to the dealer, because I didn’t buy it from a dealer (trying to get a deal) and my phone was coincidentally stolen while I was at a Christian event at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

If I was home, these things wouldn’t really bother me. But the fact that I’m 3000 miles away from family really affected my entire situation. I had to shell out more money than I wanted to. Something that probably wouldn’t be necessary if I was home and I had to be a car detective for the first time in my life.

Native New Yorkers don’t get cars. We don’t even get licenses until we turn 30. Anywhoo, I had to put my big girl panties on and I figured it all out. I did’t even cry! (I was close though) I don’t think people get enough credit for leaving their homes in pursuit of a new life or goal they have. Sometimes I’m surprised I haven’t gotten evicted, but then I remember, I have multiple people praying for me and I’m a pretty smart cookie.

If you left the safety and security of home to pursue something bigger, pat yourself on the back. Even if you only eat once a day. You are doing it! The fact you are still here proves you beat the odds.

Nydia