Sometimes you are moved to do certain types of work. It may be the passion that ignites the dream, but it is the conviction that keeps one committed. I remember two life-shaping events, as if they were yesterday: 1. sitting as a freshman in college at a National Association of Black Journalists Regional conference in Louisiana and 2. standing with my sorority sisters in front of a large audience at one of our educational seminars, while we confessed our career goals. These are two moments that play over and over in my mind even though they happened almost a decade ago.
College, a place to explore one's passion and where firm beliefs become even more fixed. There, I learned from many Houston media professionals early on that in journalism, you must have a niche [market] that you serve. Then with being a part of a public service sorority, with ideals to uphold and such an intense platform to stand on, I was learning how to serve the community while becoming more self-aware of my specific purpose in life. To profess in front of an audience, as well as your sisters, my commitment was "to tell women's stories that empower through media arts." It was not just a statement, it is my mission.
Being a woman, seeing what I have seen, feeling what I feel, knowing what I know, and finding out what I want to know more about has all helped me fight for what I believe in. I knew stories were a major part of my life. Whether they were passed down, viewed, or read, there was magic in someone else's truth. Words are powerful no matter the manner in which you receive them. I knew that my own words, if let out into the universe then, must be followed through with later. This has led to being involved in this latest project: a mix of passion, advocacy, story-telling to empower, and another fight in itself.
During all of October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, you can experience the Joy, Hope and Dreams of survivors from across the country, by just a click of a button-or as many as you like.
Female empowerment was the core of the program and this is displayed in all three docufilms, and also the lipsticks that accompany them. From the caring celeb narrators, Alexa Vega, JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Maria Menounos, to the courageous subjects who shared their victories, to the three eclectically-skilled crews behind the scenes; the Girl-Power influence gave the project a special kick!
"All they need is their passion for the cause," Dreaming Tree stressed during the application process. And passion is what they got! Those involved were ready to break new ground!
I was very honored to be one of the women chosen from the nationwide search to participate in the challenge as a crew member, for the experience was one I will always remember! As they say, there is a first time for everything. It marked my FIRST filmmaking opportunity outside of my hometown of Houston, TX; my FIRST time flying for something other than a funeral (a long-time phobia I had to get over quickly in order to seize the moment); my FIRST time in the city of my dreams with great teammates that made the trip entertaining and my FIRST article that I have written about myself, a weird moment for any journalist.
Being the Houston Filmmaking Examiner, I have had the pleasure of interviewing and writing about those who are passionate filmmakers that have a connection to the amazing city. As a scribe, this privilege has also allowed me to gather advice on the filmmaking process from various perspectives and it has also served as one of the main motivational tools used to push me to write, produce, direct, and edit my first major, small-budget short film series project in 2010. I premiered my first independent film based on my self-published novel, TANGLED WEB OF TRUE LOVE TALES in Houston at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre, Valentines 2011. You Tube clips can be found at www.twotlt.weebly.com.
Working locally as well as schooling, came in handy for the Mary Kay® Inspiring Stories program.
Each group had a mixture of expertise and perspective. The group I had the pleasure of being a part of was, Alexa Vega's TEAM GIVE JOY which consisted of Amanda Scarpaci from Illinois , Karie Maurer-Enneking from Ohio, Verena Faden from Florida, Ashliegh Jarzenski from Ohio, and Gabriela Agosto from Puerto Rico. The domestic abuse survivors all reside in Los Angeles and were welcoming to the crew. We all have made plans to continue to keep in touch.
After the trip, back to reality meant returning to the classroom - another place I love because it is filled with even more stories. Once home, I got a few hours of sleep before starting with my English and Communications students on the first day of school in a small, caring community in Brazoria. Running off of adrenaline, I was surprised to find my students, as well as their parents really excited about finding out more about my own story. After a brief synopsis, it was very eye-opening for me. It's not everyday that high schoolers show their enthusiasm in the classroom, especially about something their teacher has done, but the event was a surreal situation they wanted to relate to because of where they stand with their own dreams.
Mary Kay® Inspiring Stories was a celebration of many sorts for many involved. The three documentaries can be viewed online during the month of October. For more information on all women involved, how you and your views can help the cause, check out www.marykayinspiringstories.com.