Samera Entertainment and the Chloe Chronicles catches up with Writer, Producer, and Director
Q & A By ~ Chloe Brown
Discussing her journey into the film world and writing, her new movie Bricked, leading and living with “layered love,” working with Tyler Perry Studios and what the future holds for her next.
Q: Aleshia, it is so great to get to talk to you. You are someone who seems to have always been passionate about storytelling and film, so tell me how that began and what got you involved in this industry?
A: Hi Chloe! Yes, it began for me in my freshman year of college. I was a Music Engineering major as I also shared a passion for music. During that time, I was in a class where the teacher
demanded 10-page papers quite often, and it became quite overwhelming to continuously pop out these structured based essays, so I approached my teacher and asked if there was any type of alternative assignment besides continuously writing papers. She told me if I filmed a 10 minute movie instead to make my argument, then I wouldn’t have to turn in a paper. So, I took my Point and Shoot camera, gathered my friends, my laptop...and my first project was born. It was like meeting your soulmate or like meeting God for the first time. The instant connection that I had with filmmaking is quite unexplainable.
Q: You are someone who doesn’t stray away from including controversy or taboo in your productions such as depicting Bipolar Disorder in Bricked or sexual assault/abuse in the film HUNTHER , why do you think these stories and conversations are important to be made and seen? And, how do you approach these subject matters, so they are shown authentically and truthfully?
A: I believe in creating purposefully. It is our responsibility as artists to create awareness and curate conversations on matters that are dear to our hearts and essential to our growth as human beings. Even if those conversations aren’t comfortable. I believe in making bold statements while simultaneously telling a good story. The best way to bring authenticity is to create in a way that your audience can relate to your characters and circumstances. My attempt to bring authenticity to stories and/or situations is by connecting the audience to real-life stories and/or situations. During the creation of Bricked and Hunther , countless conversations and consultations took place with licensed professionals as well as individuals who were actually impacted by these situations.
Q: Speaking of Bricked, which you wrote and directed, what was the process of conceptualization of making the script and then filming like, and what proved to be the most gratifying and most challenging parts of the experience?
A: The process of creating Bricked was layered. There was a conversation between myself and Tracy (the lead and co-creator), about what type of message we wanted to convey in our film, and what we wanted the audience to walk away with. There were interviews, consultations, and many conversations, while simultaneously expanding on a concept. Then there was the actual writing of the film. The concept. Then, connecting with script editors to find areas to expand the structure and story. But the manifestation of it was like giving birth. Like being in labor for weeks and then, THE BABY POPS out and you’re like “WOW! That’s my kid!”. That was probably the most gratifying part of the process. In conjunction with the fact that the creation of Bricked was done with a tightly knit crew who love each other. So it was simply magical.
I’d say the most challenging part of the process was facing distribution and finding the best route for the film. As a creative, it’s easy to get excited about creating, but the follow-through is also important...and that can be an expensive, tedious, and an enormous undertaking. The journey from Bricked being released in limited theaters to then being released on television was a great journey, but absolutely the most challenging.
Q: You, yourself, are an Atlanta native who graduated from Georgia State University with a BA in Film and Video Production, what aspects of that Film Market and community do you think shaped the kind of writer and director you are now?
A: Unfortunately, my degree really didn’t contribute to my involvement in the film industry. At the time, my degree consisted of a lot of film theory, but I walked away with nothing practical to apply as a filmmaker. That being said, what has truly shaped the kind of writer and director that I am now is all the experiences I had when I started working on various production sets. It took a while for me to build my confidence as a writer and director because I was/am in an industry that is money-driven and often overlooked passion. I saw a lot of unfavorable things in the industry and I told myself that I could either be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Being a part of the solution makes you realize that you do have to step away from some of the norms of Hollywood and take many risks. It was that constant push of creating with intention, taking risks, and putting myself around people with like minds/hearts that truly shaped the writer/director that
I am now.
Q: Aleshia, out of college you got a job working for Tyler Perry Studios , what was that experience of working there like and how does it blend itself to the way you now run your production company Eyeam Cinema ?
A: I started working at Tyler Perry Studios while I was still in college. I was referred to TPS by a dear friend whom I worked with on my first ever internship which was on The Walking Dead . I am truly grateful for my experience at TPS and for the individuals that I connected with. There is something to be learned in every experience and every endeavor.
My approach to Eyeam Cinema was to take all of my experiences with different productions and filter through the things that I feel were effective and not effective. Most importantly, I have learned in many of these experiences that even amid the pursuit of revenue, many neglect their core as a human being. This industry has a way of trying to mute your heart and your creativity. The way that I try to run Eyeam Cinema is rooted in layered love. My love for art, my love for creating, my love for people, and my love for God. Although it sounds cliche, it is a true statement that if love is the foundation, anything is possible.
Q: What do you think was the most beneficial thing you learned or the best experience you had while working for Tyler Perry?
A: The best experience I had while working for Tyler Perry: was when I was a PA on set of a film. We were filming in Downtown Atlanta which means there were always going to be people walking by and stopping to notice production in-process. There was a kid who walked by, saw Tyler Perry, and started screaming to his mom “That’s Tyler Perry! Mom!” The kid was beautifully dramatic in his excitement. I’m not sure what transpired between that moment and the next day, but I do know that the same kid who passed by screaming ended up getting a small part in the movie. It was beautiful.
Q: So, Bricked premiered on BET and UrbanFlix recently, how much of an honor is that and what do you hope people take away most from this film?
A: It is an overwhelming honor to have the luxury of sharing my art with the world. My heart is filled with so much gratitude, and what I would like for people to take away the most from the film is to revisit their relationships with mental health. With judgment. With stigmas. Just because we haven’t been diagnosed, does not mean that each and every human being does not deal with some sort of chemical imbalance at some point in our lives. I would also like for the audience to walk away with an understanding that a Chemical Imbalance in our brains does not remove us from being human beings. From experiencing real emotions. Real situations. Real judgment. And real hurt.
Q: For you, as the writer what was your favorite scene or moment from the film to see come to life from the page to the screen, and why?
A: My favorite moments from the film were those moments where I could see people connecting with the story. Where I could see tears. Hugs. Understanding. Manifesting right before my very eyes. It was a constant reminder of my WHY.
Q: The Millenial is another film you have coming out later this year, what can you tease our audience about that project and how it differs from BRICKED?
A: The Millennial presents a different experience than Bricked for sure. There is a blend of humor and multiple pop culture references that make this an entertaining Coming of Age film based around a Millennial.
Q: So Aleshia, you are a very busy and accomplished woman so what is the next step for you creatively, professionally, and personally? What would you like to see yourself doing next?
My desire moving forward is to continue to create and with each experience, I want to create better, love better, and produce more meaningful art that will live infinitely even after I leave this Earth.
Thanks so much for your time Chloe and Samera Entertainment !
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