Reimagine with Sarah Hawkins

This is our reimagine series. Where we catch up with previous guest on our podcast to see how they’ve reimagined their creativity since we last talked to them on the podcast. The last time we spoke to Sarah it was September 2017.

If you transitioned out of the creative industry why was it important to pivot? How did that translate into your current industry?

Over the years, I’ve had to make some pivots, namely for sustainability purposes. I still consult on projects in a creative producing capacity, but since our interview, started a media company with my producing partner called Pretty Thing and work remotely as a communications consultant. Working in communications (primarily internal comms) there is a lot of overlap to my typical roles on set – I help keep the team focused and motivated on bigger vision initiatives, and build systems for access to information and team morale, encouraging team members to communicate with each other and yet be self-sufficient to do their best work, in the best environment we can create together remotely to make it happen.

What would you tell someone looking to collaborate with others, what is key?

Start with your circle of influence, and as hard as it is sometimes, try to come from a place of abundance. Offer to help a friend on a project, be a sounding board for someone, keep your ear to the ground on what others need and are looking for, and best of all start connecting people. I believe that those good vibes eventually come back around, but you need to come from a place where you know (even if you don’t see it in your current reality) that opportunities are everywhere. In your conversations, don’t be shy to be vocal about what you’re going after and open to receiving as well. As my producing partner likes to say “closed mouths don’t get fed.”

Do you see yourself creating again if so in what aspects?

Absolutely. I’m currently going through a bit of a reset right now and transitioning back in front of the camera. I started in the industry as a model and actor, fell into producing, and it’s been an ever-evolving journey since. Right now, I’m working on collaborations with others, consulting, and in my free time creating on my own – whether that’s a TikTok, a vibey IG Reel, doing a mini photoshoot, or painting.

What would you tell someone who was just starting out or someone who was ready to quit?

Sometimes you’ve got to remove yourself from a situation, get really quiet, and become brutally honest with yourself so you can get a higher perspective on what it is you actually want. There is no clearcut path in creative industries; it’s a beauty and a curse. Don’t be afraid to define it how you want. No one can do what you do like you do, and know that everyone is just trying to figure it out for themselves.

What do you do to refuel yourself?

I love painting! I put on a good playlist and just vibe out. I’m your classic over-thinker and painting allows me to just work some of that stuff out on a canvas. Other than that, a good bath, a good heart-to-heart with a friend or family member, or an impromptu road trip.

Your Name: Sarah Hawkins

Creative Title: Producer & Actor

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: N/A —

Reimagine with Christina Faith

This is our reimagine series. Where we catch up with previous guest on our podcast to see how they’ve reimagined their creativity since we last talked to them on the podcast. The last time we spoke to Christina it was September 2017.

If you are still in the creative industry since we last spoke how have you grown as a creative and was there something specific you focused on to aid in your growth as a creative. 

I am still in the creative industry. Over the last six years, I have grown tremendously. When we last spoke, I believe I was working on Single and Anxious. Since then, I’ve released four short films, 22 episodes of a digital series, and two feature films. I’ve grown as a writer, director, and producer. The last six years have been about resilience, development, and honing my craft.

How has your storytelling changed or stayed the same? What stories are important that you tell and why? 

My storytelling has gotten more nuanced and centered around personal stories that resonate with me. I’ve honed my craft around complicated stories of humanity, family, and love. It’s always been of utmost importance for me as a creative to tell stories grounded in why people make the decisions they make. What exists in a character’s backstory that is driving them? What flaws are being masked as strengthens? How can I cinematically level up with each story and scene? How do I serve the story and not my interests?

Collaboration is key in our industry. What collaboration do you most appreciate and why? 

Collaboration is key. Unless you are shooting short-form content for social media consumption, it takes an entire team to create. I enjoy all aspects of the industry’s collaboration process, from department heads to writers to actors to below-the-line crew. I thrive in collaboration. Collaboration allows a brain trust to exist that is not simply inside your brain. It allows a story to receive a greater level of depth. 

What would you tell someone looking to collaborate with others, what is key? 

The key to collaboration is allowing everyone to work from their strengths and not their weaknesses. I find that having a common goal and defined roles is the best way to collaborate. Don’ take yourself too seriously, hold the story tight but lose, and resolve conflicts immediately. Too often, there is confusion, division, and bitterness in collaboration. By being willing to resolve and address conflicts or misunderstandings, you will develop strong bonds that can’t be broken. You should also be mindful of who you work well with and who you don’t. I believe that you should enjoy collaborating and that it should be mutually beneficial for all parties involved. 

What are you currently working on and future goals for yourself as a creative? 

I am currently writing two features and two pilots (You have to have what’s next while in production or post). My team and I are shopping another Christmas movie surrounding Black love and grief. I’m also in the process of securing my first episodic directing gig. 

Do you see yourself creating again if so in what aspects? 

I don’t believe there will ever be a time that I am not creating in some aspect. I am focusing my attention on building an extensive catalog of feature films, TV shows, and docuseries that Creative Thought Media owns while servicing networks.

What would you tell someone who was just starting out or someone who was ready to quit?

KEEP GOING! Continue to hone your craft and clock in those hours. I never gave up or stopped, no matter the frustrations or the waiting. STAY THE COURSE if you have been called to create. Every day is a challenge to develop and keep going. Yet, each day is worth it in the long run.

What do you do to refuel yourself? 

I am huge on rest and spiritual disciplines. I try to make sure that I schedule a week every 10-14 days to do nothing. One of the most significant issues with creatives is we are often creating after work and on weekends. We have to be careful not to burn out and let productivity rule our lives. I pray, meditate, read the Bible, and stretch daily. I work out 3-4 times a week because trauma lives in the body. I’m big on audiobooks and podcasts for passive learning and refueling my heart.

How do we close the gap for who has access to tell stories (funding, resources etc)?

That’s such a loaded question. We can close the gap through more access to training and mentorship. We can close the gap by being allowed into rooms that will enable us to network with those funding the stories we long to tell. The biggest thing I have learned is that ownership requires financing. I have been able to finance 90% of my projects through collaboration and owning our gear. As we grow, the need for funding grows.

Is social media necessary for filmmakers? Please explain why? 

Social media has been a game-changer for me in my career. I’ve been able to build relationships horizontally and vertically with people I love and would love to work with. With social media, it’s essential to understand it is needed but not the focus. Likes and reposts won’t help your reel or resume. 

Christina Faith is a writer, director and producer. Connect with her on her website

Episode 503: Erica Williams Simon – Narrative strategist

Erica Williams Simon is an award-winning strategist, author, creative and entrepreneur. As the founder and former Head of Snapchat’s Creator’s Lab, Erica creates conversations that help a diverse, digital native generation tell new stories about “who we are and how we want to live”. Her work incorporates elements of her multi-industry career to surface countercultural wisdom for work, life and social impact.

Listen HERE

Through her company Sage House, a strategic content, experience and consulting firm Erica works with clients like Spotify, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and countless creative partners to bring big ideas to life. She is also host of the popular podcast The Call with Erica. 

Previously, Simon worked as Senior Editor and Creative Director of and as a columnist for

On This Episode:

Do you think our identity being rooted in what we do prevents us from moving and showing up in spaces that we are needed in?

We see people on social media and compare not knowing the process. Give us perspective as you were the founding Creative Director of what does it look like to build? What skills do we need to build especially a media presence?

Narrative intelligence what is it and why is it important to storytellers in media?

How can someone gain opportunities to show up in their new space if they are starting late?

Connect with us: 

Shivawn Mitchell (host) 

Erica Williams Simon (guest) 

Episode 502: Latisha Bereola – Emmy Nominated TV Anchor

Letisha Bereola is an Emmy nominated TV News Anchor in Jacksonville, Florida. With 10+ experience in the news industry, Letisha has covered everything from national championships and hurricanes as an MMJ to the anchor seat. Letisha is the host and producer of the podcast AUDACITY: Unlocking the secrets of the Bold where she interviews entrepreneurs, creatives, thought leaders and artists about how they cultivated the audacity to go after their dreams. Her faith in Jesus is the center of her life and helps her show up everyday as a mom of two, wife and news anchor who is determined to use her platform to inspire people to live a life purpose.


On This Episode We Cover: 

  • Finding our voice in a noisy space how do you show up as your authentic self as a storyteller.
  • How does your faith define what stories you share?
  • How does your faith shows up in your creativity?
  • Representation in the media …why News? How did you get started?
  • What does it look like for you going after your dreams? 
  • What have you learned as wearing the producers hat going into the podcast?
  • What do you say to the people who say I don’t want to start because the market is Oversaturated?
  • Measuring Success….what does that look like for you and defining what it is?

Connect with Us: 

Host: Shivawn Mitchell 

Guest Latisha Bereola 

Episode 501: Christina Jones – Creative Director & Producer

Christina Jones is a creative director and producer with a strong background in graphic design & branding, film production and marketing. She has traveled nationally and internationally, collaborating with brands such as Showtime Sports, TOGETHXR and House of Athlete to direct and produce creative content. She’s recently founded a brand titled “Creatives Are Essential” which showcases the importance of individuals in creative fields and creates resources for people to grow by developing ideas, collaborating with others and learning to rest.


On This Episode We Discuss : 

  • Why Creatives are Essential 
  • How she put herself out there to work with House of Athlete 
  • Working with a team 
  • What it looks like to produce

Connect with us: 

Episode 500: Avril Speaks – Producer & Director

Avril Z. Speaks is a producer, director and film educator based in Los Angeles. She produced the critically-acclaimed feature film Jinn, which won the Special Jury Prize for Writing at SXSW and
was acquired by MGM/Orion Classics for theatrical and VOD release. Since then she has produced several films including Hosea, and African America, which will premiere this year at
the Pan African Film Festival, and the upcoming Dotty & Soul, starring Leslie Uggams, Gary Owens and Margot Bingham. She was an associate producer on the TNT docu-series “American
Race,” and has helped produce content for BET, Coca-Cola, Essence, and others.


What we discussed on this episode? 

How did you pursue film? What were your actionable steps? 

Why do you think we don’t see more women in the space of producing and what skills do you need to wear that hat? How do we show up better? 

Faith and Creativity. I saw that you studied, Theology and Film, why was this important for you to study the two together and how has it shaped your creativity? 

Is it important for us to apply for producer labs or fellowships? What does this do for our careers? 

Do you have to move to LA to be successful in film as a producer/or director? 

What stories are important for you to tell now and why?


Connect with us

Avril Speaks 

Shivawn Mitchell – Host & The Creative Outsiders