Ep. 20 – Brittney Janae : Cinematographer & Co-Founder of Lor’ene Jane


Based out of Los Angeles, California Brittney is cinematographer, editor and still photographer. Brittney has seven years of experience in Television production, digital and commercial production, working with clients such as TV One, Motions Hair, Nike, Instyle Magazine, Creators of Color and FOX on projects ranging from BTS, to short narratives and more. Brittney is the co-founder of Lor’ene Janae where she is contributing content creator.

She also works with a lot of musicians, artist and other filmmakers on personal projects.

Listen HERE


In this episode, we discuss:

  • How she started off with IT and that propelled her to pick up editing
  • Pivoting from St. Louis to California, what’s next after moving to Cali and how to put yourself out there
  • Establishing their production company and the importance of combining their talents
  • Passion projects that helped build her portfolio
  • How Craig’s List was a defining moment in meeting her mentor
  • Lance Gross being her first video project
  • Maintaining her faith in Hollywood
  • What is Creators of Color and working with Tiffany Haddish 


What Brittney is watching right now? Black.ish, Grown-ish & Living Single


What Brittney is reading right now? You are a Bad Ass.


You can connect with Brittney Janae on Lor’ene Janae or Instagram


Let’s Get Social


Instagram @thecreativeoutsiders or @shivawn_adrienne



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Filmmakers in Pursuit: Jana Henry

In case you missed the memo, we are following women in film as they journey to pursue their specific filmmaking dreams for 2018. Each month they will document their progress as they leave their mark in filmmaking industry.


Meet Jana.

In her early twenties Jana left her small city in Michigan and made Philadelphia her second home. She holds an Associate’s degree in communications as well as a Dual Bachelors from Temple University in African American Studies and Theater. “Temple not only helped me hone my skills as a writer but introduced me to the world of acting, a new way to tell stories.” Currently Jana is working on her MFA. 2018 she plans to self-publish her first book entitled “Fifty Miles to E” in and is currently working on her first film. A Historian once said “Stories happen to those who tell them”. Jana L. Henry is a writer, creative, storyteller. She is a woman with a story or two to tell.

Document February.

I learned two very important things this past month. The first thing is I don’t believe I have writers block. I do believe I have perfection poison sometimes. I will stray from completing a piece of writing because I’m scared it won’t be great enough. I will leave words completely alone if I fear the story is not being told well.



I’m an avid reader, movie watcher, and rerun binger. I often find that because of this I let comparison sneak up. It stings me every time. My goal this year is to write, produce, and direct my first short film. I’m going to be honest when I set out with this as one of my goals for the year I thought to myself you’re out of your mind. Then it was a realization. Yes, I am out of my mind. I’m crazy enough to try.

The second thing has been more of a relearning. You have to sit with a text sometimes. Let it work on you. January has been a month of writing, reading, writing, trashing, reading. I know the character I want to introduce in my short film. I know the part of the story I want to tell. I just couldn’t really wrap my words around the world I wanted to put on screen. So, I picked up a book. This then lead me to pick up another book. Sometimes you have to search or do research for your inspiration. Find the thing that will give you the push you need to do what you need to do. I need to tell stories. I have enough script now for about three short films but only focusing on one. This is the beginning.

Connect with Jana.


Ep.19 – Malakai : Producer & Director Owner of Malakai Creative

Based out of Los Angeles & Phoenix, Malakai is a director & creative vested in visual storytelling that empowers those with a voice.  The goal for Malakai is to be all things fearless.  As a black woman, she knows that the current industry is sparse with a lack of representation and diversity.  Because of this, she forges forward by creating narratives for the bold and the brave.  Her short documentary film Black Girls Code has been showcased within the Cannes Film Festival: SFC, Langston Hughes AA Fest, Miami SciFi Fest, Chelsea Fest, Focus Forward  and other additional festival platforms.  As well as this, the film had special screenings at some of the top tech companies: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Salesforce.  


 In 2014 Malakai was awarded and honored as an “Extraordinary Woman of Color”, live on (ABC 15).   In 2015 she was tapped as the “filmmakers voice” to speak on a panel for SXSW Interactive on Instant Gratification, Media and technology. Her short documentary on instant gratification also screened with this panel experience. 

Listen HERE

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Journey into Filmmaking, and how filmmaking choose her.
  • The first time she heard the term film director.
  • The importance of  women applying for film fellowships
  • Creating without permission
  • How she get involved in the project Black Girls Code
  • Tips on starting your own Production Company
  • The Horizon Award and Lynette Howell Taylor along with Christine Vachon
  • How she’s grown as a director in the past four years
  • Made In Her Image Nonprofit

What Malakai is watching right now? She’s Gotta Have it

What Malakai is reading right now? In Watermelon Sugar

You can connect with Malakai on Facebook or Instagram


Let’s Get Social

Interview with Filmmaker: Fann Sanders


What drew you into the world of filmmaking? Specifically  directing?

When I was a kid my mom got me involved in the arts by putting me in dance classes, music lessons, modeling and acting classes. I just loved creativity. Seeing characters live out stories in moving pictures always inspired me and though I didn’t know to call it filmmaking, I knew I wanted to be a part of telling these stories. So, honestly, I got into filmmaking in a roundabout way. Same with directing. In 2004 I joined a church and a couple years later I was leading the performing arts ministry. That’s when I began directing and it was both, trial and error and trial by fire!

How did you learn the craft of directing? What skills are needed to be a great director (in your opinion)?

I went to school for theater arts. Originally, I wanted to focus on the performance side as an actor, but I got the opportunity to work on the technical side and fell in love with it. By stage managing I was able to work closely with a lot of different directors and while I never thought that’s what I wanted to do, I would watch them – how they organized rehearsals, communicated with actors, collaborated with technical staff, their creative process, etc. By the time I began directing, the information I ingested surfaced and, I was a director. It was a very natural progression. As far as skills needed to be a great director, it depends on what type of director you are. Once that’s determined the biggest skill needed, in my opinion, is the ability to staff your need.

How are you putting yourself in position as a indie filmmaker to find project to work on? How are you putting your name out there?

Fortunately, I’ve had a great network of creative people who are supportive and enthusiastic about collaborating. So, within my creative community we’re either creating our own work or other people who become familiar with projects that I’m involved with will reach out to work together. I’ve also connected with people and found projects through a filmmaking group on meetup.com as well as acting classes, film events and even Facebook. I’m not great with self-promotion. Oddly enough, my name and work circulate through people that I’ve built relationships with; they’ll end up telling someone they know about what I do and I’ll end up getting a phone call or email so, it’s really organic.


What do you look for when looking for a project?

One thing that’s important to me is, the purpose the story serves. How is the story being told? Is it being told with integrity? Is it honest, and did we care for the characters (are they dynamic and complex)? Those are questions that I ask when it comes to looking for projects because ultimately these questions determine, for me, the purpose of why this story is being told.

What project are you currently working on as a director?

Currently, I’m in preproduction planning for my first short film and script development for a series I created. The short film is projected to shoot this spring – send a prayer up for your girl! And, I’m hoping to shoot the series this summer.

You are an actress on a well known series Single and Anxious, How would you describe your process working with the actors when behind the camera?

I LOVE working with actors! My process begins with acknowledging that the actor’s work and contribution is valuable. I’m big on rehearsal, character development, scene work and the preparation it takes to tell the story as authentically as possible. I’m intentional about taking time to build a rapport and trust during preproduction because when production hits, it gets real and I need my actors to know that I love them, but we need to get these scenes right (lol)!


One piece of advice do you have for women working to get started in the indie film industry (who may not have access to going to film school)?

There’s so much encouragement for women in film these days because we can (now) hop on social media or open a magazine and see a woman filmmaker. We can go to thecreativeoutsiders.com and be inspired by other dope women creating indie films – there are many more resources available today than there were just a few years ago. My advice would be to take advantage of the resources. Learn about other female filmmakers, support them, search for a filmmaker groups in your area, network, get on sets – just start working. As you work, create your own projects and collaborate with others, you’ll learn so much. You’ll become a filmmaker!

What are you reading right now to help your creativity? What are you watching?

I’ve recently been thumbing through a couple of books. For my acting chops I’m reading Respect For Acting by Uta Hagen. I’m reading Screenplay by Syd Field to help me work through my script. And to keep my heart and mind free so that I can be creative, I’m reading a devotional called Who I Am in Christ by Neil T. Anderson. In general, I like talent competition shows so, I’ve been watching The Four and The Rap Game. I’m also binging Living Single and the last film I watched on demand was a film called Unforgettable with Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl.

Tell us about Free Creative Productions?

Free Creative Productions is a production company that I started near the end of 2016. The company itself isn’t a production house (that’s not my ministry.) Since I tend to label myself a “creative collaborator”, working as a multi-hyphenate creative, I wanted a company to produce through. So, whether I come onto a project as a writer, producer, director, creative consultant, etc., it can all fall under Free Creative Productions. I’m also working to release some fresh company branding later this year so that’s something to look out for as well.

What’s next for you?

This year is big for me and I’m excited. In addition to the projects I mentioned I’m also assistant directing a short film which is currently in production, season 3 of Single and Anxious is in preproduction and slated to shoot this spring, I’m in my last semester at the Community College of Philadelphia for my A.A.S. in digital video production and once all of this wraps I plan to relocate to Atlanta, GA… again, pray for your girl!

How can we keep in touch with you?




Interview with Filmmaker: Amber Sealey

Amber Sealey is an award-winning filmmaker and actor who was born in England and raised in New Mexico. Her most recent film, NO LIGHT AND NO LAND ANYWHERE, had its world premiere at the LA Film Festival where it won a Special Jury Award. Amber was selected for Film Independent’s Directing Lab and their Fast Track program with her feature script NEW MEXICAN RAIN. She directed Miranda July (ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW) for her scene in her short film, Somebody, and has worked for director Mike Mills (20TH CENTURY WOMEN) pre-directing his actors for commercials. Amber extensively shadowed director Jamie Babbit on Kay Cannon’s Netflix series “Girlboss,” and shadowed Jill Soloway and Marta Cunningham on Soloway’s Amazon series “Transparent.”

Amber Sealey Director Photo

You were noted of having the reputation as one of the most promising directors of female-driven stories working the U.S. today. That’s an awesome badge of honor to be given. How would you say you developed your craft as a director?

I came to filmmaking slowly. I started as an actor and a modern dancer, that led me to theatre, which led me to devised and experimental theatre, then to performance art, then to video art projects that involved live performance, and then finally into making a feature film. It was very organic and was a natural progression for me. I like to think of myself as always learning, each film, each job teaches me something new about myself and about the craft.

How has your skill evolved since you started directing?

I like to try new things, to challenge myself. I like to surround myself with people who I find smart and interesting, and we learn together. Each film is its own beast, and requires its own skill set in some ways. And that’s half the fun — the surprises, the unexpected moments and connections. You prepare, plan, prepare, plan, and then get to live in the moment. It’s a pretty fun mix of spontaneity and obsessive organization.

What would you tell someone who is a natural at directing but wants to take their natural ability up a notch? What are some suggestions to develop their skill if they can’t attend film school?

You know, everyone comes to this profession from such different places, I would never really presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do it. Every path is just as valid as the next. What I would say is: if you love it, keep doing it. Stay focused on the craft, make that your reward and success. Stay away from outward markers of success or fame that can get in your head and cloud your own experience with your path. Just keep working, keep trying. There is no one way to do this.


You had the opportunity to attend the Film Independent’s Directing Lab and their Fast Track program, what is one lesson you learned while attending that translated into a skill that you still use as a director?

I’m a big fan of Film Independent, they really support their fellows and welcome you into their family when you do their labs or screen at their festivals. They are a great group of people who genuinely love film and love supporting new voices. I can’t remember any specific skills that I picked up at either of those programs, but I remember having really enriching relationships with my classmates and with the mentors — relationships that continue still and became people that I have worked with and will work with in the future. It’s just a great, nurturing place to explore your craft.

Many women in film struggle with balance, how have you managed being a mother as well a filmmakers?

I don’t really think there is such a thing as balance, nothing is ever balanced. You just put your energy and focus on where it’s needed in the moment. You become good at blocking out everything else while you’re doing something. When I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids: I put away my phone, I try not to be on my computer unless I have to. But when I’m working it’s the same, I’m not thinking about my kids, I’m working. I don’t think of myself as a “working mother” or whatever the term is. I just think of myself as a person, a filmmaker, who also happens to have kids. But that thing about balance and “having it all” — no, that doesn’t exist, I don’t think.


Tell us about your feature NO LIGHT AND NO LAND ANYWHERE?

No Light & No Land Anywhere is coming out at the end of March, and I’m really proud of it. Gemma Brockis who stars in it is just amazing, and it’s her first film. It was made by a really cool group of people who all pitched in because they believed in the project, and I’m so excited for the world to see it soon. It’s a film about loss, and love, and family, and finding connections where you least expect them. There is a particular kind of loneliness that exists in LA, and we really explore that too. It’s raw, and intimate, and unflinching. But ultimately it’s about something very universal: family and loss.

You had a successful Indiegogo campaign why did you opt to seek financing through this avenue and what do you attribute to having a successful campaign?

We ran a crowd funder to help pay for some of our post production, and it was a ton of work, but totally worth it. What I like about crowdfunding is it enables you to really connect to your audience and create a swell of support around the film. It makes you feel less alone on a project. Our campaign was really a labor of love from everyone involved, I couldn’t have done it without my producers, Drea Clark and Alysa Nahmias, doing it with me. Having a successful campaign is all about preparation and being relentless. Let your ego go, and just keep going.

What is your suggestion for women who want the opportunity to direct more projects for hire whether it’s film or commercial?

Make your own stuff. If you don’t yet have the experience to get hired or have an agent, then just make your own things. However small. Stay creative. Write, journal, take photos. Do anything that keeps you connected to being an artist, just keep practicing and making.


What’s next for you?

I’ve got a super busy year ahead! No Light and No Land Anywhere comes out in a few months, so we are planning the release of that. Then I’m shooting a short film in the summer which is fun because I’ve only made features and never made a short. And then I’m working on another friend’s film that’s also shooting in the summer, which I can’t say anything about yet but it’s very exciting. Then I have the Creative Acting Class that I teach that is weekly, and regular coaching clients. Plus I have two other scripts in development and am trying to finish another feature script. So, it’s a lot, but having a lot to do is a good problem to have.


What are you watching right now and what are you reading?

Actually right now I’m re-reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamot, which I recommend to everyone creative. It’s a fabulous book, especially for anyone who writes or likes to explore their own creative process.

As for watching, it’s screener season so I’m watching all the screeners. It’s hard to watch them all in such a short time! I especially try to watch the small, indie films that no one has ever heard of. I find we all watch the ones we heard of, and we’ve only heard of them because they have bigger marketing budgets, so it creates a vicious cycle of the smaller films never getting a fair chance at awards. Often people vote without even having seen all the smaller, less-known films that are nominated, so of course they end up voting only for the bigger films that had marketing campaigns. So I try to watch the titles that are not familiar to me. It’s the same when I go to film festivals, I avoid the big films that have stars in them that everyone is going to see — why do that when you know they’ll get distribution and you’ll see them in the theaters in a month? I’d rather see the smaller, weirder films that might be much harder to catch later.

How can we keep up with you?

Film Website: www.nolightnoland.com
IG: @ambersealeyfilm