How many years have you been a Judge?

This is my first year!

What was your first job in the industry? What did it teach you?

My first industry job was a production internship at 72&Sunny. I learned a ton how to implement proper communication, the process of commercial film making from the ground up, and how important building organic friendships in this industry is.

What project are you most proud to have worked on?

I’ve been working on a self-produced feature doc that I’m shooting and directing myself on 16mm film and, although it has its tough moments, it’s been a real pleasure to be able to highlight members of my community without having to ask permission from anyone else.

What’s the best part of your job? What’s the most challenging?

The best part of my job is that it gives me the ability to explore – and seek to understand – both myself and the world in deeper ways than most of us are conditioned to, it’s really a dream. The most challenging part of the job has to be the need to traverse industry politics.

What do you look for when reviewing Telly Award entries?

I look for originality, voice, authenticity. For a love of the art form. You can always tell if the work you’re experiencing was made by someone who loves the art form, always.

How do you unwind from work mode?

I unwind by playing basketball, videos games, or going out with family.

Do you have any specific practices you lean on to fuel your creativity?

I try my hardest to immerse myself in all different forms of art – theatre, film, paintings, sculptures, etc. Also, perhaps more importantly, I immerse myself in different forms of life: different cultures, different communities, different mindsets – they all allow me to see the fullness of life.

When did you know that this career is what you wanted to do?

I was 5 years old when I began writing films, commercials, and music videos and forcing my cousins and sister to act – this has been a lifelong dream!

What inspired you to join the field and create the kind of work you do?

I grabbed hold of an old camcorder my mother purchased for home movies when I was 5 years old and never let it go – film has been a part of me ever since.

Where do you see your field of work in 5 years?

I have a problem with living in the future that I’ve been trying to overcome so I’ll refrain from this question, haha.

Why are you interested in judging for The Telly’s?

I’m always interested in experiencing as much art and meeting as many different artists as possible and this is a great way to achieve that.

Have you ever experienced discrimination within your work and how did you deal with it?

It’s a daily occurrence. I deal with it by focusing on ways I can continue to create without needing the permission or approval from anyone else and equally as important, focusing on ways I can help other artists do the same.

What’s a work tool you use every day and what’s one that is obsolete that you wish still existed?

A work tool I use everyday is my calendar. As an artist who’s always meeting with different folks and staying in line with multiple deadlines, staying on top of my calendar has been a godsend. There aren’t any obsolete tools I wish still existed. In turn, I actually think we have too many tools and I’d love to get back to face-to-face contact and more tangible, community-oriented ways of working.