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Conversations with the Inspiring Victoria Renee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Renee.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am screenwriter and filmmaker from College Park and Southwest Atlanta, Georgia. Since I was a young girl, I have always enjoyed using my imagination to entertain those around me. I did impressions, created characters and performed monologues, and wrote and illustrated comics, stories, and books.

As I grew older, I became fascinated by the various factors that influence human behavior. Initially, I satisfied this curiosity by studying clinical and forensic psychology, earning my M.A. from Columbia University and my B.S. from Barry University. I learned that biological, social, and psychological factors influence behavior and one’s behavior tell one’s story. I realized stories are powerful. However, throughout my academic tenure, I recognized the importance of underrepresented persons taking control of their own narratives. Moreover, I felt it was pertinent that these narratives not be limited to the myopic audiences that subscribe to academic journals but instead be easily consumable for the general public via the most popular content consumption mediums, i.e. film, television, and the web. Consequently, shortly after earning my master’s degree, I began my self-initiated study of screenwriting and filmmaking.

This decision felt incredibly cathartic and fulfilling. Writing and creating video content was always something that dabbled in as a hobby, so when I brought these interests to the forefront, I felt empowered. I was disciplined and determined to learn everything I can about filmmaking. I read books, took classes, completed online courses, joined local groups, and began to develop and draft my ideas and stories.

I became obsessed with this creative passion. I even incorporated it into my behavioral counseling job, where I worked with adolescent girls who are challenged with mental and emotional issues. When I led the group sessions, I would often do an activity I called, “Conflict Resolution Theater.” This consisted of me breaking the girls into smaller groups, assisting them with writing short skits about emotional issues that are remedied with a therapeutic technique, and then I would direct their performances. Afterward, we would all come together to breakdown and highlight the key therapeutic takeaways from each group’s performance. It was in this position that I also realized that this form of storytelling can be therapeutically healing. Furthermore, these experiences also motivate me to develop impactful stories that resonate with marginalized groups.

As an artist of color, female filmmaker, and psychology professional, I understand the importance of being able to tell my own authentic stories for people like me to feel represented. I am tired of seeing characters who look like me being traditionally marginalized and reduced to stereotypical, one-dimensional, caricatures. I aim to be apart of the new wave of artists of color, who are dismantling those archaic traditions and creating fully rounded characters of color.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Transitioning from research and mental health to filmmaking has not been an easy feat, to say the least. I went from a traditional linear path to one that is anything but that. The life of a filmmaker feels like an oscillating pendulum. Sometimes, I feel like I’m really “outchea” doing it on my boss status, others days I’m telling myself, “Idk, what I’m doing and I need to get my life together.”

There’s this belief that “anyone can write.” I mean, we all went to elementary school and learned how to string together words, sentences, and paragraphs, right? I assert that “anyone can have ideas but everyone cannot write.” What truly makes someone a good writer is their ability to put in the work to learn how to effectively communicate their great idea from their mind to Final Draft, and eventually to our screens. Be disciplined and persistent. Trust yourself and your instincts. Choose authenticity over what’s trendy. Take your audience on a worthwhile journey.

Finally, the main advice I tell others is to honor the craft by honing it. Sharpen your skills. Study: read writing books, take classes, join online and in-person groups and meetups, find your tribe. Draft and Revise. Immerse yourself in the world of writing and filmmaking. And finally, network with your fellow creatives at all levels on their journey. We’re outchea looking to make creative collaborative magic.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a storyteller. I write scripts for film, tv, web, and theater. Furthermore, I am a filmmaker. I direct and serve as an assistant director, script supervisor, and production assistant on various productions around the city of Atlanta. I am most proud of my discipline and commitment to creating stories that highlight people of color. Currently, I find myself writing coming of age stories that have young black female protagonists working in or aspiring towards STEM careers. These concepts are influenced by my background in social science and the dearth of black women in all STEM fields. It is my hope that my characters will inspire other girls and girls of color to pursue careers in STEM and other male-dominated fields.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
I’m inspired by Mya Angelou, Issa Rae, Debbie Allen, Ava Duvernay, Oprah Winfrey, Lena Waithe, Tina Fey, and the list goes on and on. These women are inspirational and motivational because they are paving the way for young writers and filmmakers like me to dare to create authentic stories that boldly show women and people of color living ordinary to extraordinary lives.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
De’Narius Allen Productions www.DeNariusAllenProductions.com

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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