Today we’d like to introduce you to Alan M. Brooks.
Alan M., can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina by a single mother. I remember as a young boy my mom would always ask me, “What do you want to be when you grown up?” I remember not really knowing what I wanted to be. Even though I was a good kid and never gave my mom any trouble; it was still important to her that I eventually found out what I wanted to be when I became an adult. I don’t have the traditional story of most Film Directors, where they picked up a camera and fell in love with film. My journey was a little different. When I was younger I remember one weekend the youth department at my church took us to Atlanta, GA to visit a music recording studio.
I was in the youth music group at church and they wanted us to experience a real music studio. I remember being in awe of all the microphones and buttons that goes into making a song great. I really owe it to that trip because it really opened my mind to a possibility of doing something in music/entertainment. As I entered into my high school years, the youth department music group at church kind of slowed down because of a change in leadership. That shift took my mind off of music and led me to doing other fun activities in the youth department at church.
As I reached my senior year of high school, I was accepted into the Historically Black College (HBCU) Claflin University. I was an undecided major. I remember like it was yesterday, I was accepted into a prestigious university but was undecided as to what I wanted to major in. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, so then I was offered an opportunity to attend a summer program at Claflin University for classes related to Computer Science. I thought in my mind, “I like computers so how hard can it be? Maybe Computer Science could be my actual major.” Well, I attended the summer program and I absolutely hated it. I had to make a quick decision as to what I wanted to major in before classes started in the fall.
I picked up the curriculum book and I saw the most magical words, “Mass Communications.” I did my research and found out that this Mass Communications program offered a Sound Production concentration. (It made me think about that trip to Atlanta when I went to the recording studio.) So I became a Mass Communications major with a concentration is Sound Production. So I go through my first two years of college as a Mass Communication major and it was going okay. Then one day I had a change of heart for Sound Production. I just wasn’t grasping some of the fundamentals of sound production and I started to lose interest in it. I remember during my freshman and sophomore year the curriculum required us to take Television Production classes but I never really considered TV production until the moment when I had to make the tough decision to either change my major or concentration.
So I took a chance a switched my concentration to Television production. That was the BEST decision I could have ever made!!! I felt so at home as a Television Production concentration and I was actually having fun creating content. As I entered my senior year, I remember my professor asking each of us, “What do you want to do for your senior project.” When he got to me I said that “I want to do a movie.” I remember everyone laughing at me and saying that it was no way that I could do a movie. I ignored everyone and went on to write, produce, direct, cast, film, and edit my senior project on a mini DV tape. I did everything by myself and that same project entitled “Struggles” got me accepted into film school at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where I would go on to graduate receiving my MFA in Film and Television. Since graduating from Film School I have directed over 20 films, 10 music videos, and 5 commercials.
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?
It hasn’t been a smooth road to becoming a Film Director but I always made up my mind to never give up no matter the obstacle. I was always a soft-spoken individual growing up, and when I was first starting out in film school I had so many situations where actors wouldn’t listen to me. I was so confused because I didn’t know how to get them to understand me and my direction. I remember being so frustrated because I felt like I was losing control on set. But one day someone pulled me aside and told me to be the leader that I’m called to be; and to return for the remaining day’s production more prepared, having a clearer vision of what I wanted, to stand in my creative authority, and to have confidence.
I really appreciate that individual for taking time to pour into me at that critical time because that really helped shaped me as a Director during that time and to this day. Other challenges I’ve faced on my road to becoming a film director was finding my voice (artistically) and stepping out of the box. It wasn’t until I found out about film director Ryan Coogler, that I began to find my unique voice and approach to directing. It was so refreshing to see a film director who looked like me, around my same age, and telling universal stories in his way that he personally related to.
I use to try to tell stories that I thought would make me fit in with other directors and crowds; but I decided to do like Ryan Coogler and tell universal stories that mattered to me as an artist, stories that shed light on my culture, stories that impact change, tell stories that represent people of color in a positive and uplifting light, and tell stories that stand true to me.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am an independent Writer, Producer, and Film Director who is the owner of AMB Productions. I specialize in Film Directing. Through my production company I have gone on to direct over 20 short films, 2 feature-length films, over 10 music videos for artist such as (JD McCrary from Disney’s “The Lion King”, Silento’, Joshua Rogers from BET’s “Sunday’s Best”, and Tray Chaney from HBO’s “The Wire”/Bounce TV’s “Saints and Sinners”) to name a few. I have also directed 5 commercials; one in which is a Chick-fil-A commercial where I was awarded a Telly Award in Directing, and received an Honorable Mention in the Southeast EMMY’S “Excellence in MyMarket Awards.” I am super proud of my Telly Award accomplishment.
In 2019 my short film “The Portrait” was selected to premiere on Magic Johnson’s National Television Network ASPIRE TV during their Urban Indie Block, and my short film “Wrong House” was selected to premiere on Sean “P. Diddy” Combs” National Television Network REVOLT TV during a special two-hour Hip Hop Halloween episode of Short & Fresh. What sets myself apart from others is the fact that I treat people how I want to be treated. This industry is about relationships and its important to treat everyone kindly no matter the scale of their position or status. People in this industry work with individuals who they feel are genuine and who they feel comfortable around. What also sets me apart from others is the fact that I don’t mind humbling myself and genuinely serving others.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I would say that prayer, hard work, and studying my craft has been the key factor in all aspects of my life. I live by that saying, “Let your preparation meet your opportunity.” Preparation is key to any level of success in life.
- Website: www.vimeo.com/alanmbrooks
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/director_alan/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/directoralan/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/director_alan