Recently two events happened to me within a span of two weeks, that inspired me, and encouraged me to stay true to my experience.
- I was sitting in a room full of writers who had gotten into NALIP Showcase, NHMC Writing Fellowship, someone who got into a Sundance program … and I thought, wow…I think I am in the right place. See, I’ve been meeting individually with artists and it’s been going great. However, I’ve been craving knowledge. How can I keep pushing myself to more and more avenues of writing. “We have to hold each other accountable for the work!” a girl said in the space. Actually she was the only other female besides me and we both felt urgency in the space. Moving back to Los Angeles has meant returning to the likes of tinsel town, but this has been different than prior experiences when I wasn’t invited to the table. This has been more like…wow there are Latinx folks like me out there who are also wanting to tell their stories. Badly. And although there was some resistance in my part about returning to the entertainment industry – for obvious reasons like – it has a ways to go in deconstructing and dismantling the system of oppression at play — we can all see that there is a shift happening. And folks like me, we’re tired of waiting to be invited in. Folks like me, we’re going to push our way through our door. And if they seal the door, we are going to make our own building and build a door with windows, so anyone can look inside an walk in if they want to. The idea of becoming a future show runner or even just a writer who sells treatments for show ideas — excites me. The idea that I can be someone who holds the door open for others to walk in, excites me. The idea that my writing could be a source of income to help my family and future children, excites me. We are going to make it through. One way, or another.
- I heard a man say last night, “No one is going to make the show about a Samoan!” and I thought … What are you saying?! They were probably saying the same thing about African Americans not that long ago, and we have incredible works out there written by amazing people of color. I mean, there has to be someone from Samoa out there who is itching to tell their story in film and television. And let’s say there isn’t (ha!)– they’re a community of people who are telling stories regardless. Because that’s what we do as humans beings. We tell each other stories. To learn, to connect, to remind each other that we are not alone. We are listening to a unique experience or witnessing a character that we all can relate to in some way, shape, or form. I hope this man rethinks his words because I believe anyone can tell their story. If Hollywood doesn’t get it – there are now endless ways to get the word out.
I am excited.
PS – THERE ARE SAMOAN FILMMAKERS. Links below. That guy needs to take a hike!
- MARIA by Jeremiah Tauamiti – http://www.pbs.org/filmfestival/2017-festival/maria/
- ‘Hibiscus & Ruthless’ by Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa – http://radio531pi.com/blog/kiwi-samoan-filmmaker-to-release-hibiscus-ruthless