This week, we spoke to Briana M. Andrews, a 19-year-old undergrad student and content creator from New York with wisdom and artistry beyond her years.
How long have you been in the industry and what made you want to go into this field?
February 2017 is when I officially transitioned from being a hobbyist. I’ve been in the industry a little over two years. I was always an artist and a right-brained, visual creative. I took an interest in photography and videography during middle-school and never looked back. I started with a standard point-and-shoot and portable HD camera. Later, I moved up to working with SLRs and cinema cameras.
Have you ever dealt with imposter syndrome in this industry? If so, how did you overcome that?
Luckily for me, no, I haven’t dealt with imposter syndrome. I’m confident in my abilities and always eager to learn. I take constructive criticism and grow from it. Art is highly subjective and everything is opinionated, so it’s a matter of taste and personal preference. It is important to have thick-skin, but also important not to internalize all commentary. If you have technical proficiency and hone your craft, the confidence comes with time. For some people, actively working in a smaller market before seeking work in New York or Los Angeles helps.
What would you identify as your most successful moment up to this point in your career?
I feel like the best is yet to come, however, the creation of comedic-short, How to Watch was definitely a huge moment of pride and ultimately led to the creation of my company, BibbyFame Digital, LLC. Up until that point, I had worked on projects as a production assistant (PA), director of photography (DP) and behind-the-scenes (BTS), but never spearheaded an original film from start to finish. For this film, I conceptualized it, wrote it, scouted locations, created the look-book, shot-list, production book, casted it, funded it, shot it, promoted it, edited it and showcased it. I don’t expect to be a one-woman-army, but having an idea of how things work from soup-to-nuts gives me a greater appreciation and overall understanding of each part that goes into a creative work. It also provides me with the ability to communicate intelligibly individuals I delegate tasks to. This process gave me the confidence I needed to use my ability for practical applications. I assist businesses with visually conveying their stories.
How would you describe your artistic style?
My stories tend to feature a strong, female-lead. Whenever possible, I love to make use of natural lighting. I inject myself in all of my work so my style is female-centric and blends cinema with visual art and fashion.
Do you have a film bucket list? If so, what are you still wanting to do?
Most definitely! I have a slew of things on my film bucket list and next month, I’ll finally be able to cross one off. I always wanted to work on a project with an all-female crew; a project where everyone from the director, to producer, to camera-operator, production assistant and behind-the-scenes … are all women. I wanted the experience, combined with support and solidarity, to culminate in a film where we demonstrate our collective capabilities. I am the producer of a docu-series named To Each, Her Throne that will be shot in April 2019. Working with the director and associate director has been a phenomenal experience thus far. It will feature a talented female cast and the funding partially comes from an IndieGogo campaign. Also, I just found out a few days ago that out of hundreds of applicants, I was selected for the New York: Women’s Weekend Film Challenge. It’ll be shooting BTS, and our film will be screened in the Museum of Moving Image late next month. I am really excited about both opportunities.
What would you say to other Black female creatives wanting to break into the industry?
Dream, write, shoot and edit. There are many different platforms available where you can showcase your ability, take advantage of them. I would also tell other black, female creatives not to get preoccupied with optics. You are going to have to work with people who don’t look like you, who aren’t the same gender as you, who have a different background than you etc. My undergrad program is being completed at Rowan University. I attended this college for the hands-on TV / Film Production and New Media program. It was important to me to select an institution where I can develop, grow and also have a solid foundation in liberal arts without going into massive debt. That being said, the school is maybe 10-percent Black and my major seems to be around 85-percent male. I never let any of those things discourage me and thus far, my experience has been awesome. I volunteer extensively and often have the opportunity to address large audiences of Black and Hispanic students. Sometimes, people just need to see something done to know that it can be done. Everyone loves Ava and Shondra and Issa. It wasn’t an easy road for any of them. They braved discomfort and stand as an inspiration for countless women of all races.
Why do you feel is it important to have our voices represented in this industry?
There is value in each of our experiences; women need to find our own voices, control the narrative and take ownership of our portrayal in television, film and new media. Similarly, these industries need to tune into, and be empathetic to the needs of various audiences. The film industry cannot be a monolithic arena and expect to be relevant with diverse communities. Film has to serve our communities, and reflect it. That is why I feel it is important to have our voices represented.
How can we find you? (website/social media handles)
Anything else you would like to share?
I’d like to thank you, Alana Marie for providing a platform for female filmmakers to express themselves and share information about each of our respective journeys. Having the #BlackFemaleFilmmakerSeries is particularly special during Women’s History Month. I respect and appreciate your vision. Personally, I also make a point to share information and serve as a resource to other women seeking careers in the industry whenever and however I can.