The month of March is Women’s History Month and to celebrate, I have chosen to highlight Black Female Filmmakers in the media industry. Unfortunately, we are still working to break down barriers within the industry to have our voices, craft, and artistry represented equally and equitably amongst our non-Black, non-female peers.
To kick off this series, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Brittney Janae, a Cali creative with midwestern roots on her journey in the industry thus far, and tips/tricks for other aspiring Black female filmmakers.
How long have you been in the industry and what made you want to go into this field?
I’ve been in the industry professionally for about 5 years. After I moved to LA and made my first check as an editor is when I could say, “I’m a professional.” I got into it because I loved it! I had been shooting photography and started developing a creative eye visually since college. I’ve always been a creative, but it was finding that “thing” that was for me. I fell in love with the camera once I saw how I could show life through my lens in a visually stunning way. And with video, it was like ‘oh photo is already amazing so now I can have those frames and memories and art last longer.’ I love it!
Have you ever dealt with imposter syndrome in this industry? If so, how did you overcome that?
Of course! When I first started off I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Even when I had people telling me I was good, I always felt that I wasn’t because I didn’t go to school for this and I didn’t have the learned techniques. I thought being self taught could only get me so far. I would see other videos and photos and feel inadequate. That people would find out I was going on YouTube to learn! I also use to say I knew I could do it and just learn after. But I learned how to overcome by staying a student in my craft! I knew I had it in me but that comparison game was strong. Once I stop comparing my walk with others it helped me out a lot. I went through a lot of hardships when I moved to LA, which only confirmed that I was doing exactly what the Lord intended for me. So I believed in myself more! ” I continued to learn knowing that this is my purpose! I won’t be one of the greats but I would have fulfilled a purpose!
What would you identify as your most successful moment up to this point in your career?
My most successful moment up to this point in my career was when I decided to go full freelance. It was liberating! It made me trust in myself more, grind more, and have more faith! I didn’t have that crutch to fall on. It was “Do you believe that God will prosper you on His own in what He’s called you to do?” It was scary, but when I look back, it was the best decision I ever made! It allowed me time to develop my gift and to identify what God was doing in my life and be able to wholeheartedly seek it!
How would you describe your artistic style?
My artistic style is very clean. I like focusing on the individual and the stories I tell rather than the effects. I love negative space. I just like for it to look clean but creative. My style is also very commercial. I’m not into music videos so it’s a mixture of film and commercial if that makes sense.
Do you have a film bucket list?
I want to make dope travel videos, I want to shoot at least 1 short film in my time and I would love to win an Emmy.
What would you say to other Black female creatives wanting to break into the industry?
Hmmm.. there is a lot to say but first to just develop their style. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Not to follow the trends but to learn what makes them unique. Find their niche and run with it! Also, not to compare themselves! Everyone had to start somewhere!
Why do you feel is it important to have our voices represented in this industry?
I feel it’s important to have our voices represented because it’s real. You can’t tell stories without Black women. Black women have been creating forever! It’s in our blood so to tell stories without our perspective would be false representation of life! Without our creativity, life would be so bland. Don’t take everything about who we are and what we create but silence us at the same time. It’s time for Black women to speak for themselves whether it’s through film, art, or business.
How can we find you? (website/social media handles)