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13: A Conversation With-EPS 13 – Tanya Kersey – Filmmaker’s Success Mentor

In this episode of "A Conversation With," my special guest is Tanya Kersey Filmmaker's Success Mentor helping indie filmmakers get their films financed, seen & sold so they can make a living doing what they love! And she is also the Creator of the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Tanya and I discussed her journey as a filmmaker and how she got started in the film industry; Why.

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About Tanya Kersey

First, let me say that while filmmaking is an art, the reality is you can be talented, smart, skilled, have great ideas, a unique story to tell, a strong script, a great vision, and it's still not enough.

You can be trying everything and still be stuck not making it.

My life has been a fascinating ride. But before I let you in on the details, I have something for you that’s much more important. In fact, it may change the course of your career.

Tal­ent is a dime a dozen in Hol­ly­wood, and there are tens of thou­sands of film­mak­ers out there try­ing to do exactly what you’re try­ing to do. So you’ve got to bring more to the table. Much more!

I’ve always been about empowering, educating, inspiring, and motivating aspiring, beginning, and veteran Hollywood professionals to be the best version of themselves.

My belief is that people aren’t manifesting their Hollywood dreams because they don’t have all the information they need to make the right decisions, go in the right direction, and make the right moves.

My calling and my passion have always been to serve by sharing information and knowledge.

I think I have a rather unique perspective on the entertainment industry based on my working in “the business” and wearing many hats since I started modeling at the age of 5.

I’ve been an actress, model, entertainment journalist, radio host/producer, film critic, author, and speaker — to a film festival director, career coach and consultant. Yes! I’ve pretty much seen it all.

Following an uneventful career as a working NYC actress and model, I wrote a book for people who were looking to break into show business. The book went on to become a “Bible” for Hollywood hopefuls.

I followed that up by founding, Black Talent News, a Hollywood industry trade publication that I ran for 10 years. I started BTN, as it was affectionately called, to fill a gap because I saw that African Americans weren’t reading the mainstream trades (mostly because they didn’t print information pertinent to their careers) and therefore they were at a disadvantage when it came to being aware of all of the opportunities that existed.

My goal was to fill that gap and provide the career information and industry knowledge that would put my audience on a more even playing field. My mantra was, and still is, “information and knowledge are power.”

Then 15 years ago I founded the Hollywood Black Film Festival, which is now recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prestigious film festivals. Running a film festival has given me a pretty good grasp on the careers of filmmakers and the business of filmmaking.

I have had the good fortune to meet and work with a great number of wonderfully talented and exciting filmmakers. In total, I’ve helped discover and launch the careers of nearly 1,000 independent filmmakers from 25 countries.

Each year during submission time, I have had the benefit of seeing literally thousands of shorts, features, documentaries and student films pour into the festival office from all over the world.

In the festival’s early years, I quickly realized that a great majority of the filmmakers entering their films were making deadly mistakes in all sorts of areas — from storytelling, casting choices and editing — to sound, lighting and overall production value.

Submit Your Short Film: The Film Collective

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