As someone who has continually surfed the net for opportunities to share my writing, it is really easy to get worked up over submission deadlines and the chance to be discovered. Recently HBO offered a similar opportunity to the desperately seeking Susans like me, but what looked like my hoped for and sort of dreaded chance was met with a glaring error message. A 404 ERROR to be exact. This computer glitch came as a direct result of the overwhelming numbers of women of color who were the selected flavor of the month for the HBO submission contest. BGN then shared a wonderfully written piece by DesireeBowie which illuminated a lot of the reasons for the crash and burn of the HBO opportunity. She also shed light on how much mentorship and guidance is needed in order to navigate the stormy waters of the entertainment system. Remember it’s not just an industry but a well-oiled systemic institution.
Being a self-proclaimed “Nerd” since the age of 9 and heavily influenced by The Matrix, I thought if we can shut down the system from within why not “unplug” and shut it down from without? Who is to say that these arbitrary contests are the only way to highlight talent from certain communities? Why not hold our own mini submission platform where creatives can get some feedback and tips for breaking into the industry or producing their own media. A handful of mostly men control and run the world’s media so it only makes sense that the masses of the people—especially those that share a multiverse of similar interests—begin to come together and form creative communities.
I propose an open submission opportunity that could be scheduled some time in the spring or early summer, aptly named 404 ERROR and geared towards women of color writers across genres. The requirements for entry are a keen interest in sharing your work with others in the community and a desire to receive feedback from your peers. This contest is not about monetary prizes, inking a deal or getting an agent. It’s a way for us to support one another and possibly work together to make someone’s dream project a reality in a multitude of platforms. It could be possible for BGN to ask some of the wonderful media participants in the BGN podcasts to be judges after the submissions are whittled down to a final ten or so. We can always hash out the specific details later, but I feel strongly that independent effort goes hand and hand with justified demands for representation.
I am not sure if you’re familiar with HitRecord, but it’s a digital artistic community in which people contribute to each other’s works and some are selected for real world production. I am not saying that this is something we could pull off now but it does illustrate that others are thinking along the same lines. The final “winner” could get a chance to create a trailer or maybe even an online comic book of their idea. I really don’t know what could be the final form of this project but that’s what makes it worth trying. Joseph Gordon Levitt is not the only creative to actively work against the grain; there is Issa Rae, Justin Simien(Dearwhitepeople) and Andrea Lewis (Black Actress). While all four chose a variety of topics and issues the one thing they all have in common is that they began with was an idea and then built the platform around that concept in order to bring their vision to life. Independence appears to be the only way to establish opportunities for a previously untried and unseen creative endeavor to be manifested. And if you don’t believe that then riddle me this:
Why do we keep waiting?
We are all well aware that waiting for the powers that be will bring more frustration and a whole lot of nothing.
Contact me here if you are a fellow writer/producer/artist/conceptualist who is interested in fostering an independent platform and who believes being a true patron of the arts for ALL people.
Allegra Geller is a pop culture enthusiast, a lover of books and an over qualified hipster. She is currently writing her second screenplay and living the fantasy of a radical critic. In the words of Christy Mark: Writer, have written, I am writing, will write. “Life is an experiment. We are the test. No one fails.” For more observations from the edge follow her on twitter @bakingurnoodle
Featured image from designshack.net