Karlton Clay, the brains behind the web series “Lovers Lane“, “Lyon’s Den“, and “Karma“, chatted with us in an exclusive interview. Clay shared his inspiration, and what motivates him to create content with a message.
What was the inspiration behind creating the web series “Lovers Lane”?
To be honest, my inspiration to creating “Lovers Lane” was the actors that are involved. I met Kevin J. Stone, Ashley V. Bagley, Nelson J. Davis, and Ernest jam separately on Facebook. I checked them out and I loved what they were doing, and I told each of them I want to do a show and I want each of you to be involved. I don’t know how we’re going to do this, but we’re going to make it happen. I live in Augusta, GA, Kevin, Ashley, and Nelson live in different parts of North Carolina and Ernest lives in Miami. I met Javetta Williams at Lizz Goins-Turner’s Playwrights Gala, and I told her that I wanted to work with her on something. Same with TJ Swann. I met Nicole Crump while I was doing a play at a festival in Chicago, and I was a fan of hers. And of course, I wanted my friend Shatareia Stokes to be apart of this project. Felicia Renee began as an understudy but she then became apart of the cast same with Gianna Singleton and Eric Martinez. So I definitely have to say my desire to work with these great group of people is what inspired me to create “Lovers Lane.”
The church plays a large part in the show what made you decide to make that the center of the series?
My relationship with Jesus Christ is a vital and important part of my life. Without Him, I would not be where I am today. As far as the church, I wanted to really give a transparent look into what happens when you have people in place that are in leadership for the wrong reasons. Some people are more concerned about their positions in the church rather than their relationship with Christ. I’m all about giving the real in my productions, and it’s no different when I do subjects about what’s going on in some of today’s churches. That’s no shade against church. There are a lot of churches that are making a difference and an impact, but there are a lot who are not because their focus is on themselves instead of Christ.
The series showcases a number of serious issues that people deal with in a relationship such as: trust, infidelity, and abuse. What is the largest positive message you want people to gain from the series?
And a lot of the characters are married so I really wanted to give you a look into how marriages these days aren’t respected or sacred or honored like they used to be. People look at marriage as “something to do.” It’s obviously is so much more than that. The message I want people to get when it comes to marriage is that it is something serious and you should not go into it lightly. Also, I want people to understand the importance of friendships. A lot of people take their friends for granted especially those friends that truly stay down for you no matter what.
What tips can you provide for aspiring media makers?
Make sure you surround yourself with people who really truly understand your vision and want to help you with that vision. Everyone is not going to get it, and you can’t expect everyone to, but you can’t let that stop you.
Make sure you are organized and well-prepared. Everything starts at the top. If you as the leader of your cast and crew aren’t sure about what’s going on or aren’t prepared, then, your cast and crew are not going to cooperate with you and that just makes for a very frustrating situation.
Be flexible. Yes, it’s important to have everything planned out, but go in knowing that things are not going to always go like you want it. It may rain on you while filming. One of your actors/actresses may not show up. You may get kicked out of a location. (All of this has happened to be by the way) You have to be prepared to have other options to move the project forward especially if you are on a time crunch.
Have fun. Enjoy the moment. Yes, it can be stressful but at the same time, it should be fun because it’s something you love to do because it’s your passion.
Being a media maker of color how has digital media been a game changer?
It has changed my life so much. It has helped get my name and my work out there. The fact that I am able to get what I want to say and my message out there through my content is liberating. Digital media has definitely connected me with great people. I’m hoping that the big wigs of the television networks will see what I’m doing through digital media and allow me the opportunity to get my message out there via television as well.
You also have created other web series like “Lyons Den” and “Karma”. What other projects can we look forward to seeing from you next?
Yes, The “Lyons Den” will be returning for its 7th season next year, and the third season of “Karma” is airing right now. “Lovers Lane” returns for its 2nd season in January. My new action web series will premiere closer to the end of this year. And I may be producing 2 more web series. We’ll see what happens. And I will definitely be writing and producing a new play next year. It will have been 5 years next year since I’ve done a play. I’m hoping to tour this all across the U.S. (Putting it out there for anyone who can help with that… LOL!)