We have another exclusive interview for you. This week we’ve done a special Q & A with the creators of “Lena Street Ladies”, LeeAnn I. Chisolm & Mercedes McIntosh.
What inspired you to create “Lena Street Ladies”?
(LC) Life inspired Lena Street Ladies! LOL Mercedes and I were living in a house on Lena Street in Atlanta, GA, and we went through some pretty interesting experiences, to say the least. We felt there was a void of stories like ours in the media. While there was The Game and eventually Single Ladies that premiered around the time of our debut, we wanted to see modern stories about college-aged, people of color. So we developed our own.
(MM) There was definitely some real life inspiration. We were on our own for the first time. Away from parents, away from campus so we were bound to find ourselves in crazy situations and awkward moments galore. It was kind of therapeutic to turn that into art/entertainment.
The show deals with serious issues that women face. Why did you two decide to target such controversial issues?
(MM) Presenting these stories in a webseries really allowed us to tell the truth with no filter. These are both struggles and triumphs women- all people, really- go through everyday. There’s no controversy in that. I’m proud as well that it’s so relatable.
What was your biggest struggle creating this series?
(LC) Filmmaking itself is a challenge lol. Going into the production of LSL, I had no idea I wanted to be a filmmaker. I was a writer and journalist with video production experience but not a “filmmaker” yet. It was in the writing, the casting, the crewing, the fundraising, the wardrobing, the sound design, etc. that I truly feel in love with the entire process. And Lena Street Ladies came together almost divinely. We knew what we wanted, what we wanted it to look like, and we made it happen. We risked everything, invested everything, relied on favors, learned by doing, networked, pulled out all the stops really but it was never hard. The sleepless nights weren’t exactly joyous but they were all worth it. The struggle came after. Promotion and distribution is an integral part of production that as a filmmaker, isn’t really your artform. I wish I knew then what I know now, but I am so grateful for platforms like ClredContent giving more creators a voice and something to stand on.
(MM) Co-signing all of that. Marketing/promotion is difficult in that it seems so easy in the age of social media. Yes it’s easy to send a tweet, but you still have to be calculated to rise above the noise and reach your niche.
Being a media maker of color, how has digital media been a game changer?
(MM) Digital media creates more opportunities to be heard, to be seen, and to learn. I believe experience is the greatest teacher & with this platform you get immediate feedback. You know what resonates with people and what could use some work because your audience is right there in the comment section. And they will be honest lol. I also agree that it has lead to more diversity in traditional media. It’s put the mainstream on notice that we have a multitude of stories to tell and people are interested.
If there is one message you would like people to gain from the series what would it be?
(LC) We’re all going through something but it doesn’t make us any less great, deserving, or fabulous. We wanted our audience to see characters that looked like them going through real issues, to be inspired by their fellowship and ability to overcome hardship.
What advice can you give to aspiring media makers?
(LC) Never doubt your creativity. I believe our stories are given to us, along with our passions. They’re bigger than us. So don’t get caught up in the technicalities of it all that it deters you from creating. Share it anyway and grow from your vulnerability. Finally, remember that art is not a competition or a race to the finish line. We create because we were born to not because we want to win. Trust your journey, challenge yourself but don’t rush the creative process. There is room for us all at the top.
(MM) Don’t censor yourself. When you’re brainstorming or working on that first draft, don’t hold back. It’s easy to put up a mental block due to fear of being offensive or just creating something that’s bigger than your budget. Remember you can tone it down later if needed, but just let it flow in the beginning.
What can fans look forward to seeing from you next?
(LC) More poignant, timely stories about complex and real characters. I guess that sums it up. Our production company, Thor Entertainment Group has recently evolved into Lena Street Productions. With that, we are continuing to be bold in our storytelling and to push the envelope in our subject matter and delivery. We will be releasing a few short film projects within the next year as well as hopefully introducing our audience to the features we’ve been working on for the past two years. A lot of content to be announced, so we hope our audience is ready!
Lena Street Ladies
The award-winning web series, Lena Street Ladies is a fictional tale that has most recently been tagged a new age A Different World with a Girlfriend’s twist. The series centers around four college roommates at Atlanta State University who must learn to live with and love one another while dealing with their inner demons, relationships, and the typical pressures of growing up.