In this exclusive interview you can learn more about, Bridgett Michele Lawrence, the writer and director of the web series “The Value of Ex”.
About the web series creator: Though she currently resides in Los Angeles, Bridgett Michele Lawrence is a proud native of Brooklyn, New York. Bridgett graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned her BFA in Film & TV Production and Screenwriting. She is an award winning screenwriter, whose original television pilot, The Value of Ex, won 1st place in the Organization of Black Screenwriters’ Original Script Competition in 2009. After taking meetings with executives at the CW and Overbrook Entertainment, Bridgett decided to take the creative power into her own hands by producing and directing the pilot herself as a web series. Since releasing The Value of Ex in the spring of 2014, the show has been an official selection for the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), London’s Raindance Web Festival, and the Hollyweb Festival. Season one of The Value of Ex can currently be watched on Youtube and other platforms. Bridgett recently finished production on season two, which she is eager to premiere in 2017. Bridgett is passionate about creating universal stories that uplift women of color, feature diverse talent, and speak to the heart, mind, and spirit.
For anyone who hasn’t watched the series yet could you tell us more about “The Value of the Ex”?
The Value of Ex follows the misadventures of a group of friends as they struggle to navigate the murky waters between breaking up and moving on. In season one, we were introduced to Brynne, the analytical math teacher who finds herself torn between her past and her future when her ex fiancé pops back up in her life just months before she is about to marry her new fiancé, Tyler, the feisty, successful corporate diva who loses her cool when she discovers that she has lost her promotion to her ex, Jessica, the sassy, down on her luck physical therapist who becomes roomies with her pro baller ex after getting evicted, and Angela, the relationship therapist who is apparently so good at her job that even her ex husband comes to her for advice. Season two finds our heroines getting further involved with their old flames, thus complicating their personal and professional lives and leaving them to question, what is the value of my ex?
What is “The Value of the Ex”?
The Value of Ex is about determining the value of people and relationships. The women in the show have to determine whether or not these men add any value to their lives and whether or not these relationships are worth salvaging. The Value of Ex is also about recognizing the lessons learned from a relationship or a break up. There can still be value in the experience even if the relationship is not salvageable. In that case there is value in every ex whether the relationship last or not.
All the ladies in the series seem to not be over their ex, why is that?
Well, if they were all over their exes then I wouldn’t have a show. Lol! But seriously, I think everyone has someone from their past who they got caught up on and it took them a little while to move on from. I think the concept is very relatable and I wanted to tell that story. Each of the characters is struggling to move on for different reasons. Brynne is torn between the life she thought she was going to have with her ex Chris and the future she wants to have with her new fiancé Michael. Although she is moving on, it seems that she still held on to hope for Chris and has some unresolved issues and needs closure. Unfortunately, interacting with Chris causes her to realize that she may still have feelings for him. With Jessica and Antonio, it’s all about the passion between them. She basically still has the hots for him. Angela is struggling because she can’t understand why her ex husband is seeking her advice to help his new relationship and didn’t heed her advice when they were married. And Tyler is the super independent woman who claims to not need anyone or anything, but her ex Terry is the only man she has ever been vulnerable with.They are connected by their mutual love of power and enjoy challenging and competing with one another although Tyler would never admit it.
What is the biggest message you want people to get from the series?
The biggest message is the importance of evaluating the value of the people in our lives, not just in romantic relationships, but the value of all relationships. Obviously the show is about romantic relationships, but I think the principle can be applied in all areas of life. Only allow people in your life that add value to your life and who value you. If they don’t, appreciate and accept the lessons learned and move on.
What was the largest obstacle you faced creating the series?
I think the first obstacle was believing that I could actually produce the show myself. There is a lot of fear and doubt that comes with endeavoring to produce your own show and bring your own vision to life. You worry whether or not you have all the skills that it takes, whether you have enough resources, and you worry about how your product will be received and if you will find an audience. So the first obstacle to overcome is the voice in your head that says you can’t get it done. After you quiet that voice, the next largest obstacle is figuring out how to stretch your resources and make the best product you can with a limited budget.
What advice or tips would you give to aspiring media makers?
Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more experienced than you. On my team, I had a good friend who had already produced several web series. So she was a valuable resource to help guide me through the process of being a first time producer. Also, equally as important as surrounding yourself with experienced people, is surrounding yourself with people who truly believe in your vision and want to see it come to pass. In the case of most independent productions, people are getting paid little or nothing, so having people on your team who are there for the love of the project is essential. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Filmmaking is such a cooperative effort that you need to be able to ask for favors in order to get the job done. The only way low budget productions can succeed is by people coming together, working towards a common goal to make it happen.
How do you think we as people of color can build diversity in media?
I think it’s important for us to come together and make sure that our stories get told. It’s essential for us to help one another get our visions out. Pooling resources is key. We can’t operate as islands unto ourselves. We need each other. Diversity will grow in media if more of our stories are told and more of us are working behind the scenes. The only way that will happen is if we help each other.
What can we expect next from you and your team?
Season two of The Value of Ex will be coming out in 2017! I am so excited for the audience to see the stories of these ex couples unfold. Season one was only the tip of the iceberg and in season two we dive deeper into their relationships with quite a few twists, turns, and surprises! Season two is going to be so awesome! I can’t wait for the world to see it!