Women On A Mission: "Shivawn" Screenwriter, Filmmaker, Creative

757shivawn.JPG

Shivawn is a wanderlust, visual storyteller, research junkie. Who loves meeting other creatives, family, a good book, the sun, sea and hot tea. 

Philanthropy, social conscience, and creativity are key themes in Shivawn's life and career. The Virginia native and graduate of Norfolk State and Wilkes University (MFA in Screenwriting) wants to be remembered as a woman who left her mark. She’s the author of the book entitled Rewrite Your Story, founder of The Creative Outsiders and currently is in post-production with her short documentary, Lifting Crowns.

Her passion lies in encouraging other women to expand their platforms by motivating them to harness and execute their visions. She has developed and helped to implement the visual brand and identity of many women-owned businesses. Most recently Shivawn has worked as an assistant director and script supervisor on several award-winning projects for the production company Kweli Legacy.

Let's dive into Shivawns story today as she shares her journey, obstables shes overcome, advice for you and much more. 

WHAT HAS YOUR JOURNEY LOOKED LIKE TO DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR FILM-MAKING? 

It's been full of pivots, trial and error, jumping out the window, faith and the courage to try again on the next day. I've always been in love with writing and how it has the ability to connect you to a world or a person you never would have encountered. So I like to think that I took all of me and meshed it together to stand tall on the platform of storytelling. I started out as a journal writer at a very young age and that stuck with me. Then transitioned to my natural ability of helping other and obtained my undergraduate degree in counseling. Only to feel like something was missing from my life but I couldn't put my finger on it. I just knew I wanted to do more with the gifts that were inside of me. That's when I decided to go after my Masters in Screenwriting. That experience of being the only woman in screenwriting program pushed me to make sure that I equipped myself as a filmmaker so that I could help those who may desire to be storytellers as well. From their I pushed fear behind me and reached out to a production company and asked could I work on their set and the rest is really history.

WHAT IS YOUR MISSION FOR WHAT YOU DO? 

Connecting the dots for women storytellers. Showing you it's possible to live your filmmaking dreams. Pushing hope through film. 

THE CREATIVE OUTSIDERS IS A NEWER PROJECT FOR YOU, TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS? 

It really came to life from my experience at school. I loved the school I attended and the experience I had but I often felt like an outsider. As I mentioned earlier, I and my friend CJ were the only women in the filmmaking program (for our cohort). She ended up leaving the program and I was left to make it happened solo. I started The Creative Outsiders with the intent of showing other women that you can be a filmmaker. We are shown that we can be a doctor, lawyer, teacher and even the president but no one has shown us consistently that we can tell stories through film. So I just want to be light that shines, encourages  and promotes women in film and that's what The Creative Outsiders is all about. 

YOU RECENTLY LAUNCHED A PODCAST WITH THE CREATIVE OUTSIDERS, WHAT IS THE WHOLE WHY AND GOAL OF THIS PROJECT? 

The Podcast is an extension of The Creative Outsiders. I'm always a fan of picking people's brain and having great conversations so I thought why not connect women who aspire to be filmmakers with women who are already working in the industry through candid conversations about their journey as filmmakers. The goal is to connect aspiring filmmakers with the tools they need that they wouldn't normally have access to through these conversations.

HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY NAVIGATE WORKING YOUR DAY JOB AND PURSUING YOUR DREAMS ON THE SIDE? DO YOU HAVE A SECRET SAUCE TIP YOU CAN SHARE?

I would have to say one "secret sauce tip" would be expect to sacrifice (and I don't mean team no sleep). There are plenty of shows or even opportunities that I may have to hang out with my friends and I have to say no, because I've promised myself that I was going to invest a certain amount of time towards TCO each day. You really have to get honest with yourself to see if you are really committed to your dream or cause. If you are it makes it a lot easier to sacrifice. But I do believe in a healthy balance, sometimes you need to say today I'm taking the day off to hang or even just do nothing. You can't produce if you are tired from your 9 to 5 and the dream.

I would also say another tip would be give yourself some grace. Don't compare yourself to people on social media who are running a business with no 9 to 5. They have more time to devote to their business than you do at the moment. But if you are intentional in everything you do in regards to your business I promise you it'll match their efforts over time. 

WHAT DOES WOMEN EMPOWERMENT LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

It's simple, reaching back and helping those who are heading in the direction you've already gone. If you have the key to success in a certain area unlock the door for the next person. We have to get rid of this fear of thinking that someone can take your spot. What's for you is for you!

DO YOU HAVE ANY ENCOURAGING WORDS, ADVICE, TIPS FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE CURRENTLY DEALING WITH FEELINGS OF I'M NOT ANYWHERE CLOSE TO WHERE I WANT TO BE IN LIFE YET?

To be honest I deal with this off and on. People will come to me and say you've accomplished so much I'm so happy for you and I'll I can think is this isn't where I want to be at 36. But, I've learned these lessons. 

Feelings aren't facts. I had to stop allowing my feelings to dictate how my day, week, month or year was going to be. Choose every single day to get up and work towards your dreams. 

Failure is a moment it isn't the end. Get up dust yourself off and try again. My greatest failures have directed me exactly to creating TCO. 

Grace, Grace, Grace. Show yourself some grace. I'm learning to be a lot kinder to myself. 

Finally Do something consistently. 

FOR OTHER ASPIRING FILMMAKERS, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THEM?

Pick up the camera, the pen etc and just go film. Stop waiting for the perfect time, stop waiting for someone to green light you, stop thinking your art has to be perfect. Just go try, create, grow, create, try and before you know it you'll have something to show. 

HOW CAN PEOPLE STAY CONNECTED WITH YOU?

We hope all of you got something out of today's woman on a mission feature with Shivawn. We believe sharing your story is a powerful thing, so don't be afraid to share yours. Your story can set someone free, ignite hearts and change the world around you. Be encouraged sisters, we are all in this together. 

- Brittney Andreesen