Here at Kimmie’s Corner, we try to shine a light on people we feel are making a name for themselves in their chosen industry. Today, the first in what we hope will be a long series of interviews, we managed to get the talented B. Danielle Wakins (click her name for the official biography) to answer a few questions for us. Not only is she an author, screenwriter, and filmmaker, but she has a degree in Psychology which immediately made her a kindred spirit to me. Beyond her outstanding abilities, I found a strong, independent woman, a fighter through her medium and an advocate for those who cannot speak, or be heard. She’s kind, a pleasure to talk to and frankly someone the entertainment industry needs to have more of. She’s unafraid to touch on topics most run from. She speaks her mind through her medium and from the few hours I got to know her, her drives proves she’s only just begun.
KC: Thank you for taking a minute to answer a few questions from us. Starting off, where did the idea for 3030 come from?
B. Danielle Watkins: One night my best friend (and co-star) Serrita and I were just talking about all the crazy things that happened over our 16-year friendship, and she said to me I should create a show. I was hesitant at first, because who really wants their life just laid out on the screen (this was before I made my film “her HER” which is my love life verbatim). I looked at everything out, and of all the black lesbian web series, none of them were funny. It was all heavy, and dramatic, with a touch of soap opera, and I said: “naw man, we got to put something different out”. Then boom “30 is the new 30” was created, and eventually shortened to “3030”.
KC: You wear a significant number of hats with this project. Is there one job you like better than the others?
B. Danielle Watkins: Yikes, that is such a loaded question. I love writing, and writing “3030” is such a joy because there are moments I am re-living from years ago and I am able to laugh and elaborate and make things better or worse than what they really were. On the other hand, when I get on set and I put on my famous Tyler wig it is fun to pretend. So I would say it is 50/50 between writing and acting, producing is not in the running because it is stressful!
KC: Still thinking of 3030, what has been the most rewarding, most challenging and biggest blooper thus far?
B. Danielle Watkins: The most rewarding moment thus far had to be the excitement and the happiness of the cast when our season 2 episode 1 premiered at the 2018 OutWeb Fest. For the majority of them, they’d never been on a red carpet before, or even at a film festival. I was so happy for them, everything I do is for them, so when they finally saw themselves on the big screen for the first time and the audience LOVED it, they were tickled pink. I loved every moment.
The most challenging is, and will always be the finances prior to filming. As a producer, it sucks monkey balls, but we always make it in the final hour!
Our biggest blooper, we have many. We are a bunch of silly, not focuses, unprofessional actors! There are times on set where our director is so annoyed, and we cannot get it together. That’s a part of our ability to show genuine connection on screen, because of the significant behind the scenes relationships. I will never be able to pinpoint a blooper because it is all comedy!
KC: Changing gears a bit, you are the first African-American woman to star, produce and write an original Revry Series. Do you see the landscape of the entertainment world changing where there are no more “firsts” and more equality across the board?
B. Danielle Watkins: No, unfortunately, I do not. There are so many more doors to be kicked down, and yes there is a rise in the black filmmaker, but in every rise, there is pushback, and with every door opened three more are closed. I am blessed to have more than one “first” under my belt as a queer African-American woman, uber blessed, but I would be lying if I said I thought it stopped here.
KC: You mention that you don’t see the industry changing – what would you like to see and how can we the viewing community help make that happen?
B. Danielle Watkins: I would truly like to see the LGBT/ African American community to taken seriously and shown without filters. Yes there are dabbles here and there, but shows like “3030” do not exist in mainstream media and it is for several reasons, and the largest reason being lack of acceptance. We live in our own comfort bubbles which create a pseudo sense of acceptance and security, and the reality is society isn’t truly ready and mainstream is geared toward safety rather than reality.
KC: You seem to push the envelope of conversation with your projects or actions. Your short film Choice refers to the difficulties of an abortion, responsibilities and financial strain. You continue to work with Gay Girls Rock getting the LGBTQ+ community to take action to better the world. What inspires you to take on these “taboo” topics?
B. Danielle Watkins: When dealing with “taboo” I love it. I tackle religion, abortion, abuse, anything that makes people think. We live in a world where so much is exposed and at the same time so much is covered up. I am so about that in your face creation. I love to write about things that cause reactions from people, or even film movies where there will be an unforgettable uncomfortable moment. These stories need to be told just as much as the love stories, and the other stories that people flock to. “Choice” has garnered some of the most elicit reactions from an audience yet. The abortion scene itself is jarring. The film itself makes you think far beyond the surface idealism of “pro-life” or “pro-choice” it blurs the line between the two.
KC: Since this is Kimmie’s Corner, we have to ask – are you a #fangirl or #gamergirl? If so, what games or shows do you follow?
B. Danielle Watkins: So, the way my life is set up I am behind on EVERYTHING! LOL, the only show that I watch is EMPIRE and that is only because I have been in love with Jussie Smollett since he was in the first Mighty Ducks movie, and I follow him like a crazed teenager. Only man I would ever marry LOL. As far as gaming does old-school Super Mario Bros. count??
KC: Super Mario Bros always counts in our book! Are there any future projects or appearances you want the world to know about?
B. Danielle Watkins: I am currently in the season of “3030” we are preparing to finish out the filming of season 2 with hopes of a late fall release, so that is all I see right now. lol. The next 2 months will be nothing but “3030”, no traveling, no other productions nothing. Post “3030” I am working on a film entitled “Don’t Tell Nobody” which is a true story which I converted to a short film about a young girl who attempts to commit suicide on the eve of her 14th birthday due to the sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. I am also in the midst of producing a visual album entitled “About That: True Tales of a Benevolent Heart with an Undecided Fate” based on monologues I’ve written, which is a pretty large project. Finally, I am also producing, directing, and writing a documentary entitled “In Case of an Emergency” which deals with mental health in the queer black community. I think that is it…I am not sure…
KC: How can we get in touch with you, follow you, tweet or Instagram?
B. Danielle Watkins: I have almost every social media outlet there is, almost, not all.
Twitter and Instagram: @blacbutterflii
Facebook, Youtube, IMDb, and LinkedIn: B. Danielle Watkins
and of course my website www.BDanielleWatkins.com
Many thanks to B. Danielle Watkins for taking the time to answer our questions. Make sure you check out her social media platforms to stay on top of all of her projects. In the meantime, head on over to Revry and watch 3030.
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