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Life Beyond The Lens

Life Beyond The Lens

By Kenneth R. Nelson Jr.

Filmmakers! It's time to stop waiting for a "YES" from industry gatekeepers and create your own opportunities!!


The Life Beyond The Lens Podcast aims to shift the traditional filmmaker mindset. Each week guests from the film industry share candid stories and applicable strategies they used to strengthen their mindset, develop emotional well-being and create opportunities for themselves and others in the film industry.

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#19 There Is No Finish Line - Thomas L. Harris

Life Beyond The Lens

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#34 The Power of Chasing Your Vision - Ken "Legend" Williams
Today's episode is powerful. I got my brother Ken Williams on the podcast talking about his new film, Asbury Park. This movie has a star-studded cast and a powerful message. Ken and I go into detail about the journey to make this film a reality. He drops a lot of wisdom for filmmakers to learn and apply!!  Ken breaks down:  How he was able to cast 6 celebrities in his first feature film.  The power of sticking to his vision. How he waiting 20 years to make a feature, and why?  I learned a ton in this episode and it inspired me as well. This is a must-listen!!! Subscribe, review and share!  Follow Ken Here:  FB: Ken Williams  Watch Asbury Park --> Asbury Park Movie 
01:06:21
February 26, 2021
RECAP: The One Thing That Kills Your Dreams
In this recap, we go back to episode #25 with Al Martin.  We discuss the one thing that stops people from pursuing their dreams. This is a big one because many people stop pursuing their dreams too quickly. WHY? Check out this recap!  Subscribe, review and share the podcast.  Listen to the full episode ---> #25 - Al Martin  
06:32
February 23, 2021
#33 The Entrepreneurial Filmmaker Mindset - Edwin Walker
The indie filmmaking landscape has become increasingly difficult for indie filmmakers to make money with their films alone. Many indie-filmmakers still have a traditional mindset, which doesn't work anymore. Filmmakers must understand marketing, budgeting, fundraising, audience building, product creation, and much more.  I'm excited to sit down with the Creative Activist of Art & Storytelling, and Chicago native, Edwin Walker. Edwin is an entrepreneurial filmmaker who has found creative ways to monetize his films, even during the pandemic, not only for himself but for other filmmakers and artists. Edwin is a producer of a film, Caged Birds which he helped raise $250,000 to produce. He also started a creative space, called Colour Reserve which is a collective space that does pop-up events and cultural exchange ideas for the community and artists. Edwin's mission as a creative activist of art and storytelling is to truly build an independent creative community in Chicago and curate and facilitate experiences that showcase the evolution of black people. Enjoy this episode and take notes. Remember to subscribe and review the podcast.  Follow Edwin:  IG: @theedwinwalker, @iamemicheaux IG: @edclusiveent FB: @EdwinWalker Sponsors:  Ungrateful Novel: ON SALE HERE  Watch Sincerely, Brenda: AVAILABLE HERE
01:05:04
February 19, 2021
#32 LIVE EPISODE: with the filmmakers of In A Sentimental Mood
In my first ever LIVE episode, I sit down with the Detroit filmmakers, actors, and producers behind the new film, In A Sentimental Mood on Facebook Live. We talk about the stories behind the making of the film, the meaning of the film and so much more. Check out this podcast and order the film below:  Watch the film: www.vimeo.com/ondemand/moodmovie Follow the Team:  Zachary Cunningham:  IG: @z.c.cunninggham FB: @mythreeinitials  Deborah Lane Spencer:  FB: @debbie.spencer.921 IG: @deborahslane Don Snipes:  FB: @don.snipes.7 IG: @don_snipes Charles Kennedy:  FB: @ckennedyjr IG: @ckennedyjr
01:17:35
February 12, 2021
#31 How to Develop an Opportunity Mindset - Dellguan Coleman
Your  Mindset can be your greatest asset or your worst liability. In this episode, I sit down with Filmmaker and Entrepreneur, Dellguan Coleman. Dellguan is from Memphis, TN and his story is inspiring to say the least. He didn’t let getting shot and serving time in prison stop him. After being released from prison, he built multiple businesses. His film business, Movie Go, is only a year old and has been a success. Movie Go gives indie filmmakers a platform to make a profit and get their films seen. He's built a couture clothing line, as well as a lawn care company that creates profitable opportunities for the youth and ex-convicts. This is an informative and fascinating conversation. We talk about: * Marketing your Film * Growing a business * How to find your niche audience Grab your pen and paper and get ready to learn!
01:00:12
January 28, 2021
#30 The Power of Betting on Yourself as a Filmmaker - Anthony Cuffie
In this episode, I sit down with self-taught Detroit filmmaker, Anthony Cuffie. Anthony has been making waves in the film industry from being a finalist in an Ava Duvernay/Array sponsored screenwriting competition, to completing a fan tribute short film using original music about the legendary singer, Donny Hathaway. In this interview, Anthony discusses how he learned the craft of filmmaking, what he learned from film mentors, his creative process and why it's so important to understand story structure as a filmmaker. We also discuss his highly anticipated short film, DHATH, and his inspiration behind the project. This is an exciting and inspiring episode you don't want to miss!! Watch the DHATH Teaser: https://youtu.be/XUz9gsqty_w Watch the SELFISH short film: https://youtu.be/AyVDD6uwSQI Follow Anthony: FB: https://www.facebook.com/anthony.cuffie IG: https://www.instagram.com/cuffiefilms/
48:08
January 21, 2021
#29 Filmmaker Learns How to Invest in Stocks During The Pandemic
Eugene Wilson, Filmmaker, and owner of 5th Media, a film and video production company, was hit hard during 2020. At the beginning of 2020, Eugene was preparing for his best year yet when the pandemic hit. He lost all of his projects and was sitting at home wondering how he would survive. At the suggestion of one of his closest friends, Eugene decided to venture into stock market trading and investing. He focused all his energy on learning the stock market and now he's created another revenue stream and second business in less than a year. Check out this episode to learn how Eugene became a stock market investor and how it's making him a better filmmaker! Remember, subscribe & rate the podcast. Follow Eugene here: IG: https://www.instagram.com/5thmediallc/ IG: https://www.instagram.com/5thinvestmentsllc/ FB: https://www.facebook.com/eugene.wilson.56
36:10
January 12, 2021
#28 How I Got 70k TikTok Followers in 9 months - Latisha Thomas
In the final episode of 2020, I sit down with actress and model, Latisha Thomas. Latisha has had a great 2020 despite the pandemic. She started a TikTok account in March 2020 to promote her first series, I Vow, and has built a following of over 70k in nine months! In this episode, we talk about how she built her following so quickly; her role in my film, I Vow; and how she successfully juggles her family and rising acting career. Remember, subscribe & rate the podcast.  Follow Latisha Here: IG: @luvlylatisha  FB: @LatishaThomas TikTok: @luvly_latisha 
39:16
December 30, 2020
#27 How to Maximize Productivity as an Indie Filmmaker - David Williams & Mia Francois
This episode is for my aspiring producers and directors!! David Williams (Writer/Director/Actor) and Mia Francois (Executive Producer) stopped by the show to talk about their new YouTube web series, Little David. After raising $35K, David and Mia shot this 5-episode series in 5 days in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was their first time creating a series and it's being compared to HBO's Insecure. During our conversation, Mia shared how they successfully shot their series on a tight budget and schedule! Tune in to find out how they maximized every resource at their disposal to pull this off! Remember, subscribe & rate the podcast Watch Little David Here: LITTLE DAVID SERIES Instagram - @littledavidshow Facebook - The Little David Show David Williams: @adavidwilliamsfilm Mia Francois: @siocnarf_aim
41:20
December 16, 2020
#26 Writer's Block Is A Lie - Eunice Smith
This episode is for my writers!! If you're stuck staring at a blank page, this episode is a game changer! Eunice Smith is the founder of The Writers Smith Writers Lab. She shares: 1) Why writers block is a myth 2) How changing your mindset, will unlock your inner genius 3) Why writing is more scientific than creative 4) The 2 reasons why you're not writing and how to fix that. Get ready to take notes and learn from the gems. Remember, subscribe & rate the podcast. Follow Eunice Here: IG: @script_sister IG: @thewordsmithwriterslab Facebook https://www.facebook.com/scriptsister https://www.facebook.com/thewordsmithwriterslab
44:52
December 10, 2020
#25 Obsessed with Greatness - Al Martin
This episode is nothing short of a shot of positivity, inspiration and motivation!! I've got actor and WKAR's Current Sports TV and radio personality, Al Martin back on the show. Al first appeared in episode 2 of Life Beyond The Lens to discuss his role of Rashad in my film, I Vow. Al has since gone on to appear in 3 films and currently booked for many more projects in 2021! This guy is one of THE MOST positive individuals I know and he is sharing why staying positive, consistently executing and being obsessed with your dream is so crucial to your success! Get ready to be energized!  Follow Al:  IG: @__almartin  Twitter: @AlMartinWKAR Facebook: @Al Martin  Watch him in the film I Vow: https://bit.ly/IVowSeries
01:34:36
December 3, 2020
#24 Reassure My Soul | Chadwick "Niles" Phillips
This week’s guest is my good friend and musician Chadwick “Niles” Phillips. Chadwick found great success when he left Michigan and moved to New York in 2007. Chad worked for BET, CBS and NYC Fashion Week. Plus he was on a major label called "Koch Records", but one day decided to leave it all behind and do things HIS WAY! This is his story!  Subscribe and Share the Podcast!  Follow Chadwick:  Website: www.theavantgardeis.com IG: @nilesgotyou Facebook: Chadwick "Niles" Phillips Twitter: @Avantgardeis
01:07:33
November 26, 2020
#23 Action over Excuses | Kyria Williams, Trey Williams & Derrick Mullen
If you are married, in a relationship that's headed for marriage or desire to be married, you definitely want to listen to this week’s episode.  Filmmakers, Kyria Williams, Trey Williams and Derrick Mullen talk about their successful new film, A New Husband For Christmas, which is taking social media by storm!  The film is about the challenges couples face in marriage and how to overcome them through the word of God. This episode is full of wisdom and tools to overcome any insecurities, low self-esteem issues or any other challenges that may be destroying your relationships and keeping you from fulfilling your purpose as an artist!  Get ready to learn. You will be inspired! Watch A New Husband For Christmas: https://amzn.to/3oOwaPx Follow the filmmakers:  Tre & Kyria  IG: @kmwproductionsllc IG: @kyria.williams FB: KMW Productions, LLC  Follow Derrick  IG: @mullengroup
01:01:07
November 19, 2020
#22 An Unyielding Passion - Kalpana Kumar
This week's guest is the inspiring Kalpana Kumar.  She is an up-and-coming writer/director, originally from India, now living in Kalamazoo, MI.  Kalpana had a successful acting career in India when she was younger, but had no experience as a filmmaker prior to 2019 . After a 30-year hiatus from acting,  she still had a passion for storytelling. With the encouragement of her husband and two sons, Kalpana decided to go after filmmaking and completed a year-long crash course in 2019. In one year, Kalpana went from having no experience as a filmmaker to making an internationally acclaimed and award-winning film called Lakshmi - Untold Truths. The film explores unseen struggles faced by Indian women and can be seen on YouTube.  This conversation was very enlightening! The key message is that it's never too late to go after your dream! Sit back and enjoy this episode!  Follow Kalpana here:  IG: @kalpanakumarfilms YT: Venus Rising Productions  Subscribe and Rate the podcast!! 
43:45
November 12, 2020
#21 Turning On Delight - Carolyn Harrison & Tabitha Matthews
The guests on this week’s episode  are nothing short of a divine connection. Carolyn Harrison, Founder and Executive Producer of Good Light Productions, and Tabitha Matthews, Artistic Director of Good Light Productions, are a powerful duo. Their newest project, Penny's Kids, is a play adapted from a book written by Tabitha's mother and aunts. Tabitha adapted the book into a stage play which tackles the tough topic of growing up with a mother with mental illness. On this episode, Carolyn and Tabitha discuss the inspiration for the play,  and they open up about the challenges they’ve had to overcome to continue creating art at a high level. If you are an artist struggling to move forward and create, you don't want to miss this powerful episode!!! Register to see the virtual play, Penny's Kids here: https://goodlightproduction.veeps.com/ For more information about Good Light Productions visit their website: https://www.goodlightproductions.com/ Follow Carolyn Here:  IG: @winsomecarolyn  FB: @CarolynHarrison   Follow Tabitha Here:  IG: @tmatthews5  FB: @TabithaFaith If you like this show, remember to leave us a rating or review. Thank you!
44:01
November 5, 2020
#20 This Is How I Breathe - Bobby Huntley
Today’s guest is Bobby Huntley, the Atlanta-based director, writer, producer and editor, who’s quickly becoming that director you can’t wait to work with.  Bobby is widely known for creating viral trailers like N. E. Heartbreak: The New Edition Story; “Auntie” which is based on his reimagining of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air; and most recently, “ Corona Man: Stay Home”, a Candyman inspired trailer based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Bobby has also written and directed various short films and other projects that have been well received by viewers as well as his peers in the industry. He recently premiered a short film, titled, TNC, which he describes as an eternally immersive experience. I’m so honored to have Bobby on the show. He’s a brilliant filmmaker, but more importantly, a great person.  Relax and enjoy our conversation about dealing with successes and failures in the industry; how to find the right team; and how he bounced back after opportunities fell through with his New Edition Heartbreak project.  Follow Bobby Here:  IG: @bhuntleyfilms FB: @Bobby Huntley  Website: bobbyhuntleyfilms.com
58:48
October 29, 2020
#19 There Is No Finish Line - Thomas L. Harris
Tune in to learn from Thomas L. Harris of Mula Films,  a  dynamic actor, writer and director. He most recently directed the hugely successful films, Birthday Behavior and The Mule. He also stars in one of the top independently streamed series on Amazon Prime Video, Mcgraw Ave. Thomas shares how he got started in the business, Mula Films' growing success and how they broke through the tough times to become one of the top indie film production companies in the country! If you like this show, remember to leave us a rating or review. It really helps. Thank you!  Follow Thomas L Harris Here:   IG: https://www.instagram.com/thomaslharris/  FB: https://www.facebook.com/thomascofounder.harris
59:16
October 22, 2020
#18 A Second Chance - Paris Jones
In this episode I sit down with Actor/Producer Paris Jones. We talk about his acting training at the famous Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute , his beginning as a filmmaker, and his battle with cancer and how he's overcoming his diagnosis.  Follow Paris Here:  https://www.facebook.com/paris.jones http://www.paris-films.com/
56:18
October 13, 2020
#17 Meeting Boone Film: w/ Paige Alston, Deborah Lane Spencer & Sean Vaughn
This is a powerful and special podcast!! I invited Paige Alston back onto the podcast to talk about her new film, Meeting Boone and the their fundraiser. Paige also brought, Actor/Producer, Sean Vaughn and Actress, Deborah Lane Spencer on the show to talk about what it took to get the film made.   To support the Meeting Boone Fundraiser please visit:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/meeting-boone-crime-drama-feature-film?fbclid=IwAR2S_p7tc0bQmIUqxgeIGFKKv6VKf_G-psxrCsmpTpSillkKUd7Ggzdhp9Y#/
58:54
September 26, 2020
#16 A Change of Heart - Daniel Knudsen
In this episode I sit down with Director and Actor, Daniel Knudsen. Daniel, along with his family started, Crystal Creek Media, a film production company that creates films that address culturally relevant topics from a Christian worldview. Daniel has directed features such as Creed of Gold, Christmas Coupon and most recently, Sky Dog. A film he's also starring in alongside former Superman actor, Dean Cain.  Follow Daniel here:  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/happydanielmark His Films:  Watch the trailer for Sky Dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqeya1Kz5Fw Watch his films here: https://tubitv.com/search/daniel%20knudsen
51:55
September 18, 2020
#15 In A Sentimental Mood - Zachary C. Cunningham
In this episode, I sit back down with Filmmaker and now Author, Zachary Cunningham to discuss his very first feature film, "In A Sentimental Mood" and his new book of poetry, Finding Light ( A Quarantine Handbook). We get into the weeds and discuss some topics very close to Zach's heart about how he's grown as a man, and how he's been dealing with loss during COVID-19.  You can buy Zach's new book here:  http://www.misfittedacademics.com/shop/findinglight Follow Zach here:  FB: https://www.facebook.com/mythreeinitials IG: https://www.instagram.com/z.c.cunningham/
01:30:47
September 10, 2020
#14 An Act of Providence - Rockey & Janaya Black
In this episode, I caught up with filmmakers, Rockey & Janaya Black, a dynamic husband and wife duo. We discuss their newest feature film, Turn of The Cheek, how they've balanced their marriage, being parents and successful filmmakers over the years. They also share the hilarious story of how they met!   Their new film, "Turn of the Cheek", premieres on Vimeo this Saturday, August 29th at 8pm! Pre-order now:  bit.ly/tocvimeo  Their company, Black-Smith Enterprises, is your one-stop shop for the very best in entertainment, events, marketing and promotions! Check them out at www.black-smithenterprises.com.   Be sure to check out the teasers for their  current and upcoming projects:  Warrior Pride- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSJDHYPH5e8  My Sister's Keeper- https://youtu.be/FrCYmNmYBy0  Someone To Watch Over Me- http://youtu.be/xDoH4Lhq7Ho
56:14
August 28, 2020
#13 Not Business As Usual - Shawntay Dalon
In this episode, I sit down with the amazing Three time, “For Your Emmy® Consideration" actress, Shawntay Dalon of Comedy Central's "Detroiters”, Netflix's "I Think You Should Leave", and recently Freeform's award-winning show "Good Trouble”. We talk about her beginnings as an artist, her activism, how she got the role on Detroiters and her inspiring conversation with Denzel Washington. Listen and share! Follow Shawntay: IG: @itsshawntaydalon FB: @Shawntay Dalon Watch Forbidden Here: https://amzn.to/2FKqNPt Detroiters: https://amzn.to/2FKeH92 Good Trouble: https://hulu.tv/3giOz1F
01:56:18
August 21, 2020
#12 Black Fatherhood - Keith Tate
In this special episode, I sit down with Keith Tate, the author of a book called, "Black Fatherhood: My First Two Years with Kai". Keith is not a filmmaker, but I decided to bring him on because his book inspired me as a new father. Being a father is a huge part of my life beyond the lens, so I definitely wanted to share this resource with other filmmakers who are also fathers or thinking about becoming a father. Check it out!   Buy Keith’s book here:  http://yeskeithtate.com/shop  Follow Keith Here:   IG: @keithtate  FB: @KeithTate
48:50
August 14, 2020
#11 A Spirit of Excellence - Timashion Visionaire Jones
In this episode, I sit down with my good friend, filmmaker and Emmy Award Winner, Timashion Visionaire Jones. We discuss his documentary, "Africa: Through the Eyes of a Visionaire", his earlier film work, and how his engineering background helped him become a better filmmaker. This podcast is full of gems for aspiring filmmakers.  Enjoy!  Follow Timashion: IG: @timashiontv  FaceBook: @timashion Film & Documentary Work:  Africa Through The Eyes of A Visionaire | Trailer: https://bit.ly/3a108Zz Cody High on Prime Video: https://amzn.to/33tDacz A Love That Hurts: https://amzn.to/3keOi2J Life in Osborn: https://amzn.to/3ftt2Tn Website:  http://www.tbopmedia.com/
01:40:20
August 5, 2020
#10 God Moves - Paige Alston
In this episode, I sit down with Detroit writer, producer and director, Paige Alston, to talk about her upcoming film, Meeting Boone. We also discuss how her faith in God has influenced her journey as a filmmaker, especially in the making of her current film, Chasing After You, which is now available on Amazon Prime Video and Tubi Tv.  Follow Page here:  IG: @paypaige  IG @meetingboonefilm FB: @push.paige  
01:23:57
July 21, 2020
#09 No Regrets - Rico Bruce Wade
In this episode, I sit down with the great actor, writer, producer and comic Rico Bruce Wade. We talk about his days writing and performing at the Second City Detroit, his love-hate relationship with comedy, his role as Charles in my film Sincerely, Brenda and much much more!!  Follow Rico Here:  FB: @RicoShow http://ricoshow.com/
01:04:00
July 15, 2020
#08 Rebel With A Cause - Michael McCallum
In this episode, I sit down with Lansing’s own Michael McCallum, a filmmaker with over 30 films under his belt. His films have won 187 major awards with over 200 nominations. Besides being a prolific filmmaker, actor, writer, Michael is a great person and very active and supportive in the Lansing film community. He’s always quick to support other filmmakers in various ways. I enjoyed our conversation which ranges from geeking out over classic films, psychoanalysis of characters and actors, our philosophy on directing and much more!!! Find Michael and watch his work here:  http://www.rebelpictures.net/ Follow Michael:  FB:@MichaelMcCallum IG: @rebel_pictures78
01:22:51
July 8, 2020
#07 In Search of Peace - Emory Lawrence
In this episode, I caught up with Detroit actor, Emory Lawrence. We go deep in this episode and talk about his sobriety, childhood trauma, how he discovered acting, his non-profit for young men called, "Teach 1 Reach 2" and much more!  IG: @emory_law
01:09:06
July 1, 2020
#06 In God's Timing - Jezar Riches
In this episode, I speak with writer, actor, director and producer, Jezar Riches. We discuss:  1. Crazy Faith  2. The Ups and Downs of Creativity  3. The Power of A Supportive Spouse And much more.....follow & support Jezar below:  Instagram: @jezarriches Facebook: www.facebook.com/jezarriches Youtube: www.youtube.com/jezarriches Youtube: www.youtube.com/boxyroxy HALT: The Motion Picture  https://www.amazon.com/Halt-Motion-Picture-Chazmar-Hall/dp/B07NXW9J2G REVERSE SERIES:  https://vimeo.com/store/ondemand/rent/242130?fbclid=IwAR0MSKF2Gx26k7qOG4m-CG9YJ8YjU8_FCnH8aRCmTxN-mcG6NBO7D64IK9M
01:12:02
June 24, 2020
#05 Just Because You're Black - A. Jevon Ward
Get ready for this important episode. Ken Nelson speaks with filmmaker A. Jevon Ward about: 1) The Murder of George Floyd 2) The stress of being black in America 3) Divorce & Importance of therapy in marriage 4) Black men and therapy and much more.
54:08
June 17, 2020
#04 The Long Game | Part 2 - Zach Cunningham & Charles Kennedy Jr.
The conversation with Zachary Cunningham and Charles Kennedy Jr. continues. We talk content distribution strategy, why I am so hard on myself regarding my work, building an audience, building a brand and so much more!!! 
46:14
May 23, 2020
#03 The Long Game | Part 1 - Zach Cunningham & Charles Kennedy Jr.
In this episode, I sit down with Zachary Cunningham and Charles Kennedy, Jr., both award-winning filmmakers out of Detroit, MI. We get very personal about why we create films, the downside of filmmaking, surrounding yourself with the right people and so much more. This convo was so in depth and personal, we had to do it in two parts. Enjoy!!  Follow Zach:  IG: @zachary.cunningham  FB: @ZacharyCornell Cunningham Follow Charles:  IG: @ckennedyjr  FB: @ckennedyjr
01:07:59
May 23, 2020
#02 From Faith to Faith - Deborah Lane Spencer, Latisha Thomas & Al Martin
In this episode I sit down with the stars of the hot web series, I Vow. We talk about acting, what drives them, failures and successes and much more!!   Watch I Vow here:  https://bit.ly/ivowseries Deborah Lane Spencer FB: @DeborahLaneSpencer IG: @deborahslane Al Martin FB: @AlMartin  IG: @al3spn   Latisha Thomas  IG: @luvlatisha FB: @Luvlylatisha TikTok: @luvly_latisha
46:45
May 23, 2020
#01 Scratching The Surface - Introduction
In the first episode of Life Behind The Lens, Ken Nelson discusses the reasons that inspired this podcast and his inspiration for his award-winning film, Sincerely, Brenda. 
15:52
April 14, 2020