Writer’s Corner is a place to get to know outstanding writers, talk about the craft of writing, career advice, share horror stories and find out more about compelling films, television shows, plays, etc. There’s so much great content out there being made by female creators, we should all be keeping an eye on these women.
Today we are featuring Felicia Pride.
In just one year, Felicia Pride, cultural journalist turned author turned screenwriter achieved a career trifecta: Charles D. King’s MACRO (Fences, Mudbound) picked up her first feature film (Really Love, 2019), she sold a television pilot and in October, she a writer on Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar which airs on OWN. And last month, Pride launched “Honey Chile,” a consumer facing digital brand of her production company, Felix & Annie, aimed at Gen X women — and though she’s got over 15+ years in the writing game, it’s clear that Felicia’s rising star is next up to shine.
Popularly known among creatives as the founder and voice of The Create Daily, a resource for underrepresented creators, Felicia Pride is a thought-leader among creative content creators. From VIBE to NYC’s book publishing scene to her short film The End Again, Felicia has proven to be one to watch. Tapped by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ communications team for her writing, she also worked with the mogul on the hit FOX show, THE FOUR and has become an in-demand speaker at events nationwide, including SXSW, TEDx, Film Independent Forum and AFI Docs.
After a break from the writer’s life spent running her marketing consultancy focused on expanding audiences for impactful media projects, Felicia returned to her first love rejuvenated and with a fresh approach to storytelling, earning her a highly coveted spot in Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab (2016) followed by NBC’s Writers on the Verge program (2017). She chronicles her journey from a creative rut to creative zone in a chapter series (and course!) she penned titled The Creative Comeback.
Felicia, tell us how you got started in the business? Is writing something you always wanted to do?
I got my start as a writer around ‘01 when I was writing for a community newspaper. I remember that my first piece was a review of the Mary J. Blige album, No More Drama. I really had no idea how to review music at the time, but I remember seeing my byline in print and it was a wrap for me. I knew I wanted to be a writer. I eventually went to graduate school and studied writing at Emerson College. I went on to write a few books. Then I caught the screenwriting bug and realized for me it married the economics of journalism with the imagination of fiction and I was hooked. I moved to Los Angeles in 2015 to pursue writing for film and television. I started working in film distribution because I had been running a consultancy dedicated to marketing and outreach for books, film, and other media projects. So I was writing before and after work. I was accepted to the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab which was such a wonderful experience and helped to remind me of why I moved to LA in the first place. I continued writing and building my portfolio and eventually was selected for NBC Writers on the Verge program which really helped me transition into television.
While, I’m not one of those who knew from a child I wanted to write, over the years writing was my way to understand and articulate the world around me. And these days, I feel a compelling, but joyful obligation to tell these stories that are gnawing at me, that center people of color in refreshing ways, and that are authentic to my voice.
Tell me about The Create Daily? What is it? What inspired you to create it?
The Create Daily is a free service I started in 2012 to help my fellow creatives, especially creatives of color, create daily, literally. I curate and send one opportunity a day via email. Everything from fellowships to grants to residencies. At the time, I felt like trying to create is difficult enough and it’s hard for us to stay on top of opportunities that help us to finish and share our projects with the world. Over the years, I’ve sent hundreds of opportunities and it’s always great to hear when a subscriber secured an opportunity that they heard about in The Create Daily. I recently transitioned the daily email into a weekly email that still offers a roundup of cool creative opportunities in addition to me sharing more of my personal journey and the lessons I’m learning along the way.
Writers often get asked where we get our ideas. I always like to rephrase that question as; how do you choose what to write next?
Such a great question. I try to establish my must-write projects for the entire year. That decision is made by what’s pulling on me, the market, and fitting into a writing schedule! But even within that slate of projects, I try to leave room for projects that pop up and move me and make themselves priorities. I’m in a space now, having gone through a seven year creative rut, where there’s an urgency to my work in that there is a long, long list of projects that I want to write and create. So my goal is to keep moving down this list for years to come.
In terms of where my ideas come from, I definitely pull from my own life and experiences, but I try to do so in unexpected ways. I’m also a big fan of book adaptations, especially since I worked in the publishing world for several years.
The Creative Comeback sounds like something every writer might need to know about. Tell us how the course works.
Oh thanks. There was a span of like seven years when I wasn’t writing. I felt like I was doing everything but writing. So when I moved to LA four years ago, it wasn’t just about breaking into the industry, but also getting back to my writer self. It was a really, really arduous journey. I didn’t realize how much fear and conditioning I had allowed to seep into my psyche. It took a lot of self-work, and work-work to get back to my creative self. And because of that, I wanted to document the steps I took to get there. So, I created The Creative Comeback for others who may be creatively stuck like I was, but also for myself so I never get back to that space of fear again. I call it a resource more than a course because it serves as a guide and personal account of my comeback to help people forge their own. It can be done in your own time in your own way.
Tell us about a lesson you learned the hard way. Anything from career, to craft, to business.
The biggest mistake I felt I made was I stopped writing. And I did it because writing was no longer financially sustaining me. What I should have done was get a job, but keep writing. In the end, I stopped writing for about seven years and it was really hard to get back to writing and a healthy relationship with the work. So now I don’t force writing to financial support me and funny enough, once I did that, it started to financially support me again. I prioritize writing and I protect my relationship with the work.
Would you say there’s a common theme around your body of work? Maybe a type of story you find yourself wanting to tell?
I tend to write a lot about the American dream and how characters push up against, remix, or reject it. I think that has a lot to do with my own challenges with being a creator and having a nontraditional career.
I loved watching your TEDx Talk. Can you talk about how you ended up giving a TEDx Talk and what you feel you learned or got out of that experience yourself?
Thank you! The organizers wanted their event to be about the theme storytelling. I was doing a lot of work around storytelling at the time and they found me. It was a pleasure to mesh my thoughts around the power of storytelling with a personal connection. That experience really affirmed the power in my story.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a new feature that is based in Baltimore (where I’m from) and is inspired by my family. I’m so excited about it! I’m also building my production company Felix & Annie, which is named after my parents, and will create dope film, TV, digital, and book projects aimed at Gen Xers.
Where can we support you? What’s your website, where can we buy your stuff?
What are your social media handles?