Hello Baratunde, or should I say Hello Botnet, #1?
My name is Okorie Johnson and I’m a filmmaker (said in AA cadence). And no, we don’t know each other. However, we have very similar stories – at least up to a point.
I was born to African-American parents in DC in 74; I have a Nigerian first name, a Tanzania middle name and an English last name – Okorie Andwele Johnson; I went to Landon School for boys in MD, a Prep school in the IAC, (you might remember us as the jock school that routinely thrashed you guys in most sports – I played the cello, primarily, so I take no pride in that); and I have, for much of my life, been explaining Blackness to my White and Black friends and colleagues – although not nearly as wryly as you have in your instructive “How to” manual. The similarities kind of end there, other than the fact that I am in the process of birthing my own piece of literature, visual literature known to most as film, and I’d love to talk with you about it.
Some things to get out of the way:
I am not a “filmmaker” who talks about making his story but does nothing about it. I have been in development with my script for a year with other film grads who have been helping get this narrative-ship air-tight. I have a Tony award nominated attachment for the lead. The script has been “broken down” essentially scheduled and budgeted, an important step for this process, and I have shot a Pitch Video for the film which can be seen here: http://youtu.be/5Fh_8Mcjcdo.
I am raising money for the project right now, and I am NOT, repeat – am NOT, interested in pitching you as an investor (slowly remove your right index finger from the delete button, this email comes in peace). I have that part of the project lined up, and I am executing my plan, so far, successfully.
However, I am interested in talking with you, more out of a collegial exchange, about the script and what it is attempting to do – which I think is quite complementary to what you have accomplished with your book.
While the Pitch Video can be a bit ambitious and serious, the film I have written is more 500 days of Summer, than Boys in the Hood – More Annie Hall than Do the Right Thing. Kind of a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets High Fidelity meets Away We Go meets Mo’ Betta Blues, written by a young Kaufman. Can you see it?
Anyway, I felt a need to connect with you as I was reading your book. I feel like we are brother’s in the struggle to complicate Blackness as you say, and I’d like to meet you on my way up the ladder of success if possible. If not, I hope or paths cross when I am on that side with you.
Thanks for your work.
Keep it light – fun and insightful. I hope to hear from you.
Happily, from the intersection of disparate worlds