Community//

David Bianchi of Exertion Films: “Learn to embrace failure”

As I mentioned before I have been producing Spinema films for 15 years. These films were always created to bring about social change. Most recently my project “I Can’t Breathe”, a film about the pain of being black in America after the death of George Floyd, was minted as the world’s first-ever award-winning spoken word […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

As I mentioned before I have been producing Spinema films for 15 years. These films were always created to bring about social change. Most recently my project “I Can’t Breathe”, a film about the pain of being black in America after the death of George Floyd, was minted as the world’s first-ever award-winning spoken word film NFT. We were able to auction it for five Ethereum ($10,500 at the time of this writing).

I am donating all the proceeds to the George Floyd memorial foundation to bring money to the civil rights movement where it can affect the most possible change. This is only the beginning of what I will do in the NFT space as it relates to spoken word films and charitable giving. The NFT space has opened up a whole new world for me as an Artist and Activist and I am excited for what will continue to develop in the digital space.


As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing David Bianchi.

David is an Actor, Filmmaker, and globally known spoken word poet. As an actor, David is a member of the Television Academy, has over 100 film and TV credits from major studio films, and across a wide variety of television shows. Currently, he can be seen recurring in Season 4 of Netflix’s Queen of The South and Ruthless on BET. As a filmmaker, David is the founder of Exertion Films and the creator of Spinema. Spinema is a unique art form of spinning cinema through spoken word. David produces these high-concept poetic films to speak to relevant societal issues.


Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

I’ve been an actor for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would improvise TV commercials for on the swing set. I did a lot of community and high school theater and eventually went to Arizona State University to get my BFA in theater and film.

I got my SAG card doing extra work back in 2004. For many years I did extra work eventually booking my first commercials and landing a small agency. It was very hard. I was in the service industry in Los Angeles for over 15 years working jobs as a waiter and bartender, doing everything I could to stay as close to film and TV as possible.

I started producing short films back in 2005, my first being a spoken word poetry experimental film called Soldier. Since then, I have produced a library of the spoken word films that I now call Spinema (spinning cinema through spoken word). All of these films have a socially conscious undertone and speak to relevant societal issues. Many of these films are critically acclaimed and have played film festivals worldwide.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

I produced a movie called “All Out Dysfunktion!” starring myself, Rene Rosado, Geraldine Viswanathan, and many more (Gravitas Ventures / Apple TV). I was the writer, producer and one of the leads of the film. It’s definitely interesting that as independent filmmakers we have to wear multiple hats.

We were shooting 96 pages in 11 days. For anyone that knows film, they know that that is a lot to take on. We were on day four and I only had enough money to get us through day six. This means while producing and playing the lead I was constantly on the phone raising money to get us through days seven and beyond. Otherwise, the entire movie would have fell apart.

If that wasn’t enough, we were shooting in Santa Clarita in the peak of August, it was hot! Passion will drive you to do anything, even if it comes down to working 29 hours straight with no sleep and having to haul 20-pound trash bags leaking water and spillage from set from a 10-foot cube truck into the trunk of a car to drive to a dumpster and get ready for the next day. This is just a glimpse of what it was like on that set, but we got it done.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

When I was working on Westworld I did scene work with Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright. Working in a scene with an Oscar winner and a Golden Globe winner was nerve-racking to say the least, but the biggest lesson I learned is that when you’re on set, regardless of who you’re working with, if you have your focus with you, it’s just actors doing a scene. Both Anthony and Jeffrey made me feel very comfortable. That was a pivotal moment in my career.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m very excited about my upcoming feature film Catalyst, directed by Emmy nominee Christopher Folkens. We are currently in post-production. It is an escape room-style suspense thriller with a twist of sci-fi. The film touches on a variety of important social issues including police violence, molestation in the Catholic Church, xenophobia and race relations in America as well as the poisons of the human ego. It’s a powerful film that I am certain will awaken minds and also affect change.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I don’t have any specific person in general. I am inspired by a variety of people that overcome difficulty and evoke change in the world despite obstacles, there are far too many to count or list here. To list one would make me feel uneasy about the many others.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

As I mentioned before I have been producing Spinema films for 15 years. These films were always created to bring about social change. Most recently my project “I Can’t Breathe”, a film about the pain of being black in America after the death of George Floyd, was minted as the world’s first-ever award-winning spoken word film NFT. We were able to auction it for five Ethereum ($10,500 at the time of this writing).

I am donating all the proceeds to the George Floyd memorial foundation to bring money to the civil rights movement where it can affect the most possible change. This is only the beginning of what I will do in the NFT space as it relates to spoken word films and charitable giving. The NFT space has opened up a whole new world for me as an Artist and Activist and I am excited for what will continue to develop in the digital space.

I was also recently commissioned by Unidos US, one of the largest Latino Progress organizations in Washington DC, to write and produce a spoken word film about the Latino struggle and progress in America. It was broadcast during the ChangeMakers US Summit just last month.

I also recently won Best Short Film at Award This! By Film Threat Magazine for my film “Wade in the Water”. In addition to performing and writing this piece about the fear and reality of being black in America, I also directed it. This project is very personal to me as it is inspired by the old negro spiritual song by the same name. It had been a dream of mine for over a decade to evoke this song in a poetic form. It has gotten almost 40,000 views so far on YouTube and is bringing major awareness to the American syndrome of police brutality.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

I first got involved in social activism back in 2005, I was looking at CNN.com and the breaking news was Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had broken up. Buried beneath that headline in ten-point type read fourteen more soldiers had died in Falluja.

It disgusted me that mainstream media was more focused on pop-culture news than actual issues that affect lives and families. It was a breaking point for me because it felt backwards. I knew I had a platform as a poet at the local open mic’s, so I wrote my first activist piece called “Soldier”. That told a story of what it might be like to lose a comrade in your arms in battle. That poem became my first spoken word film. That film would gain critical acclaim and go on to win a bevy of film festivals worldwide. Since then, I never turned back.

Spoken word is the response to the underlying issue and is the emotional side effect of injustice for me. Unlike other poets I have pushed to take my work to the next level to evoke change.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I directed a feature-length documentary during the Bush administration called “Outspoken”. It took me four years to complete. A large portion of the film is candid interviews with parents that had lost children in the American occupation of Iraq. This film became very personal to me. I was able to offer amplification to the voiceless and offer healing to some families and expose the pain that military families suffer, as well as veteran and familial PTSD. On some level, all my work affects people and offers healing or raises questions about why we are in the social struggles we are in. I am grateful to provide a canvas for that and open up talking points.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Look at my work, follow it and share it. If you are in the NFT space, you can purchase tokens of the work to support the cause. That is the best that I could say and find your own causes to work and fight for.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Learn to stay out of your own way. As artists and creators, we are often our own biggest enemies, and we create the biggest obstacles inside of ourselves. We have to learn to put the fears aside and create.

Trust the process. Everything that we achieve has a process, some long, some short. Stop focusing on the destination and focus on the work.

Learn to embrace failure. Every time you fail it’s teaching you how to be better the next time around. Failure is the best teacher.

Surround yourself with people that celebrate you and your work because there will be times where you’ll need to be uplifted when your heart is feeling heavy.

Do your best to help people because you’ll need help many times along the way.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Making an impact while we are here is incredibly important. No matter what we amass while we’re here, we can’t take any of it with us. Eventually, we will all leave this planet. What we’ve done while we’re here is truly the only thing that we can leave. What is the legacy that you can leave behind.

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

There isn’t any specific person that I would dream to collaborate with. I spent a lot of time dreaming to collaborate with people, and sometimes you meet those people and energetically they suck! So, I’m interested and perpetuating my work to allow in the universe to tell me who I should be collaborating with.

I spent too many years of my life seeking “what I thought” was supposed to be the answer, when God always gave me what it was supposed to be. So, for any creators that do read this, if the universe wills that we work together it will be so.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

This is a quote that I wrote. “The distance between greatness and mediocrity is your perception.” Anyone great began being great the moment they believed it. Not once they reaped the public rewards of it. Greatness is an inside module that has to be nourished and listened to. If you think you suck, you’re going to suck! So, either way you’re right. Change your perception of who you are and know that you have what it takes to be as great as you see yourself being!

How can our readers follow you online?

https://www.instagram.com/davidbianchi_official/
https://rarible.com/davidbianchi
https://davidbianchi.actor/
https://www.youtube.com/davidbianchi

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!


    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Andy Alekhin of SnarkArt: “Communicate ”

    by Fotis Georgiadis
    Community//

    Ali Sabet: “Focus on your art and stay true to who you are as an artist”

    by Fotis Georgiadis
    Community//

    Ali Sabet of The Suite: “Map out who the key players are in the space”

    by Fotis Georgiadis
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.