The film and television industries are powerhouses, which require individuals, who are more than capable of performing in that power. As with other industries, our persona and character are consistently tested. Such industries take no prisoners. Yet, through perseverance, courage, wit, and a steady pace to match, one is likely to overcome, and direct, any obstacles coming through one’s way.
It’s a process. There are steps. Many, in fact! However, when it comes to television and film, one has to ask oneself this question: Are we mirroring our realities, through the world of fiction? Are the fields of television and film a platform (and mirror) as to how we are walking in our daily journeys? What if reality was the fiction, and movies were the reality? Of course, there is more time to discuss that. Yet, working in these industries-from top down to bottom up-has its way of getting you to bring your own form of wellness, to the table.
For one successful television and film producer, working in the industries of film and television become less complicated, if you simply be, YOU! She has worked on, and produced, some of the most popular television shows and films in modern history. Major television networks have had the pleasure of showcasing the products of her craft! Shall we go further? An interview with one power woman, gives is insight into her personal story, recent book, and what it takes in making it in this business, while staying healthy-mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually!
Lauren K. Clark: You have come a long way from working in the television industry to being in the publishing one. Talk to us about transition, and how it has removed you from your comfort zone.
Erika Bryant: Adding “author” to my repertoire has always been an aspiration of mine. During the pandemic, last year, I had finally had enough quiet time and space to sit down and allow the book to write me. I’ve made career transitions or pivots in the past, but this time was much more personal, as I would be opening up my life for the world to see. All in all I took my own advice and pushed forward, while Doing It Scared.
Lauren K. Clark: At what point in your life did you know that you would be working in the film and television industry? Kindly share with us about some of your most important projects. How did they shape you and challenge you? What were some of your pitfalls and failures? Most importantly, how did you build yourself back up, again?
Erika Bryant: I attended CAU (Clark Atlanta University) and majored in Television/Radio/Film. So I always intended to work in the entertainment world-however. I wasn’t sure in what capacity. After nearly a decade in the music business, I started all over again in the TV/Film realm as a PA (production assistant), and that’s where my life of freelance, began. I worked initially with Tyler Perry, then moved to LA to work on a host of shows over the next 13 years. I cut my teeth in this business on America’s Next Top Model, The Pussycat Doll Show; then went on to produce shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Undercover Boss, Housewives Of Atlanta, Family Or Fiancé, Ready To Love, Married To Medicine, and The Real World. Working on such a variety of shows really allowed me to blossom, and eventually become an Executive Producer and Showrunner. Any challenges that I faced, I used to grow and become a better version of myself. So, I honestly don’t count them as failures. The fact that I continued forward is a success in my mind. Of course, there were moments of doubt and fear, but knowing that God hadn’t brought me to that point to leave me is what kept me-and trusting that my story wasn’t yet complete was a beacon of hope.
“I pray and meditate, daily. I work out and make it a point to have fun, regularly. I also have an incredible support system, which is so important to maintain balance. As for boundaries, I’m very honest with people around me and make sure, that I put myself my No. 1 priority. I figure that if I’m not at my best, then I have very little to offer others.”Erika Bryant
Lauren K. Clark: If you could take a mental rewind back to when you received your most important, mentorship talk, what would it be? How did it change your life for the better? How does this mentor continue to influence you now?
Erika Bryant: Sadly, I really didn’t have a mentor in this business. God and my angels were my guides, through it all. For that reason, I make it a point to be a teacher to all, and a mentor, as well. I want to be sure to pass along any gems, that I wished someone had given me on my journey.
Lauren K. Clark: Working in a fast-paced industry, such as television has its challenges. What are your personal mental wellness remedies? How do you take time out for you? Most importantly, how do you create boundaries?
Erika Bryant: I pray and meditate, daily. I work out and make it a point to have fun, regularly. I also have an incredible support system, which is so important to maintain balance. As for boundaries, I’m very honest with people around me and make sure, that I put myself my No. 1 priority. I figure if I’m not at my best, then I have very little to offer others.
Lauren K. Clark: Television requires a wealth of information. Sometimes, adults have to return to childhoods domain. (i.e. childhood games, activities, and so forth) What is that like for you? Also, how does it bring calmness to your day?
Erika Bryant: In my line of work I don’t delve into a childlike domain. However, I do take time to sit and imagine. . .it’s a lost art and something that we practiced often as children, but tend to lose sight of it, as we become adults. I find it to be liberating and calming, as it allows me to paint the canvas, the life in the way I please-which in essence is the key to manifesting the life we desire.
Lauren K. Clark: Your book, Doing It Scared addresses the concept of fear. People are scared to pursue and go after their dreams. Would you kindly speak to us about your personal fears, and how they almost caused you not to take certain chances. How did you overcome that fear or anxiety?
Erika Bryant: One of my biggest fears, I realized, was doing the very thing, that I was “called” to do, which was write this book. I faced the fear last year, during the national quarantine, and decided to face the fear, daily in 10 increments. I made a personal vow to write 10 minutes per day; and by the end of 10 weeks, Doing It Scared was birthed. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done; and I’m so thankful, that I’ve finally conquered that mountain.
Lauren K. Clark: If you could describe the television industry with 3 colors, what would they be?
Erika Bryant: Black, White, and Grey
Lauren K. Clark: What are some of your most beautiful experiences working with Tyler Perry? How has your work with him, prepared you for greater things to come?
Erika Bryant: It was an honor to work with the genius, that is him and I’m thankful for that time in my life. I was the coordinator for the soundtrack of Diary Of A Mad Black Woman; and having the opportunity to work on a film-at that time-and attend the events, surrounding the launch, are memories I will forever cherish.
Lauren K. Clark: If you could paint yourself as. Superhero, what would you look like?
Erika Bryant: I would wear an all bodysuit, with rose gold accents; and possess a heart of gold, that radiates outward. Spreading love would be my superpower (much like now).
“I look up to people in every industry, who have beat the odds, have great discipline, and remain true to who they are at the core. I look up to people, who give back and who live their truth loud and proud; whatever that means.”Erika Bryant
Lauren K. Clark: From your initial phase in the television industry until now, how do you describe your personal and professional growth? What do you think you need to work on?
Erika Bryant: I’ve learned how to manage working well with others; maintaining a level head and being kind-even when circumstances call for another response. I’ve matured so much over the years, but at my core I’m the same girl I once was. I’ve also learned to accept and embrace myself, flaws and all-my opinion of myself is the only opinion that truly matters, and I honestly LIKE me. I’d like to continue to grow and expand knowing that things are ALWAYS working in my favor, when it appears, otherwise.
Lauren K. Clark: One can only imagine the world of television having a high level of tension and stress. How do you envision change within the industry? Are there particular stress-free, or wellness activities that you have participated, or worked with on OWN, or other platforms?
Erika Bryant: I don’t know that the stress level will change, as it’s par for the course. I do think it’s important to note and remind others, that we have the most enjoyable jobs on the planet, so we should have fun making it-that mentality goes a long way in how to process stress. We aren’t saving lives or curing cancer on a daily. We are making entertainment content, and that is a gift that keeps on giving.
Lauren K. Clark: Who are the people you look up to, within, and outside, of your profession?
Erika Bryant: I look up to people in any and every industry who have beat the odds, have great discipline, and remain true to who they are at the core. I look up to people, who give back and who live their truth loud and proud, whatever that means.
Lauren K. Clark: It’s a long day. You leave your office spacing. With keys in hand, you enter your household. You drop your things onto the chair. How do you unwind?
Erika Bryant: I usually take a shower to wash off the day, and cleanse my mind releasing the stress of the day. After that, I might cuddle up with my man, or consume some funny content to unplug, a bit.
Lauren K. Clark: If you could paint a wellness and mental care spacing within the television industry, what would it look like?
Erika Bryant: In a perfect world, that would entail taking several breaks, throughout the day to just breathe/meditate-life is in the breath and we don’t take the time to truly inhale and exhale. Areas to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and nature are rejuvenating so they would be plentiful and accessible. Lastly, I’d amend the work week 3-4 days and weekends would be Friday-Sunday.
Well, what more is there to say? As we continue to watch the career of ERIKA BRYANT blossom even more, let’s hope that aspiring writers, filmmakers, directors, and producers take a page from her chapters in bringing a more holistic touch to the film and television scene. After all, it starts with a purpose. It starts with the awareness of, self! And, it starts with the ability to color one’s unique persona into the reality we wish to create, behind the scenes!
For more information on ERIKA BRYANT, and her latest updates, you may click on the links, below: