…diverse people are watching the movies and the television shows, so the programming should reflect that. It affects our culture because now people can see themselves in all types of roles that they may have never gotten a chance to see before. Now they can see that anything is possible.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Emeka Mbadiwe, an award-winning Writer/Director.
Aiming to specialize in the area of storytelling, he has written and directed over 20 short films, many of which have gained millions of views on social media, with the highest viewed short film called Found Dead, hitting over 10.6 million views on Facebook.
His films have been recognized nationally and he has been featured on many talk shows talking about the social issues in which his films tackle.
With over 300 thousand followers on social media , hundreds interact with his work regularly.
Emeka focuses on creating films that inspire, educate, encourage and motivate his viewers to have hope.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in Brooklyn NY, but raised on Staten Island NY. I branched off to live on Long Island where I attended Stony Brook University for about 4 years, then from there, I went overseas to play semi-pro football in Norway, Europe. After the season, I came back to the states and had no luck making it to the NFL, so I picked up a camera and ran with that instead.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My sister was attending film school and I was inspired by some of the films she would shoot. My mom bought me a small camera and I decided to shoot a short film for fun. Social media wasn’t really a major thing then, but I knew I wanted people to see it. After I shot and got it edited, I showed it on a projection screen at my friends house after a Mike Tyson fight and the reaction I got is what I wanted to feel again, soon. (The bug bite). I shot another shot film shortly after and uploaded it to Facebook and it went viral. Haven’t put the camera down since.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Another film I did entitled Found Dead, went viral. It eventually hit 10.6 million views online and I didn’t understand what happened. A mistake maybe? 4 different other people ripped the film from my page and re-uploaded it to their pages. They were able to accumulate millions of views on it as well. So I guess it wasn’t a mistake, but people actually loved the content.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know if it was a mistake, but I wrote and co-directed a short film for a friend who was in film school. He asked me if I could do it for him and I welcomed the opportunity. Only thing was that I agreed to let him put his name as the filmmaker and use it to pass the class. After that, he posted on Facebook and it went semi-viral. All of the comments were praises of about what a great job he did, mentioning him by name. It was kinda funny, but felt weird and uneasy too.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just completed my first feature film entitled, Lock Down Love. This is a film I shot during quarantine lock down. I release it to the public this week, February 5th 2021. So depending on when this is read, you may have already seen / heard of it.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Number one, in a film, everyone wants to see someone who they can relate to and looks like them.
Number two, everyone should have an equal opportunity to play any role and not be subjected to one type of character.
And number three, diverse people are watching the movies and the television shows, so the programming should reflect that. It affects our culture because now people can see themselves in all types of roles that they may have never gotten a chance to see before. Now they can see that anything is possible.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
5 things I wish someone told me before I got started was to:
- Hustle hard every single day.
- Learn every single detail about your industry.
- Save enough money that you will use as seed capital to shoot your first feature film, so you won’t have to borrow any money from an investor.
- It is going to require a massive amount of work to become successful in the film industry.
- And last but not least, provide more and much value and service to other people before you ask for a single thing.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Balance your days and schedule. The most important thing to do is work by a list. Create the list the night before your day. Write down everything you need to do. If it’s not on the list, don’t do it.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would encourage and recommend everyone to read the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, several times. As well as the “Book of Proverb” in the Bible.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My sister. As I explained a little bit of previously. She was very influential in my life when it comes to my filmmaking. I learned a tremendous amount from her and she was teaching me things that she learned in film school.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My life lesson quote would have to be that “All things are possible to him/her that believes. People call it “The secret”, but it’s actually from the Bible. It’s relevant in my life because I believe it and apply it daily.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would like to have lunch with Tyler Perry. He is a trailblazer. Probably my biggest inspiration thus far.
How can our readers follow you online?
I’m at @EmekaFilm across all platforms. Also, my website has links to all my short films including my first feature film Lock Down Love. My site is just my full name, www.EmekaMbadiwe.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!