For most of us there are two paths to choose from in life; the path working to make someone else’s dreams come true, or the path making your own dreams come true. The latter path is so rewarding and fulfilling but there are many sacrifices that will have to be made and several obstacles that you will encounter before you can reap the fruits of your labor. A lot of people can’t handle those obstacles and aren’t willing to make certain sacrifices to turn their dreams into a reality, so they do like most and settle for the unfulfilled 8 to 5 and glide their way through life on a conveyor belt. Jeanine Daniels, an upcoming producer, writer, and filmmaker chose to take the road less traveled and although she has run into a few road blocks on her journey, she wouldn’t trade the life of living out her dreams for a life with no purpose or passion. I was able to catch up with the “mafia boss” (a nickname giving to her by a former mentor because of her loyalty) for a brief interview about her aspiring career.
Ashley E: I always ask people are they happy. Would you say you’re happy at this point in your life and what is your definition of happiness?
JD: I’m not “not” happy, if that makes any sense. I know what I love to do, I know who I want to do it with, I know who I am and I know what I can do.
But sometimes, I have difficulty making them all connect. And that can be beyond frustrating. As an artist, I just want to charge right into the things I want to do. But that’s not the best solution… all the time. I think being happy is largely knowing how to navigate your life between the ups and downs while maintaining a calm composure and feeling confident. Once you can successfully learn to do that, happiness is a default. So, I’m learning to navigate, but I’m using a hellafied GPS. Once I can ditch the gps and use only my gut, I think I’ll reach true happiness.
Ashley E: I saw a post you put on Instagram about feeling like a failure because you weren’t where you thought you should be in life. I can totally relate to that feeling at this point in my life especially when it seems like everyone around you is progressing and you seem to be regressing or at a stand-still. It’s surprising that you would say you feel like a failure because people like me are inspired by you and look at you like a success. Do you still feel that way or do you look at it more like you took an alternate route in life compared to most?
JD: There’s always this moment when I’m standing in a circle and everyone is talking about their careers & lives with so much vigor; how they just remodeled their bathroom, how their kids did the funniest thing yesterday, or how they have to get their car radiator fixed. While I’m standing there trying to explain what a “content creator” is, and “no, I don’t work for a TV network necessarily” and “no, I don’t really get paid” and “no, it’s more like a show that lives on the internet”… and the corrections go on and on. Not to mention the fact that, I don’t have a bathroom to remodel because I live at home with my mom, I don’t have kids, or a husband, or boyfriend, or even someone I’m dating for that matter, and the radiator thing? Well, I don’t own a car, but my mom does allow me to drive her 93′ Toyota Paseo. The doors don’t lock and I have to use a club to secure it, and its smokes up when I drive more than 55 miles an hour, but hey, I’m driving right?
I’m not going to lie and say this stuff doesn’t get me down. But, I also remember when I was on the other side with a consistent check, driving a nice car, and stuck at a desk 40-60 hours a week making someone else’s dream come true…I was sitting around missing the sun and happy hour every day, wishing I could work on my own stuff. So whenever I’m having a pity party, which honestly does happen more than I’d like to admit, I usually have to really think about which life I’d rather have: broke and free or balling and stuck.
I’m learning to take the good with the bad. And it took me to pack up my huge downtown LA loft, give up my car, move home and starve to realize I rather do this and be an artist, than ball out in the matrix. At my core, I’m supposed be an artist. It helps that I know that I’m good at what I do, and I know I love what I do. I’m quirky, single, broke, living at home, but I get to do what I love every single gottdamn day.
Ashley E: Black and Sexy TV is an independent network that was started on you-tube with a small budget. It has produced some amazing content, built a large fan base and is continuing to grow. How did you end up teaming up with the founders Numa Perrier and Dennis Dortch and how do you feel about being associated with a business that has become so successful?
JD: I was a big fan of Mr. Dortch’s movie “A Good Day to be Black & Sexy”, and the moment I saw it, I knew I had to find him out and see what else he had stored in that genius brain of his. I soon met Ms. Perrier and Kofi Oliver (an original founding member of BSTV) and Mr. Ali. We all gravitated towards each other and there was a unique energy we had between us. We did historic stuff together: sold web series to TV; sold pilots; sold content directly to audiences; made our own movies; green lit our own productions; and controlled the production process from beginning to end. I am blessed to have been on the ground floor of a partnership that changed the course of what independent TV is becoming.
Ashley E: You have produced a few successful shows; one in particular is That Guy. The show is one of my favorites off of the Black and Sexy TV network. What I loved about it is how realistic it was. It was like watching everyday people going through real life situations. What inspired you to create a show like that and how were you able to create a show from a male’s perspective so well being that you are a female?
JD: Being the lone female in a group of guys has its pros and cons, but one strong pro is hearing all the stories. Black men, regular every day Black men, are often dismissed and neglected in storytelling about relationships. I can’t remember a show since Martin that accurately represents Black men and their views, told from their perspective, from beginning to end. And it has always bothered me. So after the success of The Couple, I knew I needed to produce another show, but I wanted it to be from the male perspective. I started thinking about the dudes I used to date, two kinds in particular, and bam, I had an idea for a show, and just ran with it. I used my life as the foundation and often talked to my homeboys to make sure things were accurate. As a female who hung around a lot of dudes and had insider information about their secrets and emotions, I was pretty positive I had a handle on keeping things realistic, which is a big deal for me. And Jeremy McBryde was often my sounding board to make sure my theories on male behavior were correct, which they were 92.7% of the time.
Ashley E: That Guy became really successful. You created 3 seasons and even produced a movie for the show which was your first feature film. Were you surprised by the show’s success and why did you decide not to continue the show?
JD: I was extremely surprised by the overwhelming support of the show and the die-hard fans. The first episode did poorly, like super poorly; the audience, women, hated it. They said it was vulgar, disrespectful; a bad representation of Black men, and BSTV should have been ashamed airing it. I was speechless. But Jeremy McBryde encouraged me to keep going because he knew it was a hit, even though I felt like I got stabbed in my beating heart. So I pressed on and the tides turned, and EVERYONE had a different attitude about it by the 3rd episode. The success of the second season and the movie solidified that my vision was correct about THAT GUY. After the movie I had no intentions to continue with the franchise. I was ready to move on and create something fresh, different characters, new problems, other obstacles and resolutions. But after a business meeting it was decided that because it was our most popular show with the largest and most loyal audience, it would be best for the company to do another season to jump start our subscription service. I reluctantly agreed. During the filming of the 3rd season there were a lot of changes that I wasn’t happy with and a lot of decisions were made that weren’t in the best interest of the series or my vision. Yaddah yaddah yaddah. I left the company.
Ashley E: I know you are no longer a part of Black and Sexy TV and have started your own production company called nine27 Entertainment. What made you decide to start your own company and what type of content do you plan on producing?
JD: I actually created nine27 Entertainment a while ago, I just never did anything with it. I was blindly focused on what the team was doing at BSTV and loss site of certain things that I wanted to accomplish creatively. I knew that there were things in my career that I wanted to do I knew wouldn’t necessarily fit with what my former partners saw as the vision for BSTV. The company will allow me to showcase my knack for writing animation, sci-fi, fantasy, and edgier topics that don’t fit into the BSTV brand. I also knew that I wanted to work directly with musicians, and producers more which may lead to a full blown record label at some point. Nine27 Entertainment allows me to take all my eggs out of one basket and move them into one I get to fully control, monitor, protect, and watch grow and develop.
Ultimately I’ll be developing unapologetically creative content with a conscious across all platforms…that also has the best produced music out. Those without a soapbox will get their stories shared with the masses through nine27 ent.
Ashley E: Do you have any advice for the dream chasers and grinders out there pursuing their passions?
JD: My advice to all the dream chasers
- Trust your gut
- Get everything in writing
- Be consistent
- You’re only allowed 5 minutes a day to have a pity party, after that, get to work
- Trust in your tribe to lift you up
- Keep honest people around you who will tell you if your shit sucks (that’s really important)
- Read something substantial every day, and memes or social media status updates do not count
- Don’t force your creativity
- ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT
- Don’t complain about how much is on your plate if you said your goal was to eat.