We had the good fortune of connecting with Alana Marie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alana, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always been a creative since I was young, but I also had a passion for service at the same time. I didn’t know how to integrate the two in a meaningful way so my creative endeavors always served as “hobbies” or ways to pass the time until recently. While in school for my Masters of Social Work degree, I blogged on the side. I had my own personal blog and wrote for publications like xoNecole, Blavity and The Root on the side for some extra cash and to expand my portfolio. I honestly thought I would be managing someone’s non-profit when I graduated and my creativity would always be a side thing. My professor, Jack Kirkland encouraged me to create my own job description and if I don’t remember anything else I learned during my time in graduate school, it’s that. I haven’t looked back since. I fought hard to integrate my artistic side and my service side and managed to find a way to get paid for it. I directed and produced my very first short documentary shortly after graduating from grad school but that is where my passion for storytelling was birthed. I expounded on my gift as a writer and now I write, film documentaries and video content for non-profits, as well as documentary-style and brand photography. I love telling stories. Specifically, I love highlighting underrepresented people, places and spaces and I am able to do that now because I created my own job description. Art makes the world go round and frankly, is our saving grace during this time of COVID.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am currently in post-production of my first feature documentary titled The Kinloch Doc. It is about the rise and demise of Missouri’s First Black City. It is inspired by my father because that is where he is from. My overarching goal with my work is to humanize the everyday lived experience. Our society is increasingly judgmental towards others plight not knowing that many of us – regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, etc – are one life circumstance away from sharing a humbling story with the very people, places, and spaces we judge. I want people to see my images and see my films and it brings them to a place of remembrance or familiarity with something else in their lives; My work reminds them of someone they know or an experience they’ve once had. What I am most proud of is moving beyond my imposter syndrome and lack of formal education and figuring it out. I never went to film school and have no formal film training but I played on my strengths. I am a good writer and a great storyteller. I taught myself along the way and added people to the team who filled in the gaps of what I was missing. I was able to produce my first short that was invited to several film festivals as a first-time filmmaker AND launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign back in May to raise funds for post-production of my film. I successfully raised over $25K. Still blows my mind to this day. All of this started with an idea and it took off from there. Since then, I’ve managed to create an entire business around content development. I am a content coach and I teach other content creators how to simplify their creation process, I produce content for socially based non-profits and I do brand photography.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oooh this is hard because I have only been here since June. I am still learning the city myself. I really love Deep Ellum. It reminds me of “The Loop” in St. Louis but it’s so much bigger. Food is bomb! South Dallas Cafe has been a weekly fav as well as Soiree Coffee Bar.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I never liked the term self-made. There are ALWAYS people working on our behalf whether we realize it or not. As for me, several hands went into my career trajectory and I am forever grateful. Of course my family. The inspiration behind my documentary is my father. My professor Jack Kirkland, Molly Metzger, Vetta Thompson and mentors Cynthia Williams & Atia Thurman. My former supervisors Courtney E. Brewster & Leah Merrifield. Jarmel Reece for agreeing to break out a camera when I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. My film mentor Dan Parris and the entire Continuity family. Neighborhood Leadership Fellows Fam + Sprout Fam. Kinloch fam: Quinsonta Boyd + Corey Cozart + Demetria Boyd. My mentor (even though she calls me a mentor, Brittney Janae). All of St. Louis. All of my Kickstarter backers who contributed to the campaign and orgs like Action STL, The FreeRoots Projects. The love I get from my hometown is beyond words. It’s so many people that supported me, continue to support me and keep me encouraged. Last but not least, my husband Devin and my daughter. They see the most intimate parts of me throughout this journey and keep me creatively inspired. If I missed anyone, please charge it to my head and not my heart.

Website: www.iamalanamarie.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/iamalanamarie
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alanamariewoodson/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/iam_alanamarie
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqk694k43I5zKhnNOkhzTTQ
Other: My film website: www.thekinlochdoc.com

Feature Image Credit: Victoria Saperstein Photography
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