We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Terry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, what do you attribute your success to?
I would say the key factors in my success thus far are belief and persistence. Plain and simple. Are there times where I feel like throwing in the proverbial towel? Absolutely. Do I occasionally suffer from imposter syndrome? More often than I’d like to admit. What motivates me to stick it out? Belief. I believe in myself the most out of anyone else, which is a very important skill to develop. Without that self-promotion and motivation, you’re doomed to stall out. It’s imperative to feed yourself affirmations and practice personal evolution to strengthen that belief. “If you don’t do it, who will?” never rang truer in this context. I personally had to delve deep into what my motivation and intent were behind my art. As a filmmaker, actor, or composer, you deliver a service as well as a part of yourself. “What do I want out of this?” “What do I want to gain from it?” “How can I help others with my art?” All essential questions to ask as the storm starts raging if you want to stay afloat. Branding is not only about you, it’s about others’ perception of you. This is where the business meets the belief. Coming fresh out of art school, I wasn’t really taught how to “sell” myself. That came with trial and error. As you identify the attributes you believe about yourself the most, it becomes clearer how to market them. Make no mistake about it… you must learn the business you’re in. Investment is another facet of belief. The more you believe, the more you will invest and take risks to grow. Success and self-improvement are certainly intertwined. Secondly, persistence is among the best tools in your arsenal. Nothing great ever happens quickly and if it does… it’s likely not great. Yea, you can quote me on that! lol. The only way to see any lofty dream into fruition is a laser focus and tireless pursuit. Even when you fail, the fork in the road should lead to the lesson rather than disappointment. Too often people focus on what was lost instead of the knowledge gained. That’s the whole crux of the journey!! Enjoy the lessons because the climb is always the best part…not the summit. Whatever you want to do, stick with it in spite of the odds. Combine that belief with persistence and watch where it gets you! Talent is always helpful but doing the road work gets people so much farther down the road. What’s the difference between you and the folks you read about in Forbes? WORK!! The majority of these individuals, no matter which life circumstance they came from, always attribute their success to the sheer amount of hard work they have dedicated. I have been privileged to work on some of the things I have always wanted to do, and that is because I have never given up. You must get up over and over again…however many times it takes to see your visions. You can do it…but you must KNOW you can do it.
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 a filmmaker/composer/actor. I hail from a little town known as Plano, Tx, and damn proud of it!! I received a scholarship to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2001 and began my career in Atlanta, GA. It wasn’t an easy journey being fresh out of art school with no business or life experience to speak of. Together with my longtime friends and collegemates, Justin Poage and Kenneth Bradley, we built Newlanta films and carved out a niche within an already crowded industry. Our attention to detail and downright scholarly knowledge of cinema helped our projects to stand out amongst the sea of similar projects in the independent ATL landscape at the time. One of the biggest lessons we learned was disappointment and failure management. For every triumph we had, there were many failed experiments littered behind it. We learned not to be disillusioned when things didn’t work out or drastically changed… and instead, we learned how to use the lesson and adapt. This is one of our biggest strengths. In the end, I want the world to know about a group of black guys that came from different parts of the world and had a dream bigger than where they came from.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think for anyone visiting the Dallas area I’d pick the popular spots, which are always fun. I personally like plantlife so Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is always a treat. Klyde Warren Park is a nice chill outdoor vibe with so much going on…highly recommend it. I’m from Plano and love comic books so you need to stop by Madness comics and games to get a nice dose. Also my top sports bar is also in Plano…the Franchise bar and grill. That’s where you need to be, ESPECIALLY on karaoke night. Other than that I’m just chilling with friends or in the studio/watching movies.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to give a shout-out to a very accomplished composer, Allen Constantine, who has been taking time out to help me grow as a composer in the last few years. Although I have been producing music since 2005, film composition is a relatively new endeavor for me as I continue to expand my creative portfolio. Film scoring has always been something I was obsessed with and eventually aspired to do. One day I was blessed with the opportunity to score a project with a notable cast and tv network even with no experience. Even with all my apprehension, i completed the task to great success and secured more score work. The problem was I still felt ill-equipped to handle what was coming my way. Enter the Allen. He has helped enhance my natural ability and hone my skills. This speaks to the importance of mentorship in your journey. To get where you want to be, find someone who is already higher than you are!