Following Your Voice and Vision
by Ben Robinson III
Sometimes in life you must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Recent developments in the battle for gay rights have been groundbreaking, but it is still a topic that a lot of people tend to discuss very minimally, if at all.
The media attempts to shed light with its depictions of gay characters on both reality and scripted television shows but they do not always include a vast array of the stories which reflect the community as a whole.
Writer, director and producer Roger Omeus Jr. accepts this challenge by creating stories that add variety to the revolution of having our lives reflected on big and small screens.
“It is very important for me to provide my voice and experience to the world of film, because I have a voice and a vision, and it matters.” Omeus says.
And it is a voice and vision he has been forming since he was much younger.
“My family and childhood were my influences. I used to draw when I was very young. My older brother was an artist and I use to follow and try to do everything he did.”
Omeus also reflects upon the many indirect photography lessons he received from his older sister.
“She used to take a lot of pictures, and I can remember her making me take pictures of her. Each time I was out of focus or she wasn’t centered, she would show me what I was doing wrong. At the time I didn’t realize she was teaching me how to frame, but I get it now.”
The early education Omeus received from his family prompted his vision to blossom into a love for writing and direction. Years later Omeus started his own production company, OmeProductions. In 2009 he put his vision to the test by creating the highly popular and critically acclaimed film Finding Me.
The movie, which was inspired by fellow innovator Patrik Ian Polk’s 2001 film Punks and his iconic television show Noah’s Arc, is a refreshing portrayal of the interaction between three friends and how their lives are intertwined regardless of their different lifestyles. It is an aspect of storytelling that Omeus believes is essential to conveying his vision properly.
“The most important aspect of my vision is being able to convey the story of the character. Before there are actors, before there is a crew, there has to be a story. My responsibility as a director is to be able to tell the story in a way that will make sense to the actors and then to the audience.”
The response from Finding Me was so gratifying that in 2011 Omeus returned with a sequel, Finding Me: Truth. Subsequently the success of the sequel prompted Omeus to create Finding Me The Series, a web series that can be viewed on YouTube.
“Through creating Finding Me I have heard how the series has opened peoples eyes. The stories we have told have broken down the walls of homophobia for many families. My production company’s mantra is, ‘Creating Stories That Matter.’ While to some that may seem like a lofty statement, I don’t think it is. I want to see stories that will make you laugh, give you insight and touch the heart.
Those are the things that matter to me.”
Omeus’ success has brought about an amazing opportunity to showcase his immense talent. But behind his voice and vision lies a responsibility to leave his mark and introduce his audience to his brand of quality entertainment.
“What I think is lacking in the world of black cinema is diversity. I don’t just mean showing homosexual stories either. I mean showcasing all of our complexities and dimensions. Just as we come in many shades we are also perplexing and layered. I want to see the human experience, and ours (meaning people of color) can vary. Whether it be due to our upbringing and/or socially economically background, we can tell dynamic stories if we could just get out of our own ways; collectively.”
However attempting this pursuit has been quite a journey. It has taken a few years but the struggle has paid off, and Omeus offers these final words of wisdom for everyone who chooses to follow their dreams.
“The most important piece of advice I would give a fellow entrepreneur is really understand the definition of the words sacrifice, gumption and most importantly perseverance. These are key attributes to the journey you’re about to take on. While your vision may be clear to you, many may not understand or share in your vision. When you do find those who are like- minded, hold on to them for dear life. Many will come and go, but believe me when I say you will need each and every one of those people in your life. It is no easy feat striking out on your own. It can be a lonely road, because not many choose to travel in that direction, because it is filled with road blocks and pitfalls. This is when you have to remain true to your vision.”
You can follow Roger on Twitter @DirectorRoger
And check out the latest updates on Finding Me The Series at http://findingmetheseries.com