#MotivationalMonday

Our first #MondayMotivation is none other than Filmmaker, Educator, Founding Artistic Director of the African American Repertory Theater, Husband, and Father Mr. Derome Scott-Smith. I had the privilege to sit down with him a few months after screenings of his first feature film, “Street Wise.” Derome shared the good and the bad experiences of being an artist, facing rejection, who and what inspires him and much more!

#MtgMyDestiny

What has been your most rewarding experience as an artist?

Derome

My most rewarding experience would have to be when I was involved with students and the light bulb clicks for them. The first time was with George Wythe students at the state theater competition. When they won, they had ownership of something!

#MtgMyDestiny

What has been your favorite experience as an artist?

Derome

When I worked as a Filmmaker the process of working start to finish while creating something that has a life. I would wake up and go to sleep with that being part of me, part of my life. Film is a project that can last forever and be shared.

#MtgMyDestiny

When did you know that you wanted to be an artist? When did the light bulb click for you?

Derome

I ask myself that every day. You get lucky in life and you get to just have fun. I am doing something that always has an impact.

#MtgMyDestiny

What has been your least favorite experience as an artist?

Derome

I did not like having to compromise my art, because then it began to feel like it’s work. When you are working with or for someone else making them look good for their ego or reputation is what has stood out to me as experiences I don’t appreciate much.

#MtgMyDestiny

Artists face a lot of rejection. What has been the one experience that hurt a lot, but you grew from it?

Derome

Having to step down from working with the African American Repertory Theater (AART) Company. I took some time off to realize that God wanted me to do something bigger. Doing film and TV production with the students is what I do now and that is when the growth evolved. Stepping down from AART put me in the position to do that.

#MtgMyDestiny

Do you pursue themes when looking to create art?

Derome

No real set themes. I get a vision of what I want to do. For instance, with Street Wise, I wanted to help my students; the play was born from listening to their stories and struggles living in the Southside of Richmond, VA.

#MtgMyDestiny

You have founded a theater company, taught students, been a 1-man film creator, what else have you done?

Derome

There is a bunch that people may not know about me. First, I have to say I am a husband and father of two girls. Also, I am a writer. I was commissioned to write several works that have been shown at the Science Museum of Virginia and which ran for 3-4 years. I did a series of short plays in 2007 for the 400-year celebration of Jamestown. For these works, people tend to find me and that is something that I enjoy about the work that I do.

#MtgMyDestiny

With all of these accomplishments in your bag, what else is on your bucket list in life?

Derome

One thing I would like to do is get a film company off the ground that involves young people. I would like to build a house. Another dream is to meet some of the greats of the black film movement and turn it into a documentary for the young people that don’t know their artistic history. Traveling to California is definitely on my bucket list.

#MtgMyDestiny

If you could be the creator of any work, what would it be?

Derome

“The Piano Lesson” by August Wilson

#MtgMyDestiny

Imagine you have fulfilled all your dreams. You leave the world and are reincarnated. What would you come back as?

Derome

Wow. I think I would like to come back as a towering oak tree in a place like NY. Imagine being a tree in Central Park that has a life at rest and has seen a lot. They get to see people, animals, events, and life going on around them.

#MtgMyDestiny

What is one scripture or saying that stands out to you in life?

Derome

I would have to refer to Isaiah 41:10: Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God, I will strengthen you , I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

That scripture has always pushed me. You can be doing things and have fear and not end up doing it.

#MtgMyDestiny

What type of advice would you have for a younger version of you?

Derome

I would tell a younger Derome to always listen to God. Never stop listening to God. Don’t be fearful!

#MtgMyDestiny

Are there any artists that are well-known with whom you would like to work?

Derome

Giancarlo Esposito, I dig his acting chops! The Hudlin Brothers who made House Party.

#MtgMyDestiny

Any final words of advice for the readers?

Derome

Every journey is going to have obstacles—embrace them! They will make you better as long as you never give up. Have wisdom with persistence and always listen to God!

#MtgMyDestiny

Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to what God has in store for you!

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