Web series are becoming more popular these days as guerilla filmmakers are taking their chance at bringing their visions to life. I am particularly happy that more women are beginning to take their stab at film and bring our unique but captivating stories for the world to see. Recently I discovered a web series that stood out to me because it explored a topic many people are ashamed or to proud to discuss , Celibacy.New Haven ,CT native now resident of Atlanta Chantel Johnson along side Lawnya Benton wrote and produced “Celibate in the City” directed by Carlton Faison!
The ten-episode drama comedy, directed by Carlton Faison, follows the celibacy journey of Mari Brown (Zeeky Minnis), who after a string of meaningless “situationships” decides that she needs to do something different in her approach to love. Once she commits herself to a season of celibacy, things heat up. With her ex Mike (Joe Warren) popping up in town and her new athletic hottie boyfriend David (Carlton Faison) pressuring her, things get harder than she thought it would. With no support from her three best friends (Kristen Hurt, DomNique Perry, and Tonika Huff), Mari’s willpower is truly tested.
Celibate in the City is the a perfect example of content that women need to have visible in this world where there are so many temptation and not enough strong positive images of ourselves! This series explores “the classic battle between giving in to what feels right in the moment or remaining strong in an effort to stay true to self. It encourages the notion that you don’t have to have sex to be sexy.”
If we as people want positive content regarding women and african american tales to continue to be made we have to support them in any way we can ! “Celibate in the City” series has launched an indie gogo campaign to help complete the first season. The campaign has been live for 3 weeks and they have raised 3700$ of their 12,500 goal . Lets all help this wonderful movement and donate whether small or large ! Ultimately if we support web series it will be easier to soon see this genre content on the major tv networks like HBO, NBC, VH1, BET, where are stories belong!Everyone has until May 5th to donate here bit.ly/1iPRiNX all contributions are greatly appreciated!
Stay connected and follow the journey on Twitter and Instagram @citcwebseries
PS. I got the chance to get the inside scoop from one of “Celibate In The City” producer/writer Chantel Johnson where she discussed her journey in to film and her inspiration behind the series check it out below !
SV:When did you discover you had a talent at creating and telling stories?
CJ:I discovered my writing abilities at age ten when I won a playwriting contest. I knew then that creative writing was something that I enjoyed doing and that I could do pretty easily as I have a tremendous imagination.
SV:How did you go after your dream once discovered? (film school or self taught)
CJ:After I graduated highschool, I knew that I wanted to write in some aspects, but I thought that I would become an editor at a magazine or a novelist. When I moved to Atlanta to pursue a writing career, I met a man who wanted to collaborate with me on a script. Through him, google and books, I taught myself script format and learned how to properly write for film. From there I wrote my first independent script Celibate in the City and built a network of like-minded individuals who saw my vision and believed in helping me see it through.
SV:What types of stories do you prefer to create?
CJ:I prefer to create drama comedies (dramady) because I believe life is one big dramady. I love to show the depths of the human experience and explore the good and the bad.
SV:What inspires you to be creative?
CJ:My curiosity inspires my creativity. I always want to know about something, no matter what it is. I ask questions, I think outside the box, I always wonder about things that may seem meaningless but in doing so, I find material that I feel is worthwhile.
SV:What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since the beginning of your career in the film industry?
CJ:I am very much still learning but the most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is to stay true to your vision but stay open to improvement. I think that you have to 100% stand by what you are working on and never compromise, but stay open to ways to improve. It’s a very difficult thing to balance if you are not confident in yourself or your project, so I’d also add that you must develop confidence.
SV:What do you see your career evolving into in 5 years?
CJ:In five years I see myself still writing for myself and others but on a grander scale (television and movies), as well as being a published author and speaker. I am also interested in business ventures that tie in with film as well.
SV:How do you feel about the representation of African American Women behind and on camera ?
CJ:I feel that there aren’t enough African American women creating, producing and directing for sure. I think that we have unique stories to tell but not enough of us are telling it. I think we definitely need more non stereotypical stories and characters. I think they try to put us in a box, so it’s our job to break out the box and not conform to any “formulas” but stay true to ourselves.