Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DeMane Davis, writer, director, screenwriter, VO and more

So you wanna enter the often fast-paced, receipt-filled world of freelance?
Hey, good for youse!

DeMane Davis - Copywriter, Commercial & Film Director, Screenwriter, Voice Over Talent, Amateur Psychiatrist, Mutant
Ive been freelance almost fifteen years (whoa, someone should give me a gold watch!) and I adore it.

I left the full time times in 2000 to make my second independent feature film, LIFT (starring Kerry Washington, currently on ABCs Scandal.) Its on Netflix if youre interested!

Since then Ive been freelancing (as a copywriter and/or Creative Director) while simultaneously directing commercials for Element (; writing a series of books; penning several TV series; a horror film; and doing voice overs. Whew!

Im pretty sure Id be doing most of that no matter what but it would definitely be more difficult to accomplish so the flexible schedule works in my favor.

Heres me with just one mouth. Though I do hail from a very loud family so two mouths would be helpful during arguments and holidays.
Having been on staff at large ad agencies like Hill, Holliday, Arnold and Kirshenbaum, I understand the importance of strategy when directing a spot. Casting for Nike, Snapple, Reebok and Blue Cross gave me a good idea of what a copywriter may want to hear when I do a VO audition. Every job I do informs the other. Im constantly stockpiling data: bookmarking articles, slapping Post-Its on a photo in a magazine or picking up a new book (and trying not to freak about not getting the chance to read it right away.)

When I was little I wanted to be a nurse. And an archaeologist. Also a singer.
And, of course, I always wanted to be a writer.
With the exception of one, Ive either read or started reading all of these books and magazines. Success?!
In an odd way, I feel like Im all of those things, minus scrubbing in to assist in a real operation which Im pretty sure I wouldnt be able to handle. What if I forget the name of an organ?! What if someones eating Junior Mints and one falls in there?!

Ive read all of these books! Several times! And, no, none of them were borrowedfrom my high school. No, you cannot look in the inside cover, mind your beeswax!
I think the greatest part of freelance is meeting new people (or working with old friends- bonus!), learning about a product and target audience, researching like its college (sans the Miller Lite) and then hitting it hard. Immersing myself in that world and coming up with a creative solution. Im addicted to it!
This probably goes back to my childhood, Id watch commercials and try to beat whatever concept or copy they had. I told My Mama our high electricity bill would be worth it! Top of the world, Mama!

My Mama (photographed here the day she tried out for the Celtics) is always close by. She knows. If youre curious check out @MyMamaKnows on the Twitters.

Finally, heres a little advice for those of you starting out, considering, or just curious:

First off
Know Your Nut!
(That sounds dirty.)
As long as you know the absolute bare minimum amount of cheddar you need to live on, youre set. You just need to make that.
You can come up with a medium amount.
You can come up with a slightly larger amount that still allows you to hit up The Nordstrom Rack (hey, client meetings, yo!), but as long as you make that minimum- youre okay. You dont have to spin out of control about when the next job is arriving because spinning only makes you dizzy.

Its Yours!
This is YOUR business. It can be, look and feel anyway you want.
If you want your business card to be a brick. Do it!
If youve been dying to get back into cooking or swimming or volunteering or biochemical quantum physics, arrange your schedule so you can make it happen!
If you want to spend more time with your family (even if theyre loud) go for it!
If you wanna take a nap, by all means, take a nap. Naps are our friends!
Its your business. Run it how you like and run it like freelancer (emphasis on free.)

The view from my office. btw that buddha is from The Priti Collection ( Check it out! I wrote the copy!

Go Outside!
Thats one of the benefits of being freelance. You can be outside more than others. Get some Vitamin D straight from the source. And plan your vacation now to make sure you take one. Even if you just stay home and dont work. Having a life and going on adventures is only going to make your work (and your life) better. Promise.

When I went outside today look what I found!

That’s my two on the subject. Thanks for reading and if you’re so inclined I’m at Oh and like Joe, I blog here on blogspot too! It’s about reality TV, currently Top Chef on Bravo. You can check that out here:

Hey, know what? Im gonna buy myself a gold watch. Its been fifteen years of freelancing! Except I dont wear a watch.
No, my ears arent pierced.
Oh, Im gonna eat some chocolate, its wrapped in gold foil!!!
Wait I already did that today.
Im gonna do it again!
Celebration ON!


❂Pippen❂ said...

I love this girl, and her spirit. Freelance on D!

Unknown said...

You the Woman!!