Victoriously Made: Filmmaker Victor Joyner Talks Grey Hood and Filmmaking in NC.
Our nation has been impacted lately with so many occurrences of tragedy and division in the midst of a major political year. We are watching African-American males being violated of their rights and sadly losing their lives all over social media. We've seen entertainers in film, sports, media, music, and the arts express their views creatively about this epidemic of African-Americans dying at an escalated rate across our cell phone screens. Filmmaker, actor, and writer Victor Joyner has joined that list from the artistic community voicing their views through their craft on such pressing issues. His latest project Grey Hood could not be more on time as it talks about the very issues our nation is facing today. He's also a graduate of East Carolina University! I got a chance to sit down with my high school classmate about his journey to becoming a filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur, family man, and a man of great Faith.
So here's how it all went down......
How did your journey begin in filmmaking?
The first thing I did with filmmaking goes back to church. I was apart of the Video Ministry at my church back in Greenville at Koinonia Christian Center and I was with the production crew. I feel God always has you doing what He wants you to do before you are doing it. Basically from there I had a vision from God about a magazine. So once I started to process that Bishop Rosie S.O'Neal prophesied over me and told me that my Ministry message will be great. That I would be ministering even though I'm not a minister. So from there I talked with a friend about it that's in the industry. So he said maybe you should get into the industry so that way once you're doing this you won't be from the outside. So that made sense because people will open up to you and be more receptive if you know what you're talking about. I went to a modeling/acting school where he was going and so was my wife at the same time. However, when I think back to the first time I switched from in front of the camera to behind it, my wife reminded me that my first film was an international film. We were extras the first day, 2nd day I was offered a speaking part, and from there I was asked to co-direct. I found that on independent gigs I got a chance to be all over the set even though I was there as an actor. I was on a show called "WRAL's NC Wanted" and I was on the show all of the time but of course after being used so much you can't be every character but the show did win an Emmy.
Its like something switches and I become a whole new person. I just zone out. When you get focused you just release the inner you when your playing the part. I wrote 6 scripts in like 5 months it's not me its God I'm just the instrument He's using. -Victor Joyner
What's your writing process like when it comes to your films?
It's an interesting process. People ask me all the time how I write and if I write scene-by-scene but I don't know what's going to happen next. Its like I'm playing Chess in my head. Once my mind starts going it's going. You just let your mind open up. Then I got my LLC so I would be officially Victorious Films, LLC.
The first film I did was a short film called Hooped which was done off of a whim. A Bishop I worked with in Burlington told me about BET was having a short film contest and I should do it. I shot it here in Durham in 3 days and sold it around the world. - Victor Joyner
Here in NC its like no one wants to work together as a whole. It takes more than one brick to build a skyscraper. There are too many people trying to be single bricks instead of us working together. - Victor Joyner
How do you feel about the film industry in relation to North Carolina?
When you think about it a lot of the greats come from here in sports, gospel music, music, acting, and Wilson has so many people too. Here is one thing I want to push is getting our government to buy into our films that are homegrown. I went to Georgia and I was invited to the "Entertainment Gala" which was an awards show even the mayor was there. They make homegrown films and last year they made 6 billion dollars and the mayor said, "we are making 7 next year." The mayor came into the office with a vision for this. Everyone there was talking about homegrown films, actors, and we don't need to go outside of Georgia. Why can't North Carolina do that? There are tons of films you can Google that are shot here but there not homegrown. Why can't we get behind our own filmmakers? Why do I have to go to New Jersey, NYC, California, or Atlanta? Most of our people don't understand perpetual income. We are into throwing parties but if the film sales you have long-term income coming in because of your residuals.
I wrote Gospel Gangster down to a short and it literally only took me a day. - Victor Joyner
What was the inspiration behind Grey Hood?
Grey Hood I've written as a short for now and my wife is the producer. It's a story involving cop shooting but its hard to not give it away because it's a lot of twists, oh snap factors, and turns in this film. Its a story about a couple who just moved to the city and his wife is pregnant so they are about to have a baby. He jogs in the neighborhood wearing a grey hood. It's an eye-opening film for everyone. We were blessed to have Actor/Director Dennis LA White to be a part of this project.
Victor Joyner has made a change agent impression in our North Carolina communities. His films bring to light stories that are not always told and his experiences in television or film have made him a sought after director. His story is one to inspire and who knew growing up in rural Wilson, North Carolina our paths would cross as adults in entertainment. He's a devoted husband, loving father, and devout servant to God who is sharing his gifts of writing and directing with us all. I encourage each of us to support local homegrown filmmakers, films, actors, actresses, musicians, artists, and others in entertainment. That's what The Lux Blog is all about! Stay tuned and make sure you follow Victor's social media to see what's next.
Until next time Ladies & Gentleman this is The Lux Blog. - K. Knight