Movies empower, educate, entertain, and inspire. Romance, comedy, drama, historical, it doesn’t matter which genre, good films make lasting lifetime impressions. Filmmaking is something Toneka Wright knows all about. Wright is an award-winning filmmaker and owner of Black Filmmakers Academy, an online platform providing courses, workshops, and summits in various areas of filmmaking. The Black Filmmaker’s Academy exists for one simple reason: to help Black filmmakers learn the art, craft, and business side of making, distributing, and marketing cinematic masterpieces. The academy focuses on categories such as acting, script writing, lighting, techniques, obtaining distribution, leveraging social media and breaking into film festivals, just to name a few.
It is Toneka’s mission to change the way people of color a viewed in film, by creating platforms for movies told from the Black perspective and voice. She believes wholeheartedly that when we see more positive images of people of color in media, we will see massive changes for the better in the community. Toneka shared with us more about BFA, and what it takes to succeed:
Why did you decide to take the LEAP to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been more of a creative at heart person but doubted that I could make a living at what I loved. A layoff from my job forced me to take the leap as a full-time entrepreneur.
What is the best part about being your own boss?
The best part is setting my own schedule and being able to work from wherever I want.
Figuring things out, putting systems in place, and finding your audience. It takes a lot of time and work.
What have been some of your challenges and successes in business?
Starting out I wanted to do 100 things at once. Focusing in on one thing was a challenge. Also, not having a team to help with different areas. It’s like you have to become your accountant, social media manager, IT person, graphics person, etc.
What do you love about working in your city?
There are a lot of talented people in the DC area even though we’re not recognized as a film city. I would love to see us operate as a more cohesive unit, though.
What are 3 skills every entrepreneur should have?
Social Media management, being open to and mastering their mindset, and being consistent with educating themselves in their field of expertise.