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'Southland,' 'Dexter' 2nd Assistant Director Imhotep Coleman Tells His Story. What's Yours?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 30, 2013 at 10:50AM

Recapping... I did this in February of last year (2012), and got a few response, so I figured, a year-and-a-half later, with the site's audience now larger than it was back then, that I'd try it again.
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Imhotep Coleman

Recapping... I did this in February of last year (2012), and got a few response, so I figured, a year-and-a-half later, with the site's audience now larger than it was back then, that I'd try it again.

I know that a significant chunk of S&A's audience comprises of actors, actresses, directors, DPs, editors, etc, etc, etc. Some are able to earn a paycheck utilizing their artistic and/or technical skills; others - and I'd say the majority - are what we've labeled the proverbial *starving artists*, working diligently, relentlessly, struggling to climb this incredibly steep hill, trying to reach some pinnacle of success - whether personal or professional. And still others exist somewhere between the former and the latter.

Where do you fall? And, as the title of this post states, what's YOUR story, and would you like to share it with the rest of the world?

Think of it as an extension of the successful S&A Filmmaker Diary series we launched almost 2 years ago. I'm looking for your individual stories of struggle and/or success, regardless of what rung on the ladder you are currently on, after all, not only is S&A just a source for news, its goal is also to become a community of cinema lovers where we can all share/debate/discuss/learn/teach/commiserate/etc.

Here's your chance. You might learn something; you might teach someone something.

What's YOUR story? You can email me (obensont@gmail.com). You can submit your story in any format - written, or even documented on video. I'll post as many of them as I can. Substance and presentation are key for consideration. 

And be sure to attach a photo (large size) for me to include, and if you have samples of your work, include them as well.

It could be a story about a current situation you find yourself in; or it could cover several days, weeks, months, or years of your career. It could be that you just want to vent your frustrations; aspects of, or people in this business that piss you off; aspects of, or people in the industry that encourage you. It doesn't have to be all negative, nor all positive. We're complex people, and so I assume our stories are as well.

In today's post, Southland, Dexter 2nd Assistant Director Imhotep Coleman shares her story:


On set they call me Brother Imhotep or Tep. I’m an Assistant Director in Los Angeles. For the past 5 seasons, I was extremely grateful to be the 2nd AD on SouthLAnd. I can unequivocally say that few shows match the efficiency, attention to detail, and camaraderie that SouthLAnd provided. The crew, cast, LAPD, and mean streets of LA made it a spectacular ride. 

Most television show crewmembers feel as if they have the best show/crew/working environment in the business. We are an isolated bunch; in our own little world spending breakfast, lunch, dinner, second meal, and coffee truck time together for the success of one television show in a sea of 700 channels. A proud bunch, the film crew is a traveling circus that can sustain itself, without help from the outside world. Food, clothing, shelter, electricity, transportation, and logistics are all provided. Outside of our bubble, we are all concerned about the ratings and longevity of our show, from season to season and episode-to-episode we are at the mercy of the network, Nielsen’s, advertisers, and audiences. 

Everyday will end, every week will end, and every show will end. A seasoned crewmember knows when the end is near, and in this freelance industry, most are looking for the next job before the last one is over. The day when the show runner/executive producer calls the entire crew to stage for the dreaded cancellation speech is confirmation to the speculation. And it is no fun. Especially on shows where the crew has been working together for a long time. We are an industry of free agents, and you are only as strong as your connections and referrals. If you have only been working with the same crew for an extended period of time, you might have a tougher time getting back in the game. Some retire. Some take extended vacations. Some of us crew up on pilots. I’ve decided to write. 

Having access to a multitude of stories, people, and situations has inspired me to jump head first into being a writer/director. I’m a graduate of Howard University, and the DGA Training Program, so I’ve been trained in the best of both worlds. I will still AD; if the phone rings tomorrow, and actually want to assist maverick filmmakers realize their vision. But, in the mean time, I am writing to direct. This has been 5 years in the making. I have a mean story to tell.

This article is related to: What's Your Story?


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