Smoke and Mirrors

So I (Intentionally? Maybe?) caused something of a dust up recently with my recent comments about what I see as a lack of variety in black web series (HERE).

As I said “most of them seem to deal with the lives and loves of 20-something year olds, and they’re all starting to look alike." And I still stand by that comment.

However, there are a few that I’ve seen that break the mold. One is No Strings, Please, and the other is Smoke and Mirrors, created by Atlanta-based filmmakers Artemus Jenkins and KarynRose Bruyning, which does deal with relationships, but in a more off-center, nuanced way.

They’ve just completed episode 7 of their 12 episode series, and this latest chapter, according to Artemus who also plays the lead, while Bruyning writes and directs the series, shows what happens when “Dixon's life finally begins to make a shift in a direction, that appears to be for the better now that he has found someone to fill the empty space in his heart. Yet as we all know, those exes don't always fade gracefully into the background and have their own ways of reminding you that they are still around."

However, I thought it would be interesting to get the filmmakers' perspective on my recent comments, and so I asked Artemus to give us his take and this is what he said:

“I agree with your opinion more on a basis of content produced period. Even at the time when we began thinking about our own series in February, we were very aware of not just the amount of series that covered relationships between black people, but just the fact that black people whether it is movies, books or tv shows, we all seem to love talking about love. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I just think broader views on the topic need to be shared. As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, so as creators I don't think it's about going out of our way to be different, but just finding new ways to tell familiar stories.


“Now even with that being said, there are still a myriad of topics that have yet to be broached online or in series form. What’s stopping people? I don't know. Karyn and I, we go with what’s on our heart at the time. We were actually working on a totally different project and then the stuff with my relationship happened and in a serendipitous fashion we shifted focus to this series”.

And furthermore...

 “It's possible people just feel pressure to produce something they feel people will gravitate to as a whole, or maybe they are just trying to stay with what they know and I guess a lot of creators live the same lives and that's why stuff looks the same. I don't really believe that though, I just think some people are scared to use their imaginations a bit. I think people in general approach a lot of aspects in life as if they have something to lose, when you really analyze things most of us don't have that much worth not taking risks for".

So after you ponder what he said, watch episode 7 of Smoke and Mirrors: