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Writer/Producer Walter Harris Gavin Tells His Story. What's Yours?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 8, 2013 at 12:01PM

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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"The Autobiography of Obsidian Dumar"
"The Autobiography of Obsidian Dumar"

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, writer/producer Walter Harris Gavin shares his story:

I'M 65 NOW AND HAVE BEEN A WRITER/PRODUCER FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER.

WHEN I STARTED OUT AND FOLKS WOULD ASK ME WHAT I WAS GOING TO SCHOOL FOR, "WHAT'S YOUR MAJOR?" AND WHEN I WOULD ANSWER "RADIO, TV & FILM." 

THE RETORT WOULD INVARIABLY BE, "OH, YOU'RE GOING TO LEARN HOW TO FIX TV'S."

"I'M GOING TO MAKE TV PROGRAMS AND PRODUCE FILMS," I PROTESTED.

THERE WOULD BE A BLANK LOOK ON THE PERSON'S FACE.

"CAN YOU MAKE MONEY DOING THAT?"

THAT'S THE SIXTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR QUESTION. ISN'T IT?

AFTER I HAD GRADUATED COLLEGE I GOT SOME JOBS FREELANCING ON A FEW DOCUMENTARIES AND PROJECTS FOR THE U.S NAVY.

MARRIED WITH A DAUGHTER ON THE WAY, I NEEDED A "REAL" JOB SO I ENDED UP IN CORPORATE ADVERTISING, BUT ALWAYS DREAMING OF MAYBE ONE DAY MAKING IT BIG IN HOLLYWOOD.

SO I WOULD GET UP AT 4AM BEFORE GOING TO WORK TO WRITE SCREENPLAYS. I GOT SO MANY REJECTIONS SAYING MOSTLY THEY WEREN'T "COMMERCIAL" ENOUGH. CODE FOR TOO BLACK I'M SURE.

I HAD ONE OF MY SCRIPTS READ BY OSSIE DAVIS WHO ENCOURAGED ME TO KEEP WRITING. I MET HIM SOME YEARS LATER AND TOLD HIM THAT STORY AND WE HAD A GOOD LAUGH.

MY BIG "BREAK" CAME IN 1981 WHEN MY PARTNER AT THE TIME, BOB LOTT AND I, SCROUNGED TOGETHER SOME MUSIC VIDEOS, PUT TOGETHER A PILOT, CALLED IT THE GAVIN & LOTT SHOW, A BLACK MUSIC MAGAZINE. FOR THREE YEARS FROM 1982 TO 1985 THE SHOW COVERED 75% OF THE NATION AND AIRED IN 11 OF THE TOP 20 MARKETS IN NATIONAL SYNDICATION, INCLUDING THE BIG APPLE.

I DIDN'T GET RICH NOR DID I MAKE IT TO HOLLYWOOD. AND FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS I PLIED MY TRADE, USING MY SKILLS AND TALENTS IN CLIENT DRIVEN PROJECTS FOR MARKETING, PROMOTION, AND CORPORATE/BUSINESS INFORMATION. BUT DREAMS DIE HARD.

SO NOW THAT I'M "RETIRED," OR SHOULD I SAY OF RETIREMENT AGE I'M BACK TO THE FUTURE, DEVELOPING PROJECTS FOR TELEVISION AND MOTION PICTURE DISTRIBUTION UNDER MY GAVIN MEDIA NU WORLD BANNER (WWW.OBSIDIANDUMAR.COM). STILL CHASING THE DREAM.

TO ALL OF THOSE YOUNG FOLKS JUST STARTING OUT I SAY, "NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER GIVE IN, WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IN A WAY."

WHG

Walter Harris Gavin
Writer/Producer/Author/Radio Personality/Social Commentarian
"The Autobiography of Obsidian Dumar"

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


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