WCW: Che Grayson: Storyteller

I said it a few times and I’ll say it again: I am so grateful to have found the Geek Girl Brunch Community. I have met so many amazing women through it and wonderful friends. 

 Che Grayson is one of the women I met along the way!

Che is a Brooklyn based filmmaker, writer and TED speaker from Long Island, New York. Che grew up with her mothers, little brother; spending most of her time watching black-and-white films and 80s horror flicks.  Her award-winning films have been shown internationally and her writing has been featured in Teen Vogue and Image Comics.

Photo credit: Chegrayson.com

Photo credit: Chegrayson.com

I had the opportunity to connect with Che and discuss her recent project Magic Hour! A new online horror/sci fi story that puts LGBTQ people and people of color as leads!  

For the pilot episode, titled “Soul-Search,” model, activist, and Pose actor Indya Moore stars as a modern Frankenstein looking for a soul and purpose in life.

Che recently debuted the trailer for episode one as the Kickstarter for episode 2 launched in July:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chegrayson/magic-hours-pilot-episode-starring-indya-moore 

Written/Directed by Che Grayson Starring & Executive Produced by Indya Moore Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2Nr3dKZ

O.C.O: Why do you consider yourself a “nerd activist"? 

C.G: I thought of the term as a way to combine my greatest passions: fandoms and social justice. I feel like they're not mutually exclusive and a some of the greatest stories (i.e. X-men, Black Panther and Steven Universe) have an amazing way of highlighting the experiences of marginalized communities and those who have felt "bothered." All of these heroes and fictional character believe in justice so in a way a nerd or geek is also someone aligned with that same belief in justice and equality (at least the compassionate ones)  

O.C.O: Why is Dumbledore your favorite wizard based on your 2016 Ted Talk?

C.G: I think Dumbledore is one of the most thoughtfully complex characters in children's literature. He galvanized an entire generation of witches and wizards and ultimately led to the defeat of one of the most nefarious characters in history. And it's not just what he does that I love and respect so much, it's what he says. J.K. Rowling gave him some of the dopest lines in seven books. Constantly dropping knowledge and truth when Harry needed it most and I honestly needed it too as a reader. Honestly what's not to love about Dumbledore? 

O.C.O: What’s harder: Getting started or being able to keep going?

C.G: I love getting started on things. I have new ideas in my mind all the time, when I'm walking the dog or when I'm trying to sleep. But by far, the hardest thing to do is to keep going. Sometimes finishing something can seem nearly impossible and the only way to keep going is just to keep going. It sounds weird but it's true. As a storyteller I've realized that the only way for me to be able to call myself such is if I keep writing and directing and telling stories. But I have to keep telling myself, I can't really call myself a writer if all my stories are stuck in my head and not on the page and that's one of the things that keeps me going.

O.C.O: Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?

C.G: I started making films in college. So I never really saw it as a hobby it felt more like a calling the moment I finished my first script. It's why I went to film school because I felt it was so much more than just a passion or hobby of mine but it was a destiny I had to work toward. The hardest part has been making a living of it after film school. I'm still working on that part but I get closer every day and with every project that I finish. 

O.C.O: When inspiration is waning, when do you feel creatively sapped, what do you do, how do you overcome it?

C.G: When things get hard I always search for inspiration, whether it's making a playlist on Spotify, a mood board on Pinterest or just having a writing session with a friend to keep me going. I also just take my writing one-day at a time. I make myself write two pages a day even when it's 10 at night and everyone is sleeping. That's actually the best time for me to get writing done. And sometimes when I'm working on a film I just need to watch a good more or when I'm writing my novel I just need to pick up a good book to remind me that what I'm striving for is possible.

O.C.O: What’s your superpower or spirit animal?

C.G: For my super power I would want to be just like Jean Grey she is both the strongest and most compassionate of superheroes and I've always been fascinated by the true power of the mind. 

O.C.O: What advice would you give aspiring artists who want to use their platform as a way to resist and give back during these weird times?

C.G: I think is this digital age it's more important than ever to stand up for yourself and for others who are on the right side of history. Art can be a cathartic and empowering way to tackle real-life issues on a personal, national and even global scale. If you feel you have a story to tell, tell it. Make a kickstarter, start a blog, get the word out. There is an audience for you who is hungry for the stories you're bursting to tell. 

Support Magic Hour y’all: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chegrayson/magic-hours-pilot-episode-starring-indya-moore the Kickstarter campaign ends in six days! 

Artwork by  Sashko Danylenko

Artwork by Sashko Danylenko

You can follow Che on Instagram and Twitter as well as Magic Hour TV on Instagram!

xo

Kos

 

WCW: Akua Harris-When Geeks Travel

Summer is winding down, . . .sadly.  Time to indulge in that last BBQ, beach and rooftop get together with friends before the autumn leaves start to fall.  I am excited to say that I am also ending my summer by attending DragonCon in Atlanta; one of the largest cons in the east coast.  I’m excited, as this is my first regional comic con. I am also inspired by my niece, Akua Harris, who has attended many regional comic cons through the years.   

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Akua featured on  Buzzfeed's  NYCC round up for her Rogue Cosplay

Akua featured on Buzzfeed's NYCC round up for her Rogue Cosplay

Akua was born on Star Wars Day “May The Fourth Be With You” we also grew up together.  Although she is my niece, in reality, she is more like my sister.  There is a difference of four years between us. 

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Akua is smart, beautiful, creative and passionate about what she does; particularly about traveling, cosplay and gaming.  Her travels had led her create the group “When Geeks Travel” a travel initiative celebrating the geek in all of us.  She is passionate about her cosplay costumes; meticulous in every detail.  Cosplay is truly an art form.  Akua’s Cosplays are always on point!  And, did I mention she is fluent in Spanish. 

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Akua in addition to attending comic cons all over the country, works in digital marketing offering her services to Black Girl Gamers and is also an officer at Geek Girl Brunch NYC.  Geek Girl Brunch,  was founded in NYC about three years ago, is an awesome group that meets once a month, with a new theme and a new place where geek girls like us can meet up with a mimosa and talk all things geek. The organization has expanded across the country, to the Caribbean and Europe! 

In between work and prepping for upcoming DragonCon in Atlanta, I was able to ask Akua a few questions about prior cosplays and what advice she might offer to aspiring geek girls.

O.C.O:  What's your favorite cosplay to date?
A.H: Probably Spidergwen for the comfortability of it. I could wear it all day, which is important for a cosplay!

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O.C.O:  What advice would you give a budding geek girl going to her first ever comic con?
A.H:  Take an emergen-c in the morning, bring portable chargers and download the con app - that's what's been most helpful for me at least. Don't get caught up in your cosplay being perfect either, half the time no one notices it isn't perfect but you. Spend that energy having fun instead!

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O.C.O:  Tell us more about the NYC division of Geek Girl Brunch
A.H:  We've become a bit of a family and I imagine a lot of the other chapters have developed that kind of relationship as well. I've seen a lot of friendships blossom and flourish because of GGB. Outside of brunch we coordinate movie dates, holiday parties and even trips. We have a lot of entrepreneurs in our chapter as well, and I love seeing how supportive the girls are of one another. 

Photo credit: Geek Girl Brunch NYC

Photo credit: Geek Girl Brunch NYC

Photo credit: Geek Girl Brunch NYC

Photo credit: Geek Girl Brunch NYC

O.C.O:  What do you like the most about Dragoncon as a cosplay and media professional
A.H:  I like Dragoncon for the fact it’s by the fans for the fans. A lot of our cons are more business focused than fan focused now, so I appreciate more than ever that Dcon will never be that.


O.C.O:  When did you decide to take your cosplay to the next level (mashups etc.)
A.H:  When I was planning a Darth Vader cosplay I wanted to put my own spin on it, rather than just be regular Vader. And I for some reason like to wonder about which Hogwarts house a character would belong to, so I took that and ran with it. 

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O.C.O:  Marvel or DC?
A.H:  Marvel
 

O.C.O:  Favorite female comic book character.
A.H:  Currently Penny Rolle. I'm late to pick up on bitch planet, and now that I have I love it. She's the embodiment of self-acceptance and having zero fucks to give regarding other people's opinions of you. 

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O.C.O:  Where can folks see you next? 

A.H:  My next cons are Dragoncon and NYCC. Socially, my cosplay/personal pages are @Astylishjedi on every channel. I also started a geek travel group - When Geeks Travel - and you can find it @Whengeekstravel on any channel. 

Artwork by  Monique Steele

Artwork by Monique Steele

Folks going to Dragoncon, Akua has partnered up with Blerds Who Brunch for their Dragoncon event on September 3rd.  Use the code “WHENGEEKSTRAVEL“ for 20% off tickets and meet Akua!  You can purchase tickets here.

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xo

Kos