BE MAGAZINE – Tell us about yourself & what got you into writing and directing???
D.J. – I am D.J. Coleman and my 10 year journey BEgan at BEthune Cookman University where I was a former student. I went to a white high school, but had never got the chance to see a black play. The first play I ever saw was the stage play for the motion picture “For Colored Girls”. I came to ATL for a summer, and was staying with my God mother . She took me to see the play “BEhind Closed Doors” by Tyler Perry and T.D. Jakes. I had never seen anything like the “Chitlin Circuit” style of theater. After returning to BEthune Cookman in 2000 “BEhind his mask” which used to be called “I Shall Overcome”, was born, which I produced. I eventually partnered with the student government, JC Penny , Aaron’s Rental, and others who BElieved in the dream to produce this play. They provided furniture , costumes and everything we needed to make this happen. To my surprise it was sold out and was the BEginning of many stage plays on campus. The play was eventually submitted to the “National Black Theater Festival” and ended up getting selected for the readers series.
The stage play consisted of the Late Alaina Reed-Hall (Rose from 227) ,The Bailiff from “Judge Judy” Petri Hawkins-Byrd and the leading guy from Beyonce’s “If I were a boy” video, Eddie Goin, who also played for the Seattle Seahawks.
BE MAGAZINE – What do you feel sets your work apart from others in the film industry?
D.J. – I wouldn’t say it sets me apart, but I do think I have the creative genius to captivate an audience. Each artist, when they find their niche, although some things could BE the same story, it’s your touch that makes you different. At the end of the day, I want my stories to pierce peoples hearts, and then they escape and go where I’m going through the illusions I portray.
BE MAGAZINE – With your work, what is your ultimate goal?
D.J. – I just started my own film company , ColemanWorks Films.. With that I hope to produce stories for people who have great stories but are unheard. I want to BE able to BE a dream giver and provide stories of our lives and have them BE here.
BE MAGAZINE – How did the cast come together for your new movie BEhind His Mask?
D.J.- To piggyback on the evolution of this movie, I missed the deadline for Tribeca Film festival. After reading everything you needed to do for submission, I felt this was out of my league. I had no idea what a storyboard, was, I didn’t know about Take 2’s. I was stretched to go to another level that I thought I couldn’t go to. I ended up teaming up with people at my church. We have a production team that got word of what I was trying to do . This generated many meetings , I learned how to create storyboards. I procrastinated for almost months on the storyboard. It was actually supposed to BE a trailer for investment purposed for a potential movie. Once I put my mind to it , it took a week to get the screenplay done. I sent it to the Writers Guild. The difference BEtween the film and the book I’m writing is I was given more creativity to tell the story.
BE MAGAZINE -Why did you decide to produce your movie in Atlanta and what made you move here?
D.J. – It seemed to BE the metropolis of business and a progressive state for African Americans. It inspired me to come here BEcause I had never heard of a black run city. The media also helped to influence my move. It gave me the reality that I have come to know in the last 5 years since I’ve moved here.
BE MAGAZINE – we thank you for sharing your story with us and we look forward to everything that is to come. We will BE on the look out for “BEhind His Mask”