With an academic background in film and television producing as well as digital media, DeLora comes to us with a wide range of experiences. Her talents include acting, writing, directing, and producing! We’re so excited to have you on the team Delora!
How did you find yourself in the world of film and content creation?
The first film I remember seeing as a child was Imitation of Life starring Lana Turner and Juanita Moore. I was just a little girl and had never imagined that heart-wrenching, raw human emotion, and duality of identity could be displayed so beautifully and authentically on the same electronic box that showed my Saturday morning cartoons! I may not have had the words to describe how intrigued I was then, but as a child, I knew I wanted to be a part of whatever it took to make films like that happen over and over again on screens anywhere. I wanted people to experience something life-changing and memorable from films they watched. I knew I wanted people to talk about what they saw with their friends or have deep introspection regarding the imagery they perceived.
Unfortunately, my own duality of identity circumvented my pursuits into the world of film. Why? Because I was taught that stability and financial preparedness were more expedient than creating art. That’s putting it nicely. What really happened was, I was encouraged to “Get yourself a real job at a reputable company.”
My desire to be an actress and filmmaker (or to have anything to do with any art form) succumbed to the pragmatic voice that told me to pursue proven and prudent paths of prosperity. I still enjoyed and coveted the exploration of creativity found in filmmaking and became fascinated with director Spike Lee. Why? It’s because he captured life on screen in a palpable way yet remained artistic. I was drawn to his use of music and rich colors in his 1990 film Mo Betta Blues and the epic nature of Malcolm X (1992) that was riveting, spiritual, and decidedly the best biopic I had ever seen.
I started collecting a mental filmography of my favorite movies, actors, and directors over the years: Judi Dench, Naomi Harris, Kimberly Elise, Denzel Washington, Jack Lemmon, Steven Speilberg, Spike Lee… I fell in love with old movies, new movies, musicals, and animated films too. With all this inspiration, I rebelled and took an introductory acting class held in the auditorium at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University in 2002. I performed a Jesse B. Semple monologue written by Langston Hughes from his anthology, Tales of Simple, and it just so happened that the head of the theater department was in the audience that day. Of all the students who performed that day, he called on me, saying, “Young lady, you’re really good. Do you want to act?” My reply was a lie, “Meh, not really, sir,” but deep down inside, I wanted to scream, “yeeessss, I do!” “Oh.” He paused with disappointment as if to stop himself from offering a wasted opportunity and said, “Well, you’re good, but you’ve gotta want it.” I stood quietly on the stage and silently decided that day would be the last time I denied what I really wanted to do.
My genius solution was to find a way to honor my pragmatic upbringing while still pursuing a television or media profession. So, of course, I joined the Navy and pursued a job as a Public Affairs Officer! Sure, that made a ton of sense! LOL. As God would have it, I got stuck as an Aegis Computer Networking technician and lived on a Navy destroyer ship tinkering with wires, installing power supplies, dispersing bacon, and had countless months of standing as a fully armed guard all over the world. Miraculously, the Navy implemented a program before I deployed called CSADD, where they honored me as a Public Affairs Officer. I also produced, directed, acted, did voice-over, and wrote some short videos for the Navy. Well, whaddya know!
From there, how did your Journey in the industry lead you to Jpixx?
After retiring from the Navy and graduating with a degree in Producing for Film and Television from Regent University, I applied with more confidence for a job relating to what I really endeavor to do. I am now gaining valuable commercial and industry experiences at JPIXX. I count it as a joy and a privilege to be part of this amazing company of talented professionals. I’m learning many skills that I can use to support JPIXX and become better professionally.
What do you enjoy most about Producing?
I enjoy keeping the balls in the air without ever letting them drop. I like being able to give creative input where applicable. Maintaining communication with line producers and interfacing with clients ensures that the original vision of the project still prevails even after post-production and billing are over. I love seeing what we created in our heads come to life. Much of the work I do at JPIXX concerns Production Coordination, assisting in the production office, and interfacing with clients, editors, and freelance contractors. There’s a lot to keep up with. Never a dull moment. I’m blessed to have a great group of co-workers and leaders.
What is your passion project, if you have any?
I am a passionate actor, so my current passion project is a comedic, personal piece where I endeavor to play four to five different roles in a one-woman short film called, It’s Because I’m Black. I’m also producing a documentary trailer about a sailor who faced discrimination in the military.
Do you have any inspirations you draw from creatively?
I love music. I love bright colors. But I am also inspired when I see someone experiencing unexpressed emotions. I wonder what they are thinking, and I want to explore that. I like rooting for the underdog, so stories that show the journey or process of an underdog’s ascension to greater levels of actualization always inspire me. I am inspired by comedy and have a catalog of stand-up comedy jokes I’ve written. One day I’ll take the stage and answer “yes” to that call.
What do you think you bring to the Jpixx team?
I bring sunshine, ginger chews, corny jokes, and overall a big helping hand.
Do you have any specific Jpixx moments that stand out to you?
I think Glenn is always my funny moment at JPIXX! But on a serious note, a moment of realization I had was that the team always wants everyone to succeed. It’s a safe place for creative ideas and learning from mistakes.
If you could give advice to any others who are aspiring to work in the industry what would you say to them?
I would recommend that anyone who is aspiring to work in the industry just go ahead and start working in the industry. Don’t wait! Find a reputable film industry company, whether small or large, and look for ways to offer your gifts and talents in any available position. Give them your all! You might find yourself working at NBCUniversal as an intern or Sony Pictures as mailroom personnel. But guess what? Your feet made it through the doors, and it is only up from there. The second piece of advice is to make time for your own personal projects no matter how busy you are serving in your current job. Don’t forgo your labor of love because you think there isn’t enough time to do it. Find time (even if only for 30 minutes before you go to bed) to do something related to your passion project. Small incremental efforts will grow into a rewarding repertoire of art you are proud of and a good outcome in the long run. Your job may appreciate your well-roundedness and ability to stay relevant.