TWOTF: So tell us a bit about yourself Calvan.
Calvan: I’m a filmmaker based in New York with my own independent film company. As a kid back in High School I always dreamed of working in the film industry. When I left high school I wrote Spike Lee a letter telling him how much I wanted to work with him but I didn’t get a reply.
So I ended up going to college and studying something I really wasn’t into. I was so not into it I ended up leaving college and after leaving, as the luck of life would have it, I met someone working for Spike Lee and he told me I should be working for Spike – I was like I know!
My friend managed to open some doors for me and I got a job at Spike’s company 40 Acres and a Mule as Spike’s Personal Assistant.
TWOTF: What was it like working for him?
Calvan: 40 acres was my school of hard knocks I learnt the ropes there. Movies, music videos, short films, editing. And all before the digital era. Everything was old school so as far as being a filmmaker I really learnt how to be one the traditional way. Nowadays you can make a film with a digital SLR and a laptop but not back then.
TWOTF: So how comes you didn’t stick with Spike?
Calvan: Spike started downsizing and a lot of people were being let go even people who had been with him from the start. I realized quickly when I was also released that one needs to be ready to fly when one is let out of the nest. And I had to learn real quick!
TWOTF: So what came after 40 acres?
I did work for Comedy Central and other big stations like MTV and did what I could to keep going in the film business. But as I continued at one point I’m sitting there realising that I was making money for other people but at the same time I had to do that because I needed to get paid so I could keep working on my own projects. In a city like New York, unfortunately, that is the tough world of being an artist.
But I have kept going and in particular my work creating music videos has given me some level of financial stability and enabled me to get my own projects going.
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