We had the good fortune of connecting with Derwin Graham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derwin, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
My favorite quote or affirmation that I constantly tell myself is this. There is only one of YOU. That’s an interesting thing when you think about it. That means that no one else in the world thinks the way you do. No one else has the same ideas as you. No one can do what you do, because there is only one version of YOU. Lean into that and trust yourself because you within yourself are unique.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work professionally in the documentary film industry. I mainly work on the archival producing side of things. That just means I find and help source all of the archive footage that you see when watching documentary films. Most notably, I handled the archival material for ESPN and the Emmy award winning docu-series, ‘The Last Dance’. Besides archive producing, I enjoy working in the entire process of documentary filmmaking. I work on my own personal projects aside from working within the industry. I’ve directed, produced, edited and more with documentary film.
I’ve worked for notable production companies such as ESPN, National Geographic, HBO, TIME, Religion of Sports, and 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. I think that this is what sets me apart from others. I’ve been blessed enough to be able to work on documentary films at the highest level possible, so that has helped me hone in on my own filmmaking in the process. I’ve been able to see what goes into making award winning content on a daily basis, and that’s helped me see what the standard is for high level documentary filmmaking. I am most proud of the fact that I was able to recently finish up my masters this year while still working in the industry. I received my MFA in Documentary Production & Studies from the University of North Texas this past spring. A huge achievement for me to see it through despite already being in the field I was planning on being in after finishing the program.
I got to where I am today professionally by being quick to learn and take on tasks that pushed me creatively as a filmmaker. By not being afraid to show what I have to offer and the skillsets I already had prior to getting into the industry, I was able to display I have what it takes to help make an impact in the industry. Also, just by having a good spirit and energy when working. People love being around others that will make for a better workplace. I think that me being a naturally good spirited individual helped me make lasting impressions on people. Someone will be quick to remember those that were kind to them. Lastly, by simply creating. Whether that was for work or personally, always honing in on my craft helped me stay sharp across the board. You stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready. It was not easy, but the process was fun because you have something to constantly work toward. PROGRESSION NOT REGRESSION is my motto.
I overcame challenges by simply believing in God, believing in myself and believing in the abilities that were both learned and within me already. I learned a lot of lessons on my journey thus far. One important lesson was to be ready to take on any assignment because you never know what finishing that assignment can lead to. Once you show that you can do something, it can open up doors for a whole new position for you.
I simply want the world to know that I’m here in a space where there aren’t a lot of people that look like me, and that if they have an interest in this industry to not be afraid to jump into it as well. There are so many stories of ours that are ready to be told, all that they are waiting for is the right group of people to come along and do so. Never be afraid to create, and never be afraid to pursue your passion relentlessly.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Off rip, I’d have to take them to this good little food spot called Stuff’d Wings. Wings that area literally stuffed with dirty rice, shrimp, boudin, crawfish, etc. I can’t forget about Lotus and the Loud Pack with crack sauce as well. Drinks wise, I’m a daiquiri connoisseur, so I’d take them to the Beaux Coo Daiquiri spot or Bourbon St Daiquiri. I may even take them to Kamp or Prospect just to show them that. I’m an avid roller skater, so I’d take them to Fun City Sk8 in nearby Webster, TX to Adult Skate Night with DJ Techtrix. The vibes there are crazy, on par with the movie ATL type of thing. Weekend wise, especially with the weather getting warm, we’d be outside in the Midtown area. We’d even hit a little day pool party at Clé. I mainly chill and save money versus being outside like that though haha! The average person would probably throw in Turkey Leg Hut too since that’s social media friendly to go pop out to.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout my son, Derwin III. You have inspired me to go above and beyond to reach my fullest potential. Thank you for opening my eyes constantly. I love you so much baby boy.
IG: artbynato_ ; renphoto_12 ; @joeejoiijoey (B&W photo)