“#WeirdMYAH”: An Underdog Story About Determination, Persistence, and Striving to Make a Mark in Television
How an HBCU graduate and former veterinary assistant is becoming an unlikely success story.
The following article was written by Joel Eisenberg and Myah Naomi Lipscomb.
Joel: It’s a wonderful thing being a writer.
You stick around long enough and you get noticed. Then you sell books, movies, television shows, poetry … whatever you set your mind to.
If, of course, you remain persistent, and disciplined.
And then, once you get noticed and sell, if you’re lucky you’ll be asked to speak. Whether you speak at film conferences or writers events, all things being well you’re flown out to various cities, states and countries to meet and inspire fellow creatives.
That right there is one of the most fulfilling parts of what I do for a living.
And that’s how I met #WeirdMyah who, in reality, isn’t that weird at all.
Myah: I am 28-years-old, was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Adelphi, Maryland. I currently live in Nashville, Tennessee and have for the last ten years. I am the only child to my parents, Sylvester H. Lipscomb and Chandra Norman Lipscomb, who have been unconditionally supportive of all of my endeavors.
I attended Tennessee State University as an undergrad, an Historically Black College and University (HBCU), where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and also became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I attained my Master of Fine Arts degree in Film & Creative Media from Lipscomb University and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
My chosen career is filmmaking.
Joel: In the summer of 2019, I attended Nashville’s Film-Com as a guest panelist. This was my fourth trek to Film-Com (www.film-com.com), which I believe will soon prove to be the most productive of them all.
Myah: I started working on #WeirdMYAH in early 2015 shortly after leaving my job as a Veterinary Assistant. Although Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine was my background, I always had a passion for film and television, and a natural skill for writing, videography, and editing. I was frustrated by some of the images I saw portrayed on TV, particularly of men and women of color. My desire was to create content with positive representations and be a positive role model for young girls and youth in general.
Joel: When I speak to new filmmakers, I feel as though I am spending time with my brothers and sisters, as we are all members of an artistic community.
I believe art breaks down walls. Regardless of skin color, culture and religion, though we must celebrate our differences we are also largely the same. We are all human, and I strive to both write and partner on work that can resonate with us all.
By so doing, I would also like to expose such cultures, of which many of us are not familiar, to the masses.
It’s not so easy, however. I’ve learned this much from speaking to many thousands of artists over the years: Regardless of achievement level, many feel a sense of concern, sometimes insecurity, that the work within which they pour their souls is simply not good or meangingful enough.
Myah: The concept of #WeirdMYAH resulted from sometimes feeling “different,” although I took pride in being an individual. Sometimes if “being yourself” is going against the grain of what’s normal, you may be put in a box as being different … or, in my case, “weird.” The truth is, we all are a bit weird. It’s what makes us who we are. I want to inspire others to embrace that!
Shortly after beginning graduate school for Film, I made an attempt to launch #WeirdMYAH. Long story short, it failed. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have much knowledge. It was rushed. During this time, it was suggested by someone that I may be wasting my time, I couldn’t accomplish my goal without a big budget, and I essentially missed my mark. For most that may be heartbreaking and discouraging, and while it was, it gave me the momentum to push even harder. I knew I had this idea for a reason, so I kept going. I’m glad I did!
I decided to take a smaller approach and create a webseries version of my show. While in Film school, with the help and support of my parents, friends, classmates, and professors, I did just that. I produced a five-episode webseries, along with a full-length episode, which was my graduate thesis film project. That episode won “Best TV Pilot” at the National Black Film Festival in Houston, Texas, and was also featured in the Nashville Film Festival.
I met Joel at a second Nashville event, Film-Com.
I was nervous, but my time was now.
Joel: Myah had the “it” factor. I saw it right away. One of the events of Film-Com is for aspiring filmmakers to pitch executives. I was, fortunately, one of the group Myah had pitched.
The following teaser is a later version of what was shown at the event, to a group including myself and maybe a dozen others:
I was charmed. The first teaser was, I believed, a bit rough around the edges, but Myah herself, and her pitch, filled a need.
To my knowledge, the last time a show aired on television about an HBCU, to any degree of popularity and acclaim, was “A Different World” back in the 80s.
Myah — the real life version — was an HBCU grad. It’s been far too long for such representation to re-appear on television.
Myah: My goal has always been for #WeirdMYAH to become a mainstream TV show. The opportunity to pitch at Film-Com was a godsend. It was completely unexpected, but was confirmation that I was on the right path. We have an outlet for our miniseries, which will be announced soon.
Further, we are nearly in the process of pitching to networks for an ongoing series based on #WeirdMYAH. I know my dreams are valid and my hard work and consistency has not been in vain. It means so much to me to bring others along with me on this journey and promote Black and HBCU culture in a positive way.
My cast and crew, many of whom are also HBCU grads and members of Greek organizations, have been so committed to this vision and have really helped bring this show to life. My co-writer, Kelly Keri Greer, also a TSU and Lipscomb grad, has been particularly instrumental in helping me shape #WeirdMYAH into what it has become.
The journey from 2015 to 2020, has been long with #WeirdMYAH but worth it. I have always relied on my strong faith in God to keep me motivated and encouraged, and I am so blessed and grateful!
Joel: Myah was on my mind during Film-Com, and after. I knew there was something to this project. Indeed, time went on. Myah signed her first program deal with me, and we were off to the races.
As Myah mentioned that we have attained a television outlet for the miniseries that we will announce shortly, I will let that announcement come from her in due time.
For now, I can say I’m honored to be a part of Myah’s world, and her life. And…a shoutout to her parents for raising such a cool daughter. Parents who support their children in tough endeavors such as this should surely be treasured.
Myah: At the end of the day, I believe everything happens for a reason and we all have a unique purpose to fulfill. It is important to trust the process because what is meant to be, will always be.
I can’t wait for you to see my new show, #WeirdMYAH, coming soon …
Thank you for reading.
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