This is Alicia.
Alicia, tell us more about how you got into producing & directing?
I knew at a young age that I wanted to be an entertainer.
When I was a kid, I would put on all kinds of different performances for my family; from song and dance, to little skits and improvs.
I actually really wanted to be a pop star. One time, my elementary school let me put on a performance at a school assembly. It was me and my friends dancing and lip-syncing to the Spice Girls.
I guess you could say that’s the first thing I ever produced and directed; I was 7 years old.
Fast forward – I moved to Los Angeles from San Diego, my hometown, when I was 19.
I started to pursue acting for film/tv by first going to a college for performing arts but I left after two semesters and then began to really pursue working in the industry.
I did some small projects here and there, even did some background work with Disney and Nickelodeon, but I didn’t feel satisfied with just performing.
I had so much more going on in my head visually; and that’s really when I knew I needed to be behind the camera to really express myself.
However, I am so grateful for my times with Disney and Nick because that’s really where I learned the most about being behind the scenes.
I would talk to cameramen, ask questions, and learn from production assistants; I just wanted to really soak it all in.
A few years later a good friend of mine from college, Kelby Joseph, was starting a production company and he called me up and asked if I wanted to partner with him; and that’s really where my official journey began, with KKO Productions.
Could you tell us some of your favorite things you've got to work on over the years?
I am obsessed with music videos. I don’t know if it’s because I thought I was going to be a pop star when I was little, but some of my favorite projects to work on are music videos.
When I listen to music, I don’t even have to close my eyes, there is so much that goes on in my mind. So much vision, so much expression, and colors.
I remember every project differently, because with every project you learn more about the craft, about yourself as a director, and so long as you allow yourself to be a learner, you will get better.
One of my favorite videos I’ve done was for singer/songwriter, Heather Harvin, the song is called "Addiction."
The song is so emotional and raw so we wanted to make sure the video really captured that.
But I’m really excited to begin venturing out as a director and taking on more challenging projects.
How would you best describe your directing style?
I’m super artsy! Since I do have a background in acting, I know how important it is to create a space for your team to feel safe and allow input, especially from your performers.
While as a director, I have the final say, but I also believe people are in their positions because they can execute the job they have and you have to trust them in that in hopes that they'll grow and learn in the process.
Specifically with music videos, I believe it's important the director see's themselves as a supportive role to the artist, especially if the artist wrote the song themselves.
The song began with their vision, a director should help continue to guide and support their vision, and ultimately bring it to life.
If I had to put a name to my style, I would call it the “creative artist," I think that’s what it’s considered.
Alicia, what sort of advice would you give aspiring directors or producers?
Two of the best ways to learn anything is through: 1. immersion and 2. from your own mistakes.
Get working in Hollywood as soon as you can. Whether you’re an extra, a stand-in, or a PA, get on set and learn.
Talk to everyone, soak it all in; and on the weekends, shoot your own stuff and learn from the mistakes you’re bound to make.
School is great, but YouTube is free and Google isn’t broken.
Nothing can replace real life experience.
Do you have anything that is new or upcoming that we can expect to see from you?
In February, I directed a visual album that is set to be released this summer.
It’s a compilation of 6 songs, written and sung by Heather Harvin, based on her own journey in finding love and overcoming heartbreak.
I’m also in the middle of developing a couple of projects that will reveal some really vulnerable parts of my own life, specifically the last 7 years where I was heavily involved in a pretty controlling religious organization.
That should be interesting and slightly scary to let people in on my own life, heart, and mind but I think it’s part of a healing process for myself.
Follow Alicia Raye: