In the dynamic world of independent filmmaking, Syd Denise Taylor stands out as a rising star, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. As the creative force behind Shades of Cinema, her production company, Syd’s recent film, “Gotcha,” has garnered acclaim at prestigious festivals, including the BronzeLens Film Festival, Afrikana Film Festival, AspireTV, and African Diaspora Network.

In a recent conversation with Syd, she shared insights into her journey and offered valuable advice for aspiring filmmakers. Let’s dive into the highlights of our discussion:

Navigating Tough Choices:
When asked about the most challenging decision she faced this year, Syd opened up about the difficulty of cutting an actor due to budget constraints. Despite the fear and uncertainty, she powered through, showcasing her resilience and determination.

The Impact of BTFC:
Syd spoke glowingly about her experience with the Black TV & Film Collective (BTFC). Participating in their screenwriting labs proved instrumental in her growth as a screenwriter, connecting her with filmmakers nationwide. The BTFC also played a pivotal role in linking her with AspireTV, leading to a distribution deal for her film. Syd encourages fellow filmmakers to engage in workshops, events, and labs through organizations like BTFC, recognizing them as potential gateways to opportunities.

Words of Wisdom for New Filmmakers:
In simple yet powerful terms, Syd’s advice to emerging filmmakers is to create fearlessly. She stresses the importance of attending film events, networking with peers, and gaining a thorough understanding of the business side of filmmaking. Connecting with industry professionals, securing mentors, and participating in relevant workshops can open doors to unforeseen opportunities.

Current Projects:
Syd is a multi-talented creator working on diverse projects. She is currently producing a podcast, “Reel Insights,” delivering authentic movie reviews by Black Women Filmmakers. Simultaneously, she is crafting a horror/comedy feature film titled “Dirty Dee,” exploring the impact of cancel culture on a renowned sex therapist.

A Vision for the Future:
Syd’s vision board reflects her commitment to pouring her most vulnerable self into her work, creating timeless films for the global majority. She aspires to achieve financial success from her films, engage in international speaking engagements, and foster a supportive community for fellow creators.

Inspiration and Self-Care:
Syd draws inspiration from trailblazing filmmakers like Mara Brock Akil, Kasi Lemmons, and Spike Lee. Her love for Atlanta, which she considers the Black Mecca, is evident in her vibrant community building. To sustain her creativity, Syd follows a self-care regimen that includes nature walks, hot yoga, sound meditation, journaling, spa dates, and a variety of teas shared with loved ones.

Syd’s Watch List:

Favorite Film: “Love Jones” for its relatable Black love story and the beautiful connection through poetry.
Must-Watch TV Show: “The Other Black Girl” – an essential narrative for Black women.

Character Identifications: Syd sees herself akin to Joan from “Girlfriends,” having transitioned from a corporate job to pursue her purpose, mirroring Joan’s unwavering focus on success.
Syd Denise Taylor, with her dedication, vision, and creative prowess, exemplifies the spirit of independent filmmaking, proving that dreams can flourish with resilience, community, and a passion for storytelling. Follow her journey on all platforms @shades0fcinema.