Drama. Suspense. Betrayal. Love. Hate. Truth. Entertaining. These are some of the words that can be used for Ebony J. Lewis and the original web series “Truth Unspoken”. Ebony J. Lewis is called by many credible people one of the most hard working upcoming young woman in the independent film industry. Ebony born and raised in the North Bronx New York is a Pace University graduate, a member of the elite Writers Guild of America (WGA) and a member of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT).
The past few years have been project filled for Ebony both working behind and acting in front of the camera. May 2011 she completed 7 episodes of a web series she has wrote and directed called Truth Unspoken. Ebony has produced many film projects including a 6 time award winning short film shot on the Ivory Coast in Africa and New York City in 2010 called “Abidjan”. She landed a principle role on Saturday Night Live along side Tina Fay, Steve Martin and Justin Bieber as Nadine “The Nanny”. She was also on the A&E series Fugitive Chronicles playing “Melanie” in the “Larry Davis” story. Ebony was just recently cast as principle in a 2011 NY Daily New Commercial. She lives by a favorite phrase “Busy people get things done” and has a resume to prove it.
Black Entertainment Television (BET) is responsible for giving Ebony a start in the film and production industry when she landed an internship while in college. She went on to have a successful career in finance and while climbing to the top she realized it was not for her. In 2006 Ebony J Lewis took a risk and jumped full-time into the film and entertainment industry and has no regrets. Ebony is also an accomplished drummer and percussionist; she has played since the age of six.
Ebony is very involved in her project. She writes, directs and acts in her own web series. This project is very serious to her and that passion resonates with the viewers as they watch her web series drama unfold before their eyes.
About Truth Unspoken
Truth Unspoken Web Series is a suspense love drama about a guy named Jay (Christopher Howard, One Life to Live) who wants to marry his lady, Tracy (Ebony J. Lewis, Writer/Director) but finds out she has a secret that is more then he could imagine, yet she is not the only one with a secret, he has one too.
After the first 3 episodes aired on the web in March 2011 the audience wanted more. The creator of the series, Ebony J. Lewis got the opportunity to become a member of the WGA and decided to write and direct 7 more episodes. She teamed up with casting director Winsome Sinclair and went into production thus making the project a full season of 10 episodes.
The new episodes ties into the original story line but evolves into suspenseful stories of its own. Everyone in this beautiful suspense-driven cast has a story (conflict) and they are looking for love in spite of oppositions – making the content desirable and enticing which are recipes for instant success.
Since the original film, a good amount of new characters have been added to the already set cast. The new cast includes Tobias Truvillion (One life to live and Brooklyn’s finest), Sachika Twins ( NYC and LA Fashion Designers), Ty Hodges ( LA Actor and Film Director), Liris Crosse (The Best Man, Satellite Radio Host).
Truth Unspoken was the official choice of the HBO August 2009 Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival and official choice of the Kodak Mid Atlantic Black Film Festival September 2009 Norfolk, VA, It was shown in the Women in Cinema Festival in November and it’s made it’s Los Angeles debut In December 2009 at the 16th Annual African American Film Market place & S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase. January 2010 Truth Unspoken was shown at a venue in Utah during the festivities of The Sundance Film Festival. Truth Unspoken was also featured in the NYWIFT (New Women In Film & Television) Spot light showcase in 2010.
Fabulize Mag caught up with the director and actress for an interview. I found Ebony J. Lewis on Twitter and I just so happened to click her link and I found myself really entertained and involved with what I was watching. In fact, I was excited that this young woman was creating a quality and sincere film piece that has a strong story-line with professional actors.
•Ebony Lewis, how are you making your art different from other black directors, especially those in mainstream media? Do you feel an obligation as a woman to be more protective of how black women are portrayed in media?
EBONY: I’m not trying to make my art different from other main stream black directors I’m just trying to stay true to my vision and my truth. Everyone is different so I feel if we all stay true to our vision as individuals, all of our work will naturally be different. And yes, I do feel an obligation to be more protective of how black woman are portrayed in the media. Being a black woman I know more about black women and what we like and expect from out loved ones and society in general. We are all beautifully different. I choose to write about good people who also have a few issues they are dealing with.
•Your web series is incredible. After playfully chatting with you on twitter I just happened to click your link and was quickly intrigued and entertained by your webseries, how did the characters develop?
EBONY: Thank you so much for your compliment on the web series! I am glad you enjoyed the first 3 episodes!! We just shot 7 more episodes that have not yet been released . So look out for that. I guarantee you and everyone else will enjoy it!! I added so many characters in it! I’ve added more characters and developed them based on personality traits that I feel everyone can relate to. There is the quiet type, loud, sassy, comedic, humble type and so on. So what I did was mix two personalities together and then a relatable character is created. I make it sound like a science but it is much easier than that. (Smiles)
•This web series resonates with so many couples, not being honest, having outside influence, insecurities etc. Why did you choose to highlight this issue?
EBONY: I wanted to highlight these issues because I really feel if people were more honest with each other in their relationships this world would be a much better place. There would be less hurting people walking around, less violence, less insecurities, less infidelities and more trust. I have a personal story about that. In 2004, my 18 year old brother was killed by his 18 year old girlfriend. We hear stories like this all the time. The root of a lot of these circumstances is dishonesty and mistrust. So I wanted to touch on that subject in a relatable way. The message ultimately is that our life is determined by our decisions and the foundation of our decision should be honesty or “Truth” if you will.
•You wear many hats in this project: You are the starring actress, you direct and produce, how do you jungle so many jobs within this project?
EBONY: It was not easy, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I just get focused into that work zone and take it one step at a time. I know what I want. Sometimes I am doing 4 things at once but I find being prepared and organized is the key. Things may not always go as planned but a foundation is critical. You can’t just wing it because if will show in the results of your finished product. I also have a great team that I work with. They all go above and beyond the call of duty so I am grateful for them. I could not do this by myself.
•Who is your favorite director? What is your favorite movie?
EBONY: That’s a great question. I don’t just have one I have several. I love the work of Gina Price–Bythewood, Spike Lee and many others. My favorite movie is “Jason’s Lyric” it has everything in it, love, drama, peace, gangsters, church peoples, family, great scenery shots and just everything I feel a movie should include. My other favorite movies are Love & Basketball and the 1975 film Mahogany. Diana Ross played a character named Tracy also. I did not realize that when I was writing Truth Unspoken but it’s pretty cool!
•What inspires you? What made you decide that being a thespian and filmmaker was what you wanted to do?
EBONY: Life inspires me. It is short so we might as well do what we love. I decided to get out of my career in finance because of that very reason.
•Let’s talk fashion. Who is the stylist for this webseries because all the ladies look amazing. The makeup, hair, clothes and accessories are all Fabulize Mag worthy.
EBONY: A friend of mine named BJ Frith styled the ladies and handled the make up and hair. She has an amazing jewelry collection and she handled that part of it also. A stylist by the name of Stacy Jordan styled the men. For the upcoming episodes, we also had two outstanding make up artists, Miyako Johnson and Daverene Beckett! You will see a lot from the designers of “Sachika” ,who are referred to as the “Sachika Twins” . We shot a few scenes in their NYC fashion loft and they are also in the web series.
•Does this webseries have a budget? I’m asking because it looks so clean and professional and I’ve seen directors and actors trying to do what you do, but it lacks the quality your web series have.
EBONY: Thank you so much! Yes, we did have a budget. I won’t disclose what it was but I do strive to put out quality work.
•Whats next for you? What does the future hold for Ebony J. Lewis?
EBONY: I have two other projects of my own that I am working on. I’m really excited about that. I’m going to continue acting and hmmm next stop for me may be LA…!
•The character that you play in your webseries, how does she relate to you personally?
EBONY: I play a character named Tracy. She is a good woman that has a humbleness to her that is really attractive, but she is going through some issues in her life. She has made decisions that may not have been the best, but she is striving to be a better person. I can relate to that. The details of this character’s story don’t relate to my life personally. My story is not this interesting lol. But I feel she is one of the most relatable characters in the series. Thank you for this interview. Your questions were amazing some of the best that I’ve been asked!