Conversations with Creatives
Writer, Valerie Udeozor
Annie: Hi, Val! We met 15 (or more?) years ago. It was on your Nurses project. What ended up happening with that project?
Valerie: Yes! Time has flown. That was a Workshop scene for a producers guild fellowship I did. I had written and produced a film called Burned Out Nurse about a nurse who becomes addicted to Vicodin. It’s used in several nursing schools and streaming on Tubi and Bherctv.
Annie: What is the first project you ever wrote?
Valerie: I wrote a stage play called Trapped about teen pregnancy and parenting. I got the actors and just put it up in a local mall. It actually went on for years at school community events and theaters in LA from Compton to the Stella Adler in Hollywood. I received grants from The California Endowment, other sources and kept Trapped going. It was the OG Teen Moms! But a stage play.
Annie: I’m going to ask you something people always ask me, where do your ideas come from? What inspires you?
Valerie: Many things and people touch me. It can be a picture a statement, an article, or a perspective.
Annie: Were you always in touch with your creativity?
Valerie: I feel I have been since a young girl. I never let it go. I always come back to it.
Annie: Do you think it’s in the genes, creativity. Is your family creative? How did creativity show itself in your life growing up?
Valerie: I do. My father wrote and played the flute brilliantly. My mother loved theater and exposed me to it at a young age.
Annie: Who inspired you growing up?
Valerie: I loved Spike Lee’s movies immediately and the TV show, A Different World. I also saw plays by August Wilson and Suzan Lori Parks and thought they were the coolest people in the world.
Annie: You wrote and filmed Set Trippin’ recently and I was honored to have some of my artwork in it. Tell us a little bit about that project.
Valerie: After the double pandemic — I saw so many people evolve and start doing different things. I did want to write out some of the pain I was feeling after George Floyd’s murder 5/25/20. I wrote the pain and frustration of 4 black young adults I know. I also wanted to show some positive outcomes via coping mechanisms through those times.
Annie: What is your favorite project you worked on?
Valerie: That’s a hard one! I have been blessed to work with so many great people and projects. I think the best is yet to come.
Annie: Favorite movie, tv-show, book?
Valerie: I watched The 40-year-old Version on Netflix recently and loved it. Books: memoir A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown I’m reading Barack Obama’s new memoir currently.
Annie: You’re also a nurse (thank you for that! hero!) Do you find inspiration from your job for your writing?
Valerie: Oh yes. The hospital has 8 million stories in it. You are moved by people and “see” and “hear” them for real…it’s moving.
Annie: What are you working on now?
Valerie: I’m working on a documentary film: Birthing While Black. I just shot, Dreams Dirty 30 and I have some features completed and being shopped with my producing partner Shondrella Avery. I have three films streaming on Tubi: Bougie Ass Brandon a comedy Hope For Dating In LA a rom-com and Burned Out Nurse. I have two more on BHERC TV: The Lockdown Club starring Ted Lange from The Love Boat and Deleted about teen cyberbullying.
Annie: Wow! I love how creatively busy you are. That’s how I like to live too. What’s your favorite quote or song lyric or anything else you’d like to say to the folx out there?
Valerie: Mind your mental and physical health right now it’s so important. A wise lady told me recently to focus on the word “inevitable” which is the creative success I want and working towards. It’s “inevitable” that it will happen because I never stop trying, learning, and doing it. Getting closer with each project each success and each fail.
Focus on the inevitable. 🙏🏾
More Conversations with Creatives:
Conversations with Creatives — Henry Jaglom
I interviewed my pal, the legendary indie film director, Henry Jaglom