We had the good fortune of connecting with Brendan Whitt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brendan, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’m really passionate about what I do. I’ve been writing since I was 13 and I started publishing my own books at 22 right before I graduated from undergrad. Before long I couldn’t stop. I’ve been writing fairly consistently ever since. Now I teach journalism and creative writing and my students love to ask for my advice. I’m learning that I love to groom young writers as well. They care about the intricacies of the craft, as much as a teenager can. They helped me realize how important it is as a writer to also be a teacher. Passing down knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we can give. I’m a born creator and this what the rest of my time here will be spent doing. In one capacity or another. Creating and teaching.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I first got my start as a writer when I was 13. I placed first in my district in “The Power of the Pen” competition in early 2005. I’ve been actively studying writing ever since. When I got to college I majored in journalism and PR then got my MA in Playwriting. I published my first three titles in between that time. I knew that being a Black creative is extremely difficult because the industry is extremely difficult to break in to. But when the number of faces that look like you and share the same culture as you aren’t in abundance in the positions that MATTER you have to be very deliberate about accomplishing things in this industry. I want to write for tv and film so I started publishing my own books and short stories. It was the only tool I had available to get started on this journey. A year after my first book I started to learn about screenwriting and I taught myself the form. I’ve come a long way from writing my first novella to the point I’m at now prepping a new book to publish independently as well as shopping scripts. I can say that my company has published six books come April. Some studio is gonna want this IP one day.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First we have to stop at a dispensary. All of my friends back home want some exotic bag in their life. Then we’ll pop up at BlaqHause NOHO. The Carolina Gold Wings are next level. No sauce in America can compare. Santa Monica Pier is a must. It isn’t as cluttered and wacky as Venice which isn’t a diss to the beautiful people of Venice. If it’s Thursday (pre-COVID) I’d take them to Bronson Bar on Sunset where comedian and TV Writer Dave Helem hosts a weekly comedy show called “A Dope Comedy Show”. Then we’d head back to the Valley to get drunk in the NOHO Arts District. Maybe even my favorite hole in a wall, Tonga Hut. I hope COVID didn’t claim those bars. That’s just one day. We’d have to see where the next six days takes us. You have to be a little spontaneous in this city to have fun most of the time. Like when me and my wife snuck into the filming of Lil Rel’s HBO special. True story.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First off, my wife Laina. She moved out here with me in 2019. We had $3200 and a lot of love. It’s been panning out so far. Then my parents. They raised me to be this and I’m thankful. My mentor Rhonda Crowder has helped me more than she realizes. She’ll never admit it but she’s had a huge hand in my success. Then finally my Thesis board. I’m Black with a Master’s.