We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal E. Green and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal E., how do you think about risk?
I don’t believe that there is an alternative to taking risks. Every time that I make any decision about my life or career, big or small, I’ve taken a risk. A risk which sacrifices comfort or convenience. A risk that may or may not have been accurately calculated. A risk to abandon predictability for dreams. But life continues to show me that even if I don’t willingly choose which risks to take, doing absolutely nothing is a risk all in itself because I’ll forever wonder what may or may not have been as I uncomfortably settle into the risk that resulted from not choosing.
As a filmmaker, every time that I decide to release a project publicly, I risk the possibilities of people not liking it or not being interested in what I have to offer. But I know that if I don’t choose those risks, I’ll never know what it’s like to have people like my work and to be interested in it. There’s just no way around it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I used to think that what set me apart from others was a bad thing. I’m quiet, observant and weird. So, I used to get caught up comparing those qualities to other creatives who seemed to be the complete opposite. They presented these huge personalities, popularity, people loved them and they loved a good party. And there I was standing alone in the corner of the same party knowing that I didn’t fit in, in any way whatsoever. And because of that, I felt like something was wrong with me. But I’ve learned that it’s those unique qualities that keep me from blending in, allowing me and my work to stand out. So, I keep my head low, do my best not to compare as I grind deeper into my dreams.
Right now, I’ve just hit the fundraising stage for my first feature film, Lock the Door. I’m very excited about this project! I’m excited because it’s my first feature film project but I’m even more excited to tell an emotionally rich story that comes from such a real place for me. The story was loosely inspired by my experience with postpartum depression. And while the protagonist in Lock the Door exhibits symptoms of postpartum psychosis, a less common but more severe illness, she represents so many young, Black mothers who are navigating their own dark tunnels of motherhood. Tunnels that we just don’t talk about enough. And I’m ready to talk.
While I’ve always dreamed of being an entertainer, it’s taken me what feels like a very long time to realize what that actually looks like. And it hasn’t been easy at all. For so long, I was afraid to just be myself and because I was never good at faking it, I settled in that fear, which was a very uncomfortable place for me. But one day I got tired of hiding and I decided that I’d rather risk exposing my true self than to allow fear to control my life. I’ve finally accepted myself and even that isn’t always easy. Maybe it’s best to say that I’m a work in progress. But here I am, sharing the voices that are inside of my head with an audience that just hasn’t found me yet. But they will. In the meantime, yoga helps keep my heart and head in alignment as I continue to grow and journey through the uncertainties of an industry that I chose to pursue.
One very important lesson that I’ve learned along the way is that no matter how hard you work towards something or how badly you want it to happen, it won’t unless it’s supposed to. I’ve also learned that it’s a complete waste of time being envious of others because there is always space for me. It’s not always easy to watch others live “your” dreams but when you realize that they aren’t living your dreams at all, you’ll understand that your dreams are still there waiting for you.
I want the world to know that I’m here, that I’m not going anywhere and that I invite them to have a seat next to me at the table that I’ve built for myself.
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.
To be honest, I spend most of my time at home with my two children and it’s not very often that I have a visitor. But when I do, my inner foodie comes out. If it’s not a seafood boil at The Boiling Crab or Crab Shack of Carson, it’s a farmer’s market or a food truck event, such as First Fridays on Abbot Kinney. I’m not a drinker but I do enjoy a good vegan milkshake from Monty’s or VOWburger. Where to hang out? I have lived in LA for almost 10 years and I haven’t been to 1 single nightclub. So, I guess it’s a good thing that none of my visitors have ever asked me that question, haha!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout? My husband is my biggest cheerleader. He recognizes my gifts when I’m so emotional that I can’t see them myself. He encourages me to keep going because “we’re almost there”. He inspires me to always go for the win. And he leads our home and our family by example, rather than words alone. He keeps me grounded and teaches me to trust myself. He is my friend, my companion, my mentor and my rock.
Elaine Welteroth taught me that I was more than enough. Amy Aniobi lets me run things by her when I’m in doubt. Adriene Mishler taught me to slow down and breathe. Diane Ikemiyashiro wants me to win. Ethan Veenhuis sees me. Shautessia Woods rocks with me. And Marleigh and Mason force me to keep going even when I really want to call it quits.
Es. Renee Justyce Smith