We had the good fortune of connecting with Devany Greenwood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devany, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Personally, risk taking is everything. People play life too cautiously and that’s why we see so many crushed spirits, trapped in an endless cycle of missed opportunities. I think we focus too much on the fear of failure rather than the lessons we learn along the way. I’ve taken many risks and have fallen down many times but I can honestly say, even with the worst of them, I don’t regret a single thing. Every risk I took led me to the place I’m in today. I’d say risks play a huge role in my life, as someone who has adopted a “lead with your heart” way of living. I always knew I wanted to be a filmmaker but allowed so much external pessimism and fear to dissuade me from following my dreams. I graduated college with a BFA in Creative Writing and an incredible opportunity to work for an amazing poetry press but I still never felt fulfilled. I knew I loved storytelling but there was still an aspect missing for me–the visual aspect. I wandered around aimlessly, doing odd jobs here and there. I even moved to LA from New England for a short stint back in 2015 but started off on the wrong foot when I got into a crippling car accident that has left me now with two permanently torn shoulders. I ended up moving back East, feeling quite defeated. Every year that passed was just another year my spirit wasted away until I couldn’t take it anymore. In 2018, I abruptly quit my job in Boston, used the settlement money from my car accident to enroll in a filmmaking workshop at NYFA in Burbank, packed up my Corolla and drove back out West, a second time. Everyone thought I was crazy but I was determined. I told my parents “if I’m not making films, then I don’t see the point in living.” It really wasn’t an option to fail anymore, I just needed to do it. Obviously, that risk paid off.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am an independent filmmaker as well as owner/executive producer of Cosmica Productions. I started the production company this year with my wife, Maria Magalhaes. Cosmica’s mission is to amplify and empower marginalized voices and to bridge the cultural gap in storytelling. Our household is quite diverse–I am French/American and she is Brazilian, so we are naturally drawn to diverse storytelling. Even though the paradigm is shifting in Hollywood, it’s not shifting fast enough. We can’t just wait around to see underrepresented narratives on screen, we have to take matters into our own hands. Those are the stories we seek to produce. We’re also joining many incredible groups such as ARRAY and FTW in prioritizing working with underrepresented artists. Accountability is in the community–we need to be the change we wish to see. The path to get here was far from easy–it took at least a decade of failures to arrive where I am today and yet, I’m still learning as I go. One of the most important things to consider when you’re in this business is to find a balance. I too often see people cutting corners in very harmful ways (usually at the expense of their cast and crew). Filmmaking is in fact a commodity, but lest we not forget it is ALSO an art form. Many decisions are made under pressure ruled by money…I understand this all too well as a producer, but we need to inject some more humanity into our production process. The film will only suffer from this kind of carelessness.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite spot in Los Angeles remains to be the Manhattan/Hermosa Beach area. There’s something about the vibe there that feels so quintessential LA. I love going out on the pier and just sitting for hours looking out at the vastness of the Pacific. A trip to Venice Beach is an absolute must–you can’t pass up the quirkiness of the boardwalk and the incredible food around that area (Siamese Garden is a regular favorite of mine if you’re looking for amazing Thai food with a great view on the canals).
The Broad in DTLA is my favorite museum in the country–I’ve been more times than I can count and have been moved to tears several times by some of their exhibits.
For all my book lovers, The Last Bookstore is a treasure.
I am a HUGE foodie and LA is honestly food heaven (I could easily write a ten page dissertation on all of the incredible restaurants here). But for me, my best kept secret, is my sushi place in the Valley–The Sushi by Jin. When COVID hit, that was the restaurant that had me going through the biggest withdrawals.
I’m more of a nature gal myself, so my spots are always a bit further out from the city. El Matador in Malibu, Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, etc. There’s no shortage of beautiful sights all around.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
At the heart of filmmaking is always storytelling. So I want to start off by giving a shout out to my writing mentors in college–Carey Salerno and Patricia O’Donnell, who were my greatest sources of inspiration. They provided me with such a fiercely strong foundation to create the stories I wanted to tell. It was their belief in my vision and capabilities that allowed me to push through years of self-doubt. I most certainly wouldn’t be here without their guidance and support. I also want to give a special shout out to fellow filmmaker and creative partner, Julia Weisberg, who has become such a pillar of strength for me while navigating the waters of this industry. Unfortunately, there is a lot of faux support and fellowship within our community–that competitive nature muddies the water of creative partnership. We forget that we’re all in this together and that we should be empowering one another. Julia is really the embodiment of everything we should strive for–compassionate on set, insanely talented, creatively driven, and genuinely cares about creating those authentic connections. I am beyond grateful for every day I get to learn, grow, and create with her.