We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcella Riley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marcella, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
If I don’t do something now, I’m going to be homeless…

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I don’t want to be a starving artist anymore, so I have to stretch my brain in many areas. In the day, I freelance full time as a content creator. People from all over the world hire me through Upwork, LinkedIn, my website, and social media to create content for their business or brand. The work includes graphic design, motion graphics, audio & video editing, and managing client’s social media accounts.

I studied film production the Academy of Art University. In additional to filmmaking, my studies included photography, Apple programs and Adobe software. So I became very comfortable with Photoshop, Premier, Illustrator, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and some other programs.

Unfortunately in Los Angeles, I have not been successful in finding paid work in these areas. In spite of my background and portfolio, I have only been able to find low paying customer service jobs in LA.

So I built a website and started offering my skills as services. I’ve had my ups and downs and moments where I almost gave up. But so far, I am still standing, not starving, and able to continue pursue my passions.

Outside of freelancing and the pandemic, I love performing. I write comedy songs and produce cannabis content. I just create and play all day.

My long term goal is to do less work that requires me to be on my Mac. And more work that allows me to grow as an entertainer.

Let me entertain you.

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?
I’m from Long Beach and everyone who visits, always wants to know what it’s like growing up in the LBC begin Snoop D.O. double G. So I will take them cruising through the neighborhood.

I love dancing at the Short Stop in Echo Park, so we can go there too.

And R Bar in KTown is a pirate ship on the inside and requires a password to get in.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Several years ago, I decided to move to New York. When I got settled in, I created an NYC ToDo List. Among the many things my list included was to go to a live filming of SNL, eat slice of pizza on a stoop (we were promptly shooed away), and take an improv class.

I researched the improv theaters in Manhattan and it stood out to me that The Upright Citizens Brigade had a diversity program. They were among the most expensive comedy theaters but UCB offered scholarships. I believe at the time, the scholarships were only offered to returning students. Which meant I had to pay for my first class. The classes sell out in seconds, so it took a few tries but I eventually was able take a 101 improv class at UCB.

The past decade of my life has largely been spent at the UCB Theatre in NYC and LA. I’ve gone through their program multiple times, repeated classes for the fun, been apart of awesome (and not so awesome) teams, and I have gotten to witness so many talented artists ascend to noteworthy success. And it only cost me $350. After my 101 improv class graduation, I promptly applied for the scholarship program and was accepted. I never had to pay for another class after that.

All the the time I spent at UCB Theatre in NYC & LA allowed me to found my voice. The environment that I grew up in was not very kind to my sensitive and silly, creative soul. However UCB was a very experimental theater were its okay to be the good kind of weird. Part of how I found my voice was by literally being vocal about their struggles with diversity and being inclusive. I truly hope that one day, they figure it out. But have definitely grown a great deal and am grateful for the many experiences.

And yes, I got into SNL. Several times. So much fun.

Website: https://coolblackchick.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coolblackchick/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/coolblackchick/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/coolblackchick

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MarcellaRiley/featured

Other: https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~01a36aba4911952d56

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.