We had the good fortune of connecting with Ray Mitchell Jr. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ray, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor driving my success is humility. I believe that humility is one of the most universally beneficial characteristics a dream chaser can have. When pursuing a new endeavor there are going to be a lot of growing pains. Humility benefits the starting process by enabling you to be comfortable with starting small. People often ‘bite off more than they can chew’ in the beginning, and the stress coupled with the shock of being overwhelmed may result in them suffering major setbacks if not quitting. Research and development are paramount for success in every arena. Humility helps you embrace your weaknesses, so you can research, develop, and overcome those deficiencies. Humility also maximizes the pool of people you are willing to learn from. My brand of films explore the human condition in the most vulnerable, honest, and objective ways possible. To chart those waters… I as a Writer/Director and my Actors need to be humble enough to dive below our ego’s and biases, and explore our true fears and insecurities. That way we can bring about real characters in real situations that real people can relate to. There are many ways success can benefit from humility, but what I believe to be the most important is simply that humble people are pleasant to spend time with. It takes a team to make a movie, and humble people are easier to work with. Humble people also tend to be more honest about their strengths and weaknesses which helps me as a leader place my team members in positions of advantage which in-turn maximizes our odds for success.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art explores the darker side of the human condition for multi-cultural minorities. I’ve heard time and time again that “you have to write what you know about.” Being a mixed African-American male; growing up in a diverse low-income community, and having served 5 years in the Marine Corps, 11 years in Federal Law Enforcement, 4 years in Special Operations… I have grown very familiar with the darker side of the human condition for multi-cultural minorities. What sets my art apart is that the stories I write and the films I create don’t shy away from the hard truths and desperate realities that people of color face across the globe. I’m proud that I’ve been able to produce honest and objective scenarios in my films that allow the audience to put themselves in the characters shoes and decide for themselves how they think or feel.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ahhh this is an easy one. Well pre-COVID-19 I would take my buddy to CoCo Ichibanya in Koreatown for Japanese curry. Then probably hit the breweries in Torrance. If the LA Chargers are in town we’re definitely going to a game. Grab sushi at Hama’s in little Tokyo. Maybe catch some live music and old fashions at Mrs. Fish. Probably cap it off by grilling steaks at the beach.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first shoutout I have to give is to the author of my story, my creator, and provider, my God. Next I have to shoutout the team members I’ve been blessed with, Crystal Kelley (Director of Photography), Rafaell Teixeira (Sound Design), Mark Ledbetter (Editor & Colorist), Roy Arwas (Editor), Daniel Watt (Gaffer), Russo Namalata (first Assistant Director), and everyone else who has lended me their talent and expertise. I’ve learned a great deal from each of you, and hope to continue doing so for years to come. Last but not least… My Father who has gone on to glory, and my Mother. Everything I am, and anything I become is a reflection of their dedication to instilling character in myself as well as my seven siblings.