We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannan E. Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shannan E., we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Simply put: No risks, no gains. I’ve been taking risks since I was 22 years old. I’m a firm believer that everyday I wake up is an opportunity to change: Change my perspective, Change my attitude, Change my goals, Change my career. And I’ve done that several times, which has led me to become the CEO of the first black-owned script consultant agency in the entertainment industry. At 22, I quit my job as an Academic Advisor and Scholarship Recruiter at Texas A&M University (my alma mater) to move to LA with only what could fit in my Chevy Cavalier. At age 28, I quit my job as a creative executive at the Syfy Channel to become a performing artist in dance companies and Broadway National Tours. And at age 36 when I stopped dancing, I again moved to LA with no job and no place to live ready to chase my reality. Things didn’t go as planned. No one would hire me. So, I turned my side hustle into my full-time gig, put my faith in my expertise and God, and the rest is not just history but my unseen future. Taking risks sometimes means being comfortable with the unknown. Risks can’t exist without fearlessness and faith. Had I been afraid to take any of the above leaps, had I felt trapped in my jobs because society teaches us to live in a box and fear change, had I listened to folks who called me crazy for living my life the way I wanted, I would not be living in my purpose.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a script consultant who uses a straight-shot no chaser approach to develop creatives and their content for the screen. I call Hollywood the largest gated community in the world. You cannot get the passcode unless you know someone. Nepotism at its finest. I left the industry for 8 years when I was performing, so when I came back in 2018, I, too, was on the outside of the gate. This stopped my resume from getting to the piles that were actually read and considered. It was then that I realized that I was already doing what I loved – using my skills and experience as a teacher, mentor, performer, writer, and executive to build storytellers. So, I called myself a consultant. I knew what I was good at it and didn’t need permission from anyone to be successful at it. I transferred my skills for marketing and branding TV shows to coin myself as an expert in my field on social media. Instead of showing up as my sales representative, I showed up as myself giving my clients access to me. What you see in my videos and posts is exactly what you get. I am a script therapist. I use life to teach storytelling techniques and screenplay structure, and I use storytelling elements to teach life in my speaker series: The #RealityChaser Project (#bookme). I’m a one-stop shop to accessing my clients’ vulnerabilities and making them put themselves on the page in order to create impactful stories.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Man, I wish I could answer this question. I can’t wait to read the answers of others. I moved back to LA in December 2018 after being gone for almost a decade. I, then, taught out-of-state for the beginning of 2019. So as soon as I began to get my feet wet in the city again, BAM! The Rona hit with a vengeance, and I spent all of 2020 quarantined. Now that people are getting vaccinated and LA is opening up more, I can’t wait to explore and learn the places I’ll love. Stay tuned.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to shout out my mother, Dr. Georgetta H. Johnson, the first in our lineage to attend college. She then went on to attain her master’s and doctorate degrees. Not only did she encourage my creativity from the start, never pushing or pulling me in other directions because of the parental fear of the arts not providing stability, but because she was the first person to teach me YOLO far before Drake made it a hit. As I was working my creative executive job and deciding if I should stop adulting and join the circus (read: dance company), she had one simple answer: Do you know you only live once? And since then, I’ve lived with the permission that I can do and try any and everything that gives me joy during this one life I have to live. Thank you, Mother. I love you.