We had the good fortune of connecting with Shequeta Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shequeta, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are walking in their purpose. I believe that everyone is put here to do something, but not everyone figures out what that something is. So when I meet or witness people who are operating in their true purpose it’s very inspiring to me and makes me want to work even harder at what I do.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The best writing advice I ever got came a year or two before I ever moved to Hollywood. I used to send letters to all of these tv showrunners, trying to get a chance to write for television. I’m a very creative person, who’s all about the minor details. So when I would mail these letters out, I would find the most creative stationery and envelopes to send them in. One of my letters came across the desk of the showrunner of a hit tv show and her assistant reached out to me. She loved my whole presentation and invited me to come to visit the set if I was ever in Los Angeles. Fast forward to a couple of months later, I showed up in LA for a visit and they gave me tickets to attend a live taping. When I had a chance to speak with the person who invited me, the advice she gave me was simple: diversify your writing. I totally understood what she meant, since in Hollywood they oftentimes want to put you in a box. After this, I spent years writing stories about characters of all ages, races, and from all walks of life. This was eighteen years ago. Today, I just finished writing a big action-adventure movie about one of the most prolific Native American tribes to walk the earth. A few months ago, when I pitched this idea to a major studio, they were so shocked that I was the person behind it, they thought that I majored in Native American History. I assured them that I didn’t, but that I’m just the kind of writer who loves to write stories about interesting people. Being a diverse writer, who can write across the board, is how I got to where I am today, professionally, as a screenwriter, and even with the comic books that I create.
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.
When my family or friends visit town it’s always a fun experience. I’m a huge planner so I usually put together an actual itinerary. Here are some of the places that I usually take them. The Observatory – It’s one of the nerdiest places in town and I just love it! The last time my family was here, I got us tickets and went to the planetarium for a super fun show. Zuma Beach – It’s simply my happy place. There’s nothing like riding through Kanan and seeing all of that gorgeous blue water for the first time. Also, since it’s a little further away from LA, it’s usually not as packed. Plus it’s always cool to check out the cute lifeguards and fight with the crazy seagulls over food. Bossa Nova/Sattdown/Ocha Classic/Gyu Kaku – I’m a foodie and so are most of the people that I hang out with, so good food is a necessity. When I get out-of-town guests, these are the four places I usually take them for some good eats! Bossa Nova for Diego’s Seabass. Sattdown for Chef Tony’s Oxtails. Ocha Classic for Thai crab noodles and Beef Salad. Gyu Kaku for Japanese BBQ. Santa Monica – You can’t really come to LA without experiencing Santa Monica. When I came here to visit family as a teen, I remember spending many days at the pier. Now that I live here, I have to take my guests there to ride bikes to Venice and to ride the rides at the pier. It’s another one of my happy places and can usually brighten my day even when I’m super sad.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I really want to give a shoutout to my family. They are the most supportive family that I could’ve asked for and have been instrumental in giving me the encouragement that I need to stay focused and stay on this path that I’ve been put on. I’ve been on this journey for nearly two decades, and even before I got to Hollywood, they were right behind me, pushing me to be the best.