We had the good fortune of connecting with Steven M. Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steven M., any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I’ll. start by saying that if you truly are passionate about something – then you won’t give up.
You will keep going. What most people do when faced with ongoing difficulty is to give up on everything all together. What I do is re-strategize and ‘give up’ on the specific aspects of my approach that lead to dead-ends then try to adopt or re-image new ways to arrive at my desired destination.
I take as much time that is needed to assess everything, think outside of the box and be honest about my efforts. If you become disinterested and are no longer intrinsically motivated then you can ‘give up’ I guess but most importantly you should take what you’ve learnt from your many attempts and apply it to build your character. I tend to enjoy finding the positives in all of my experiences and embracing it all as growth.
My approach is to never give up – keep going, pivot, adapt, learn and unlearn – success will follow if you are truly passionate.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am most proud of the fact that I get to live my life as a Creative while being able to take care of my family. Career stability and security is by far, one of the early battles that Creatives can’t avoid when expressing an unflinching desire to make a living as such.
I was blessed to have parents, relatives and family friends who have actively supported me even before I brought home a cheque at eleven years old after winning my first Art competition. Believe it or not, after winning a few more competitions and selling a couple of paintings, it opened my eyes and those around me to lucrativeness of creativity.
Onwards, I had to build up the kind of callus that would harden my feelings to reject the naysayers who thought (back then) that being a Filmmaker was ‘a white boy thing’ and that pursuing a career as a Director was unrealistic.
Well, fast forward twenty-two years from the eleven year old me, fourteen fundraisers, a couple of scholarships, awards, hardships, degrees and a Masters of Fine Arts from the number one film school in the world, University of Southern California, I’ve launched my production and lifestyle brand company Steven M. Taylor Film Ltd during the pandemic.
I’ve been blessed with opportunities to direct work for Amazon x Hold On, music videos for an MTV Iggy Artiste, Erphaan Alves, BET New Artiste Nailah Blackman, Lonsdale Saatchi and Saatchi, Angostura Ltd to name a few.
Today, I am so excited to be in consideration to produce and develop a Caribbean-based series, three feature films including one of my own that explores untapped Trinbagonian folklore.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many spots that I love, all for different reasons. For starters, as soon as you land I’d take you to Tatsu Ramen, my favorite ramen spot. For lunch, it would be Mini Kabob for some mom and pop Armenian food. Later that day, we’d head over to Santa Monica to people watch and enjoy the variety of spontaneous activities along the beach. On evenings, it’s a vibe to get dressed up and head out to Hollywood to watch movies at ArcLight Cinemas! There are so many things to do in LA but these are the most consistent spots that I enjoy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly, there are so many teachers/mentors who have pivotally impacted my mindset during my formative years.
Mindset and Education are two things that no one can take from you and it’s these facets of one’s development that can be easily influenced. Three quotes that have anchored me to this date are:
‘Be intrinsically motivated because no one can take what’s burning inside’ (Mr. Joseph, Queen’s Royal College Teacher) , ‘Son, you can do anything that you set your mind to do’ (Charmaine Samuel-Lewis, my mother) and ‘Freely you give, freely you will receive’ (Monica Taylor, my paternal grandmother)
These core ideas continue to resonate with me to this day and for that I’d like to shout them out!
Instagram: @steventaylorfilm | @rheem_granola