Recapping… I did this in February of last year (2012), and got a few response, so I figured, a year-and-a-half later, with the site’s audience now larger than it was back then, that I’d try it again.

I know that a significant chunk of S&A’s audience comprises of actors, actresses, directors, DPs, editors, etc, etc, etc. Some are able to earn a paycheck utilizing their artistic and/or technical skills; others – and I’d say the majority – are what we’ve labeled the proverbial *starving artists*, working diligently, relentlessly, struggling to climb this incredibly steep hill, trying to reach some pinnacle of success – whether personal or professional. And still others exist somewhere between the former and the latter.

Where do you fall? And, as the title of this post states, what’s YOUR story, and would you like to share it with the rest of the world?

Think of it as an extension of the successful S&A Filmmaker Diary series we launched almost 2 years ago. I’m looking for your individual stories of struggle and/or success, regardless of what rung on the ladder you are currently on, after all, not only is S&A just a source for news, its goal is also to become a community of cinema lovers where we can all share/debate/discuss/learn/teach/commiserate/etc.

Here’s your chance. You might learn something; you might teach someone something.

What’s YOUR story? You can email me ( You can submit your story in any format – written, or even documented on video. I’ll post as many of them as I can. Substance and presentation are key for consideration. 

And be sure to attach a photo (large size) for me to include, and if you have samples of your work, include them as well.

It could be a story about a current situation you find yourself in; or it could cover several days, weeks, months, or years of your career. It could be that you just want to vent your frustrations; aspects of, or people in this business that piss you off; aspects of, or people in the industry that encourage you. It doesn’t have to be all negative, nor all positive. We’re complex people, and so I assume our stories are as well.

In today’s post, actor/writer/producer Michael A. Jones shares his story:

Greetings S & A Family,

What’s my story? How can I be brief, yet descriptive. My story starts in what was then called the Steel City. A city that bore the likes of August Wilson, George Benson, and Hollywood director Antoine Fuqua.
Pittsburgh breeds a respect for hard, honest work. Back when I was growing up, the city was not known for any major film making endeavors. Well, the original Dawn of the Dead was created and shot there and Night of the Living Dead, as well. And, I can not forget The Fish That Ate Pittsburgh, with Julius “Dr J” Irving. But, still, it was no Hollywood, New York, or even Toronto!
After being bitten by the acting beetle in high school, I decided to study theatre in college (against my English teacher’s plead not to, “They don’t make any money!” ). After college, armed with a thespian’s degree I, uh. Well, I was selling shoes at a department store.
Fast forward, I toured the East coast and mid-west singing Reggae music (even did a weekend at the House of Blues in Hollywood). That was a sort of a hands on college experience all over. I learned the raw truth about show business. It IS a business, as I had always heard. While touring, I often thought about how and when I would return to the world of theater and film. 
My step-father had bought me a little movie camera when I was in high school so I pulled it out and dabble with some home movies, starring friends and family. Nothing incredible, but it gave me a feel for directing and story telling.
Years later, I would quit my 9 to 5 as a middle school teacher, earning a nice salary and move to New York. My earnings dropped about sixty per cent. After years of roommates and pert-time jobs, I questioned my decision to give up the security of a stable home and income. I thought, “I must be crazy.”
Now, as I look at my award for acting (in an August Wilson play), three of my plays having been produced, two of my films having been produced (one of which, accepted into film festivals), and the opportunity to work with exceedingly talented professionals, I am fueled to forged on towards endless possibilities.
This a crazy, unpredictable line of work. But somebody’s gotta do it.
Keep up the grind,
Michael A. Jones,
Trailer for my film, “Family Matters” :