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, actress/screenwriter Crystal Hardman shares her story, as well as a short film, below:

The sacrifices we make to achieve our dreams can be a lonely and difficult road. My journey began after receiving my BA in Journalism from Loyola University Chicago. My very first trip to NYC wasn’t the best, but I knew I wanted to return. It took me two years to move to New York after graduating from college. I finally moved from Chicago to the NYC area in October of 2011. Taking the initial step to relocate was a struggle.  My background was fashion, but acting and screenwriting  were my childhood dreams. Succeeding in the fashion industry seemed more realistic and achievable for me. I wrote in the fashion column for my school newspaper and an online magazine. I also interned at Fashion Week, started my own blog and co-hosted an online radio show. In accomplishing all of that I still felt unfulfilled. After I finished my internship at Fashion Week, I graduated college and took some time for myself.

It took time for me to come to the realization that acting was something I wanted to pursue. Instead of being hung up on other black actors frustrations with the industry I allowed my faith to supersede my fears. I stopped letting other peoples struggles influence or deter me from moving forward with my dreams because what is meant for me will be.
Now, I’m going into my second year of acting classes. I worked on my first short film, assisted behind the scenes on a low-budget indie film and entered my first short film in several writing competitions. I am now writing my second short film.
I left behind my family and friends to a city where I knew no one. There are certain lessons you have to learn alone. One of the lessons I have learned is you can still be scared but you must keep moving forward. That’s called boldness. Everything I have done thus far has been done in boldness and nothing that I went through has gone to waste. I am growing through the process of becoming an actress and screenwriter.