Biance Ashton ’03: Producing her future Part 2

My first day of school!

My first day of school!

The journey begins…I’m halfway through my spring semester at American University and the pressure is rising! Balancing school, work, family and some semblance of a social life is taking its toll. I was sitting in class for eight hours on Saturday wondering, “What was I thinking?” I mean, think about all the other fields I could have chosen — law, medicine, accounting, which all guarantee a significant return on your investment of time and money. Instead, I chose the most creative, competitive and unpredictable field to study. The uncertainty of making it definitely has my head spinning with nerves.

Then the day came when a friend asked the inevitable question, “So what is it that you want to do with your master’s degree after graduation?” It was a question I had only briefly thought about and never shared with anyone. Honestly, the future was a bit hazy to me, but I knew that my time at school would fly and it was time to make some decisions.

So I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, “I admired the work of Tyler Perry and would love to work as a producer for Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.”
My own shock from hearing myself say that must not have resonated with my friend because he was sold on the idea. I, however, had doubts about the possibility.

Just a week later, the unthinkable happened. I’m sitting in class and my professor announces that there would be a guest speaker in the afternoon. Immediately, I think I’m going to have to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, especially if he’s coming after lunch. I couldn’t have been more wrong! My professor introduces the speaker as Mr. Reuben Cannon, a long-time friend and producer at Tyler Perry Studios!!

I’m sure my bottom lip was scraping the ground by this point. I couldn’t believe it! Here was my chance! I sat and listened attentively to all of his stories about how he started in the mail room at Warner Bros. and worked his way to become an executive producer on movie projects such as “Get on the Bus” and “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” His story was not only compelling but inspiring, and when his presentation ended, I was the first in line to introduce myself. I had no time to prepare and my stomach was filled with butterflies.

The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Hello Mr. Cannon, I enjoyed your presentation. I wanted to introduce myself because I hope to be doing business with you some day soon.”

The boldness amazed even me, but his response was even better, “No, I’ll be working FOR you someday.” What a boost to my confidence! But so what that I’m convinced? Now I need to convince the world that I have a voice to be heard! Deep breath… Whew, here goes! One letter at a time!

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