Sex & Gender

feature: borrow, beg, and bleed!: how i got a documentary about black glam rock made

September 24, 2014

It’s early morning in Hollywood, as the studio execs gear up for their budgetary meetings, double lattes, and lunch at Chateau; I send my morning emails, reaching out to gay owned business’ for sponsorship opportunities; from my East Hollywood studio I send a few texts confirming scheduling for my next video shoot, and prepare to go to work with some of the biggest celebrities in the world. It’s not as glamorous a job as it might sound, coordinating the movements of Hollywood A-Listers, but with every gig, I get one step closer to my goal of being a major Hollywood player, who just happens to be a gay man of color.

By Tobias Daniels, AFROPUNK Contributor *

I count myself among the lucky, for going on two years now I’ve been able to support myself entirely on my work in production. Many of my indie-filmmaker peers are tending bar, waiting tables, or have larger obligations that tie them to full time work. It can be a catch 22, you need time to create the work, but you still have to survive, and since the behind-the-camera creative process can take years, it can be difficult to maintain the schedule needed to see a project through completion while not completely going insane waiting tables for 18 years. “I always tell people if someone is attractive and intelligent and they’re serving you food, be nice to them, they’re probably going to be your boss one day”.

These days, as I prepare to release Black Velvet, my Feature Length Documentary this winter, my debut as a filmmaker, the tables are definitely turning towards Hollywood player. This year alone I’ve hosted an A-List fundraiser for my film in the Hollywood Hills, been covered in the national press, and attracted an agent that represents me for commercial video work. Looking forward, I see this new chapter as an opportunity to bring the voice of the Queercore supporters that helped to get Black Velvet to where it is today, to the mainstream. “It would literally be a dream come true to one day make a super hero movie where the main character just happens to be gay”. For now, I’ll take my morning coffee in stride and realize that the journey to the top is only the beginning.

’m pleased to share an exclusive clip from my Feature Length Documentary Black Velvet with Afro Punk. Looking back on the last five years of borrowing (from the bank of CHASE, and the bank of MOM), begging (3 Fundraisers which entailed everything from social media to Drag Queen roller-skating), and bleeding (I the wounds to prove it) to make not just my dream of becoming a filmmaker a reality, but the dream of black gay cinema a reality of the silver screen.

Tobias Daniels photo above by Juan Bastos

* Tobias Daniels’ website: