“Bleeding The Pen: A Builder’s Journey In Journalism” by Richard Caldwell
A dream is nothing more than a long-term goal. A goal that many of us spend our entire lives thinking about. We spend hours upon hours working on this goal. Until our dream finally manifests one day. However, as Denzel Washington’s lead character in “The Great Debaters” so eloquently stated, “what is a dream deferred?” It’s an easy question with a complicated answer.
I’ve always been fascinated with the entertainment industry. From a young age, I watched, mimicked and studied anything I could relate to about the field. As a teen I found a niche and began to pursue a profession as an entertainment writer. I wrote articles based around the subject of Hip-Hop music and even wrote reviews about the latest music albums being released. I saw early success, but I didn’t understand it. It didn’t feel like success because it wasn’t generating any income for me. It felt more like a college hobby. A hobby that would lead me into trying other entertainment based activities.
I would become a disc jockey after my previous attempt as a writer. A new professional path that once again saw me seeing success and gaining local recognition. The disc jockey profession would allow me to generate income for myself and allow me to nurture my connections. Those connections allowed me to obtain opportunities as a nightclub/event promoter and even music management. I was a renaissance man of sorts at this point. Balancing careers as a disc jockey, promoter and manager, but I longed for things money couldn’t buy.
I wanted more understanding of my life and what I was becoming. I had no plan after graduating high school and didn’t dream of working in the entertainment industry. Everything just kind of happened and the universe placed me there. My dream was unfolding in front of me and I didn’t understand my positioning. That led to me taking a step back from the industry and disrobing my renaissance man for a year.
I returned after finding some of the answers I was seeking and continued on my path. I attempted to graduate college as I got engaged to my girlfriend of the moment. I relocated to another state and began to amass hundreds of thousands of downloads of my disc jockey mixes. I would later receive my first three disc jockey award nominations as I watched my hundreds of thousands of downloads convert into millions. I was honestly shocked. The kid with no plan had morphed into the man with an extraordinary plan.
People began to reach to me for work at this point. Some offers I entertained and others I ignored. I was never a fan of industry social clubs. I didn’t like them as a disc jockey, promoter or manager. I wasn’t a fan of cliques, but I always had my band of friends. We moved to our own beat and maneuvered only in ways we were comfortable with.
I continued with this tradition as my friends began to develop families. I would eventually start back working as a music manager while continuing my path to disc jockey stardom. My passion for writing would eventually catch back up to me after creating a personal website for my disc jockey persona. Keeping that website updated weekly would eventually lead to the website forming a life of its own. Topics would change from those centered around me to those centered around Hip-Hop and entertainment culture. My writing passion would lead me to an internship with another national Hip-Hop publication.
This was my first time working with a national outlet as a writer since my teenage years. I worked under a low profile for a few months before gradually beginning to promote my other lines of work. I had self-published a few books, released a few music albums and my disc jockey mixes were in the hundreds. I also was representing a few musicians as a manager at the time. I was one of the next big entertainment stars on paper, but not in the eyes of the entertainment industry.
I began offering creative ideas to the company after completing my internship and accepting a freelance position with them. Often I would be told ideas would be accepted, but often they weren’t. I even would develop test prototypes of these ideas. However, the were often left on the creative room floor after being met with an initial awe. I continued to write even though I sought more creative outlets. I’m a creative at heart and a builder. If a tree isn’t allowed to grow then it’s roots won’t expand. The national outlet wouldn’t allow me to do that and I quickly noticed.
The entertainment industry is a mixture of lights, praise and worship, but if you aren’t interested in being worshipped it won’t accept you. I often rejected the social events and circles. I opted only to attend events I was working as a disc jockey, music manager or promoting. Most of the circles have been the same for decades and only accept young talent if they’re willing to be one of the members of the crew. I wasn’t and I’m not. I’m an individualist. A throwback to creatives of the past and I enjoy being different. I was feeling stifled by a national outlet, but my own creation allowed me to become something new.
I continued to develop my website while working with the national outlet. I also landed a freelance opportunity to work with a local film website. There is where I was able to cultivate relationships with film companies and my Hip-Hop based website became one truly based around entertainment. I began to interview film directors, actors, actresses and producers for the website. Their perspectives was a complete 360 from those of the musicians I interviewed in the past. The new website allowed me to feel new and granted me a fresh start. It also allowed me to appreciate my individual growth and find more understanding of who I have become. I’m a creative at my hearts core. A builder. A renaissance man.