In my experience, when you’re operating on the love frequency, the world begins to vibrate with you–or at least is sure feels that way. Take last week: a friend introduced me to the work of Tramaine Brathwaite, founder of MaineDrama Productions and the filmmaker behind Unheard–a new film about sexual abuse–and I swear, the earth moved under my feet.
As many of you know, my own heartwork is deeply rooted in creating spaces for young people–in Mexico and soon in Africa–to share their stories and explore solutions to the conflicts in their communities. Sexual abuse is an issue that comes up in nearly every workshop I facilitate and, overwhelmingly, the victims I connect with, as well as their loved ones, struggle most with the trauma of being silenced, ignored, and even blamed in the aftermath of violation. Meeting Tramaine and learning about her work was one of those vibrational moments where the universe seemed to say, “Keep going! You are not alone! When we work together, love wins!”
I urge you to watch the trailer for Unheard (waiting to be clicked at the end of this interview) and help Tramaine spread the word about the film’s premiere on January 27, 2013 at 4pm at the University of Maryland College Park (Stamp Student Union, Hoff Theater). You can purchase advance tickets at umdtickets.com. And for those of you not within driving distance to UMD, never fear! Tramaine is working hard to bring Unheard to a film festival near you! Follow Unheard‘s journey here.
Now to the ‘preneur behind the awesome!
1. Who are you?
Give us a quick heartography of yourself in 50 words or less.
I am a Christian. I am a woman. I am a producer. I am a writer. I am an artist. I am a sister. I am a daughter. I am a friend. I am trying to make a difference through art…using our lives as a stage.
2. What do you do?
Describe your heartwork.
I am a writer and producer. I’m also the founder/CEO of MaineDrama Productions (MDP). The vision and goal of MDP is to produce thought-provoking films and stage plays that spark conversations. Most of the work that I produce now are pieces that I wrote…pieces that deal with realism and every day life. I also look for other emerging artists and help them find a platform for their voice.
3. How did you get started as an awesomepreneur?
MDP is a dream realized. It started out as an idea…something far-fetched. However, after undergrad I knew that I had to try. I went back to grad school at Carnegie Mellon and got a Masters of Arts Management. After spending an exorbitant amount of money on an advanced degree (lol, but seriously!), I moved back home and said, “Well, now we have no excuses! You’ve spent the last two years preparing for this.” It was time to start my own business. After much encouragement, I threw myself out there and started MaineDrama and produced my first stage play under the name in 2010. It’s been a joyous ride ever since!
4. Do you have a day job?
How do you fund your heartwork?
MDP is my day job! When I first moved back home from Pittsburgh, I was working a 9-5 and doing my business on the side. But I wasn’t satisfied and I felt like my day job was taking away from my passion. Certain circumstances allowed/pushed me into doing MDP full-time. That was a HUGE faith leap. Fortunately, I have a fundraising background, so I am able to use my experience to raise money for my projects. My banking account, supporters, friends, and family invest in my work and allow me to pursue my passion.
5. What is your biggest work challenge?
When does your heartwork feel like hard work?
My heartwork starts to feel like hard work when I get inundated with the emails and the supervisory part of my job. I’m not the typical artist…I love the business side of my job, but it can get frustrating trying to manage so many different parts. And, let’s be real, it’s just plain hard trying to get people to do what you want, when you want, how you want! LoL. However, when I see a finished product or my art being performed, all that hard work was worth it.
6. What is the best thing about being an awesomepreneur?
Why do you love what you do?
I love my life right now! Don’t get me wrong, it has struggles and hard moments, but at the end of the day I am pursuing my passion. Not many people can say that. I love what I do because I get to produce art. I get to live it! I get to make a difference! No regrets! And with MDP, I get to marry the things that I’m good at, writing and producing. If that’s where my heart is, why wouldn’t I love the fact that I get to do this all the time?!
7. What is your #1 tip for working with heart?
What do you want to share with other awesomepreneurs?
Trust your heart. Trust your passion. Trust your drive. If you are passionate about doing it and no one else seems to be, it’s because you were specifically created to meet the need. So go for it! And even if you fail, at least you tried. Don’t live with ‘what ifs’ but rather ‘why not?’
Take a look at the trailer for Unheard and please consider sharing with your own network and helping to support the film’s upcoming premiere.
We love Tramaine Brathwaite! (And we also love Cynthia Erin Pekron for helping us make this heart-to-heart connection! Thank you, Cynthia!)