This is My Story

Hi! Tanya Kersey here…

First let me say that while filmmaking is an art, the reality is you can be talented, smart, skilled, have great ideas, a unique story to tell, a strong script, a great vision, and its still not enough.

You can be trying everything and still be stuck not making it.

My life has been a fascinating ride. But before I let you in on the details, I have something for you that’s much more important. In fact, it may change the course of your career.

Tal­ent is a dime a dozen in Hol­ly­wood and there are tens of thou­sands of film­mak­ers out there try­ing to do exactly what you’re try­ing to do. So you’ve got to bring more to the table. Much more!

I’ve always been about empowering, educating, inspiring and motivating aspiring, beginning and veteran Hollywood professionals to be the best version of themselves.

My belief is that people aren’t manifesting their Hollywood dreams because they don’t have all the information they need to make the right decisions, go in the right direction, and make the right moves.

My calling and my passion have always been to serve by sharing information and knowledge.

I think I have a rather unique perspective on the entertainment industry based on my working in “the business” and wearing many hats since I started modeling at the age of 5.

I’ve been an actress, model, entertainment journalist, radio host/producer, film critic, author and speaker — to a film festival director, career coach and consultant. Yes! I’ve pretty much seen it all.

Following an uneventful career as a working NYC actress and model, I wrote a book for people who were looking to break into show business. The book went on to become a “Bible” for Hollywood hopefuls.

I followed that up by founding, Black Talent News, a Hollywood industry trade publication that I ran for 10 years. I started BTN, as it was affectionately called, to fill a gap because I saw that African Americans weren’t reading the mainstream trades (mostly because they didn’t print information pertinent to their careers) and therefore they were at a disadvantage when it came to being aware of all of the opportunities that existed.

My goal was to fill that gap and provide the career information and industry knowledge that would put my audience on a more even playing field. My mantra was, and still is, “information and knowledge are power.”

Then 15 years ago I founded the Hollywood Black Film Festival, which is now recognized as one of Hollywood’s most prestigious film festivals. Running a film festival has given me a pretty good grasp on the careers of filmmakers and the business of filmmaking.

I have had the good fortune to meet and work with a great number of wonderfully talented and exciting filmmakers. In total, I’ve helped discover and launch the careers of nearly 1,000 independent filmmakers from 25 countries.

Each year during submission time, I have had the benefit of seeing literally thousands of shorts, features, documentaries and student films pour into the festival office from all over the world.

In the festival’s early years, I quickly realized that a great majority of the filmmakers entering their films were making deadly mistakes in all sorts of areas — from storytelling, casting choices and editing — to sound, lighting and overall production value.

Over the years I’ve seen it all including one film that was shot entirely with the boom in the background. You’re probably shaking your head, but seriously!

Far too many films that I screened didn’t stand a chance because of these costly mistakes that could have been avoided if the filmmaker had some guidance and direction.

That’s when I realized that I had to do something about it and that’s when I started my film coaching and consulting business.

Which brings me to what I do today as the Filmmaker’s Success Mentor. I empower indie filmmakers with the information, tools and resources they need to get their film made.

“Strategy. Action. Breakthrough.” is my motto.

I hear from so many filmmakers who let the lack of money, access, connections, opportunity and know-how put their dream film on hold. But with a solid strategy and a smart plan, you can successfully develop, finance, produce, market & distribute your film.

Having a strategy and taking action will lead to your breakthrough and the making of a successful film that earns you accolades, attention and more opportunities.

I love helping filmmakers get started on the road to Hollywood success, growing their careers and selling their films, by sharing my knowledge and experience.

When I was starting out, I didn’t have anyone to show me the ropes so I learned by trial and error, wasting lots of time and thousands of dollars. The good news is, you don’t have to.

I’m here to share my years of knowledge and experience to guide and direct you towards making the right moves, the right way, so you can achieve the career success you’ve been dreaming of.

On a personal note,I was born and raised in NYC. My home base in “LaLa” land, Beverly Hills, California.

I recently became a laptop entrepreneur. I’m loving the freedom of having no permanent home and getting to work from my laptop while traveling all over the world. Sweet!

I have three twenty-something daughters and one adorable 5-1/2 year old grandson who is the light of my life.

I’m a sports fanatic who loves golf (watching and playing), NFL football (NY Giants and Jets, of course) and NBA basketball (go Knicks, Nets and Clippers!).

I also love working out in the gym lifting weights and doing plyometrics, crossfit, yoga, bicycling on the beach, outdoor jazz festivals, eating out, fine wine & champagne, and any kind of shopping!

I consider myself a citizen of the world and have travelled extensively around the globe.

Welcome to my world!

My ‘Official’ Bio

Tanya Kersey is passionate about showing aspiring, beginning and seasoned filmmakers how to master the business of successful moviemaking so they can share their vision with the world, become the darling of the film festival circuit, see their film on the big screen, and make a living doing what they love.

While being wildly known as The Filmmaker’s Success Mentor, Tanya is proba­bly best known as the Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) which she launched in 1998. Through the film festival, Tanya has helped discover and launch the careers of nearly 1,000 independent filmmakers from over 25 countries around the world.

She has also created complementary platforms to showcase and develop filmmakers’ projects — the Infotainment Conference, the HBFF Cinema Lounge, the HBFF Screening Series, the HBFF Film Finance & Distribution Summit, and the HBFF Storyteller Competition.

Named an Urban Hollywood Mover and Shaker by Daily Variety, Tanya also runs The Kersey Group, a boutique film consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, organizations, universities and government agencies.

The consultancy offers a broad range of services including entertainment and indie film consulting, film development, script analysis, film business and marketing plans, social media strategies, distribution strategies, and event production (film festivals, conferences and workshops).

Prior to the film festival and consulting firm, Tanya was the founder and CEO of the entertainment industry trade publication, Black Talent New and its companion website, BlackTalentNews.com.

As a well-known entertainment journalist, she covered a variety of high-profile events such as the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Indie Spirit Awards, SAG Awards, BET Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and the NAACP Image Awards.

Tanya conducted countless celebrity interviews with such luminaries as Oscar winners Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman and Mo’Nique, as well as Samuel L. Jackson, Ice Cube, and Angela Bassett. And she was frequently seen reviewing films on Reelz Channel’s “Reelz in the Round,” and talking about celebrity lives on the Biography Channel’s “Famous.”

Finally, Tanya was a staple on “Samm Brown for the Record” on KPFK as a contributor and co-host, and she produced and hosted the popular Internet radio show, “Inside Urban Hollywood.”

Tanya is a popular public speaker and workshop leader who has spoken for the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Birmingham Business Alliance, Businesswire, Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, Columbia College, Writers Boot Camp Diversity Business Brunch, the Institute for International Film Financing, and Showbiz Expo, to name just a few.

Tanya hosts the podcast, Reel Talk with Tanya, which features interviews and topical discussions on the business of making successful independent films from people “in the know”.

She is also the author of the forthcoming books, Profitable Filmmaking: The Strategic Approach to Getting Your Film Financed, Seen & Sold

Tanya says she loves helping filmmakers get started on the road to Hollywood success, growing their careers and selling their films, by sharing her knowledge and experience.

“When I was starting out, I didn’t have anyone to show me the ropes so I learned by trial and error, wasting lots of time and thousands of dollars. The good news is, you don’t have to. I’m here to share my years of knowledge and experience to guide and direct you towards making the right moves, the right way, so you can achieve the career success you’ve been dreaming of.”

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