For artists who had to quietly tuck away their works for a 9 to 5, the pandemic was an opportune time to dust off and revise creative archives. Writer Tashanta Snyder is one of them.
In between teaching and her journalism gigs, Queens writer Tashanta Snyder hit a funk just before the pandemic shut down the world. While she loved what she did, her career was slow going. When the global health crisis hit, it proved to be one of the most anxious times in her life. But in the quiet of her mind, an explosive idea put her into action. She pulled out her first screenplay then turned it into the comedic web series, Media Alert.
The series tells the tale of a small media company trying to make it big, but is hit by financial difficulties on every end. A close-to-home story for today’s real-world media landscape, Media Alert gives a lens into how some companies must juggle the new rules in a post-pandemic digital landscape.
Released under Ayana Productions, the series was directed by Snyder’s mother Sherri Snyder. We asked Snyder a few questions about her creative process after the August 5 debut of Media Alert.
ARK: Ark Republic knows you as a journalist, but how long have you been writing scripted shows?
SNYDER: Media Alert would be my first scripted show. I actually co-wrote this in 2013 with my fellow producer and momma Sheri Snyder. All in all I would say eight years.
ARK: What is your approach to creative writing?
SNYDER: Writing what I know is key. All those solutions to problems in the corners of my mind, the ones I laugh to myself about but don’t necessarily share or act on – those are the things I put down on paper.
ARK: What made you start the Media Alert project?
SNYDER: In a word God. I was in a rut. I was a recent college graduate and unable to find a job in my field. When I was at my wits end, I turned to God and prayed about it. Sure enough He answered me but not in the way I was expecting. He led me to do something I had no experience in. Although it was certainly not the answer I was looking for at the time, I never trusted God more. I’ve never felt more fulfilled.
ARK: What makes this story unique?
SNYDER: This story is truly one of a kind because it depicts how competitive the industry is and how difficult it is to be taken seriously – all while making people laugh of course.
ARK: With so many media companies folding, what did you want to capture in this series?
SNYDER: The struggle is real and I wanted this series to capture that. I also wanted this series to be a source of encouragement for media companies who may be facing the same circumstances. Wilson never gave up.
ARK: Please give us insight on the characters and their dynamics in the series?
SNYDER: The main character Wilson, played by Kamel Goffin, is a part of my personality. He represents the part of me that is determined to get things done by any means necessary.
Sandy, played by Imani Nia Robinson, is another part of my personality. Admittedly, I made my fair share of mistakes in this industry – everything from mixing up interviewees’ names to asking outrageous questions.
Of course, I can’t forget about Vincent, played by Fritzo Jean. I did not pull his character from my personality but he’s definitely a character that I’ve run into time and time again at red carpet events.
ARK: We’ve seen film, video film and TV change drastically since the pandemic, how does this project contribute to the switch? As an independent writer and producer, where do you fit?
SNYDER: Honestly, there is no time like the present. There are creatives sheltering in place who have nothing but time to create. On the other end of this are people who are looking for content to keep them entertained. As an independent writer and producer I’m happy to be able to provide.
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Media Alert stars Kamel Goffin, seen on Starz’s, Power, and Eric J. Dickens’ Makeup x Breakup series. Other actors are Bobby Yan’s, Marz, and Imani Nia Robinson, seen on HBO’s The Deuce, The Wire and Issa Raye’s The Choir. Included in the cast ensemble is Fritzo Jean, seen on YouTube in Fritzo Presents: Charles Thrashington and the Mumz and Fritzo podcast. You can catch it on Youtube .
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