This past summer, Black Talent TV was fortunate enough to attend a new festival featuring a talented group of individuals but one of the few that stood out was Bobby Ashley. At the inaugural The Urban Web Summit in August 2017, writer/director/creator Bobby shined as part of the festival’s Creator’s Panel. Before that, an episode of his critically acclaimed web series, The Ave, played for the audience.
For those who don’t know, The Ave “centers on Nate Brooks, an ambitious check fraudulent business owner, husband and devoted father who thought he had everything under control while running his scamming business along with his partners Keith, Quan, and older sister Rolanda. Unfortunately, after finding his best friend brutally murdered, feuding with Ed(the Puerto Rican Cartels), and ending his affair with Stacey, he is now under threat and the only way Nate can survive is by questioning his own loyalty. Eventually, in the end, someone will pay the price.”
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bobby, who was also a winner at The Urban Web Summit for Best Street Series. Check out my interview with Bobby Ashley where he discusses The Ave, what fans can expect from upcoming episodes, what’s next for him, and more below.
1-When did you first decide you wanted to be a filmmaker?
Ever since the age of 12, I always knew that I wanted to pursue this passion in the arts, and from there I just made it happen. When I was seven years old, I lost my father to cancer, and at the time, I wasn’t fully comfortable with expressing my internal emotions. So thus, writing became a therapeutic way of me being creativity free.
2-Your early projects include Thicker than Water, Positive, and Repercussions. Which was your favorite to shoot?
I’ll have to say Repercussions because it was a transitioning period in my career, and me becoming more authentic with my own voice.
3-How did you come up with The Ave?
The series started during my junior year of college, Brooklyn College, and I wanted to show the real essence of Brownsville, Brooklyn. Not just the good and the bad, but the humanity of how my people are moving and striving in life, every day. What makes The Ave stand out is how we’re not afraid to push the envelope, and address what’s happening behind closed doors. Usually, people will see the ordinary drug dealing and scamming lifestyle. However, with The Ave, you’ll witness how these three-dimensional characters deal with their internal and external actions, daily.
4-What is one thing about The Ave that you believe keeps fans interested?
The Ave shows how these characters are always facing an obstacle, but can overcome them and press forward. That’s our message. That’s how people are living every day. For example, Nate, our protagonist, is unhappy with his marriage, but a devoted father to his son. Keith is dealing with the death of his brother, and trying to forgive his alcoholic mother. Stacy is a woman who’s scorned, but really wants to be loved. These stories are universal. I’m telling them from a black perspective.
5-What’s been your favorite scene to film from The Ave?
All of them. The actors portray these characters so real—to the point that it gets under people’s skin, and they wanna see more of Nate, Stacy, Rolanda, Ed, Keith and Quan.
6-What can fans expect from upcoming episodes/seasons of The Ave?
Expect the unexpected. You’ll be on the edge of your seat with the storylines, the acting, and the direction of the series. Right now, we have over 10 million streams on Amazon, and the goal is to aim for 30 million before 2018.
7-Who is your favorite director?
Alfred Hitchcock, Spike Lee, John Singleton, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Issa Rae, and Donald Glover. I’m just naming a few. They’re not afraid to step out the box, and go above and beyond. The sky is not the limit, it’s just a view. So why not aim high and at the same time, still speak from your authentic voice?
8-What is your dream project to make?
I’m currently developing a feature that revolves around mass incarnation and solitary confinement, so hopefully I’ll be able to collaborate with some fresh new faces, and still bring on some familiar ones.
9-What advice would you give to up and coming filmmakers?
Once you find your authentic voice, stick by it, and begin creating. Oversee your journey, enjoy the process, ignores the noises, and find your tribe of dope people to work with. Don’t wait for permission, create them.
10-What is NEXT for Bobby Ashley?
Photo Credit: Bobby Ashley