On August 4th, I was fortunate enough to represent Black Talent TV at The Urban Web Summit, a new festival focusing on web series & short films, and mingle among filmmakers & actors. Most of the attendees were part from some of my favorite web series, such as Tough Love and The Ave. One of the talented individuals I met was Eric Dickens, the mastermind behind the critically acclaimed web series, Makeup and Breakup. Episode one of Makeup x Breakup was shown to the audience and there were no shortage of laughs, “ooohs,” and “ahhhs” among the crowd.
For those who don’t know, Makeup x Breakup is a web series that literally begins when Brooke blindsides Blake and ends their two year relationship. Blake, however, doesn’t hesitate before jumping back into the New York dating scene and instantly finds a new love interest. Despite having another romantic situation that ends up being complicated, Brooke resurfaces in Blake’s life. The romantic and personal lives of other characters, such as Blake’s two friends and another couple, intertwine and things become even more complicated than expected.
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric, who has also been racking up some awards from different film and web series festivals for Makeup x Breakup. Check out my interview with Eric J. Dickens where he discusses Makeup x Breakup, what fans can expect from season two, what advice he would give to up and coming filmmakers, and more below.
1-When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking?
I would say around High School. Initially, I wanted to work in the music industry as an A&R. I used to look at song writing credits on the back of albums and I followed the R&B Billboard charts that were posted in the back of Jet Magazine. I wanted to pursue a career in working at a record label. I think I was a sophomore in High School when the show 106 & Park debuted on BET and I realized that I wanted to work in Television. I would hurry home to watch the show daily. Following my freshman year of college, I obtained an internship at BET on 106 and Park and from there the journey began. After attending the American Black Film Festival in 2009, I realized that I wanted to transition into film and scripted television. With Makeup x Breakup, I fused two passions into one, which is why the music chosen for the series is so important.
2-Who is your favorite filmmaker?
F. Gary Gray. The goal in anything that you do is to get better. F. Gary Gray started off directing music videos and now he’s done films such as The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton, and the Fate of the Furious. Amongst African American directors, he’s one of the few that acquires budgets that exceed 100 million dollars.
3-Out of all your projects, which has been your favorite to shoot?
Makeup x Breakup has been my favorite out of all the projects I’ve created. I have the privilege of working alongside such great talent. The actors are trained and they enjoy doing the work. Between their dedication and the Cinematographer capturing my vision, we all work to create a great environment.
4-How did you come up with Makeup x Breakup?
Well, I lived in Harlem for almost 10 years after graduating college and I was always fascinated by the big personalities that I would encounter from people that migrated to the city. When you incorporate that with dating, specifically amongst millennials, it leads to a great story. I used some personal experience, stories from friends and made up scenarios to develop the storylines for the series.
5- Makeup x Breakup has been selected for many web festivals and even won awards. Why do you think the web series is a hit with viewers?
Simple and complicated at the same time…people like to see storylines that are relatable no matter where their geo location is—whether city or suburb. That’s the simple part. The complicated part is the research and time that goes into character development. Also, finding talent that has a love for acting, while taking direction and, most importantly, making sure that the characters have chemistry. The script and the cast are two big components to a successful show. We spend a lot of time choosing good music and making sure that the overall look and feel in regards to the footage is of quality.
6- What can fans expect from season two of Makeup x Breakup?
Season two, we dig deeper and peel back layers to each character. I like to challenge the actors, force them to make the characters as human as possible. It’s important for people to understand that in life, the smallest decision can change the direction that you’re going, whether it be in a personal relationship or a career move. Making serious decisions in the Big Apple can be scary and more importantly, understanding that each experience builds character, which makes us who we are. The characters in season two will find themselves at a crossroad, allowing them to understand that everything in life can’t be planned.
7-Not too long ago, you filmed a new project, called That Thing, with familiar web series actors like Omar Salmon, Cylla Seni, Nicolette Ellis, Dorothy Meyers, and Kamel Goffin. What details can you give about the upcoming project?
We’re in the post production phase for that short film. It’s a period piece that takes place in Philly during 2000-2001 and follows a young girl tragically losing her virginity. It will be out in 2018.
8-What is your dream project to make?
I can’t pick just one. I have so many ideas, but I would love to do a horror movie with a diverse cast and a period piece(Drama), specifically set in the 90’s that takes place in the inner city.
9-What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a filmmaker?
Do your research first before moving forward with any project. It will save you a lot of time. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, everything is a learning curve. Give 110% because it will pay off in the long run. Try to always remain positive, because people are looking to you for direction and the energy that you give off will show in you project. There is never enough writing that can be done. Re-write your script until its right. Lastly, networking is key in this industry so understand that after you yell cut, your job is never done.
10-What is NEXT for Eric Dickens?
I’ve just written two new short films that I’m hoping to go into production at the top of 2018 and I just completed writing on a pilot for a 30 min. drama that I’m hoping to pitch.
Photo Credit: Eric Dickens/YouTube(Makeup and Breakup)