#certifiedFRESH: The Karyn Rose Interview (Writer & Director of the Web Series 'Smoke and Mirrors')

Interview by DJ Aaron Omar

I’m here with Karyn Rose, ½ of the production company Christmas In July 1982 as well as the writer and director of Smoke and Mirrors.  I want to start off talking about your production company. How did Christmas In July 1982 come to exist? 

My partner Artemus Jenkins (AJ) and I went to college together. We wanted to do something together and we were in a place of having to create something that made sense. At the time, he was doing music videos and I was doing theatre in New York; we wanted to create a vehicle to push all of our projects through. 

What created your interest in film writing and directing in the first place? 

I think movies in 1995, black film in particular...the era of Spike Lee, The Hughes Brothers, John Singleton. I loved the stories being told; stories about blackness. As a kid, I always wanted to make movies. “How the hell you do that,” I had no idea. I had to figure it out. I’d been writing since about 4th or 5th grade so I had so many stories that I wanted to tell. I progressed from poetry to short stories to plays, leading to the theatre circuit in New York. 

Would you say there is a specific 1 or 2 directors who had a style that influenced you? 

Yeah, I think Woody Allen is incredible, I love Spike Lee and Julie Taymor. I think only film snobs and film geeks actually get how much Woody Allen is an inspiration for the way that films are put together. 

So for the novice, if you had to recommend one Woody Allen film as required viewing, what would it be? 

Annie Hall. Go watch that right this second (laughter).

Now on to Smoke and Mirrors.  I see it as an attempt to figure out dating and romantic relationships while also learning about oneself.  What made you want to tackle that topic as opposed to something else?

That’s easy (laughter). So, AJ and his girlfriend had just broken up; he was angry and had so much to say. Once he told me what ideas he had, we figured out what would make sense. Immediately, I had the scripts for the 1st 4 episodes written. 

I was really intrigued with the way you decided to release the series. What made you decide to go with VHX as opposed to a larger digital or traditional broadcast release? 

Just the fact that I can do what I want the way that I want it and release it direct to consumer was really empowering. I’m not against traditional networks or other digital platforms but what VHX has done for us is create a platform where we can go straight to our fans. Now as a creative, you don’t need anybody else to do anything for you. You can do it yourself in a major way.

Very dope.  Where can people watch the show and where can people find you online?

There are 2 ways. You can either catch it on YouTube HERE or you can go to SmokeAndMirrors.VHX.TV.  I am at @TheKarynRose on Twitter and Instagram. My production company is @ChristmasJuly82 on Twitter and @ChristmasInJuly1982 on Instagram.

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