Today we’d like to introduce you to Akiya McKnight. Them and their team share their story with us below:
With an obsessed love for writing and storytelling in multiple capacities, the producer/writer Akiya McKnight has been embarking on her film/TV/Podcast career as a writer/producer for the last seven years. Chasing her childhood dream from Bridgeport, CT to New York, Atlanta and currently Los Angeles, she has written and produced 13 film festival favorites including shorts SERVED, Black Mask, Drift, Bone Deep, Daddy’s Home and Monet’. Akiya has also produced brand content for the Recording Academy. In 2017, she took an innovative leap and produced a scripted podcast called District Queen. In 2020 she produced another hit podcast, Women With The Blueprint, which helps women of color navigate their career dreams in entertainment.
Akiya has worked on productions such as Survivors Remorse, ATLANTA, Warner Brother’s Doom Patrol, AMC’s Lodge 49 and MTV’s Scream Series and for Tyler Perry Studios. Formally she also worked at one of the top talent agencies in LA, The Gersh Agency. She currently works as a Coordinator at Shondaland Audio. Akiya is working on a pilot script as well as multiple podcasts. Her mission is to tell full spectrum stories of women and minority experiences from all over the world. Through Akiya’s work, she aims to entertain, educate and enlighten through her projects.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The road has definitely not been smooth. I’ve faced a few struggles, some internal and some external. I would say externally being a woman of color in the tv industry started off rough for me because I was often not taken seriously and couldn’t find a mentor until years into my career. I also didn’t go to film school so I had to teach myself most things about the industry through trial and error but also on youtube. Finding confidence in my craft took some time and a few projects. Additionally, chasing this dream from Connecticut to NYC to Atlanta and now Los Angeles, I’ve had to sacrifice tons of time with my family. I’ve missed out on a lot of special moments.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a producer and screenwriter with over seven years of experience. I have produced short films, web series, podcasts and brand content. Currently by day, I’m a coordinator at Shondaland Audio in the Podcast department. I also spent a lot of my time mentoring up-and-coming women of color in the industry and also ran a mentorship program called Bear The Torch via The Artistic Standard Indie Production company over the pandemic. I am proud of all the work I do but my most passionate project ever was my first short film “Served” as it was a personal piece for me. It won many awards on the festival circuit. What sets me apart from others is my authenticity in my projects but also my passion build others as I climb.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
My best advice for finding a mentor is first to do the work so you show potential mentors that you are a self-starter, second ask potential mentors for informational meetings and always have a service or help to offer to a mentor. A mentor mentee relationship should be reciprocal. All of these tips have worked for me as far as finding a mentor. As far as networking, always follow your intuition on the energy you get from people as you observe the room, compliment people when you meet them and introduced yourself but never say aspiring.
- Instagram: @visionarher
Jerome Shaw Malikka McDuffie