Today we’d like to introduce you to Akilah Chopfield.
Hi Akilah, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always had an interest in media. I grew up watching tons of movies at the theater and many Blockbuster nights. It wasn’t until college that I considered it could be a career. After being accepted to Virginia Tech for both, I made the choice between Pre-med and Communications majors. Under Communication, I thought I’d become a journalist.
Then, I took a film class as an elective and fell in love. I enjoyed writing stories and filming news packages with a documentary feel. I added Film & Media Theory to my degree. It didn’t feel like enough, so I went for my MFA at the Art Institute of Miami. After graduating, I struggled to find work in Miami and Orlando and eventually moved to Atlanta. I started as a background artist and talked to everyone I could to get work as a PA. After a few indie gigs and taking a chance of sending my resume to an ad I found on Facebook, I landed my first big show and I haven’t stopped working since. With the help of mentors, I was able to navigate from PA to Production Coordinator and took my talents to Los Angeles. Between here and Atlanta, I’ve produced a few indie projects which have garnered laurels. I have also worked as an assistant to a producer and moved corporate at the height of the pandemic. I now work as a Production Manager for Disney and continue to work on independent projects.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road. I almost didn’t get into my MFA program but my writing sample saved me. After school, I worked a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet when production jobs in Florida were near non-existent. Some of those include retail like Bloomingdales and being laid off from a customer service role for Unemployment. The irony is not lost on me. Besides that, freelance life is tough, there were times I didn’t work for longer periods than I would’ve liked but somehow made it through. The work itself takes a lot out of you high stress and lots of long nights and little sleep but all worth it for the dream.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I work as a Disney corporate Production Manager specializing in Health & Safety.
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Streaming has definitely taken over and there are so many good shows. I think we’ll continue to get even more shows from diverse perspectives because there is more space for it and the industry seems committed to encouraging it slowly but surely.
- Instagram: @neon_soul84