Today we’d like to introduce you to Octavia Ethridge.
Octavia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started writing when I was 15 in the middle of watching the movie “Flashdance”. Something about the movie gave me an idea and I wrote an entire feature film after watching it. So, I decided when I was 17 that I was going to join the Marine Corps to get a free education so that I could go to the college I’ve always wanted to, The Los Angeles Film School, to get an education in film.
My mother couldn’t afford to pay for my college and my dad just decided he wasn’t going to pay, so I had to take four years of my life, serving in the Marine Corps to get to Los Angeles. I literally looked up what branch was closest to LA and it was the Corps so I signed up having no idea that I would manifest the station I wanted but I did. While I was active duty, I took some days off to explore the industry by being an extra.
I started there and from there, I became a talent escort. Being behind the scenes and learning how award ceremonies worked to how movie sets were ran, gave me so much inspiration and I felt home. I knew that filmmaking was my calling and that I was on the right track. After I got out the corps, I went straight to school to learn writing, but then I fell in love with directing. Before I thought I wanted to be an actress but as I got older, I realized that being on camera just wasn’t my thing. After all those years and obstacles, here I am today, doing what I love directing and writing.
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been an easy road. I had to learn how to be an adult extremely early in my life. After I joined the Marine Corps, I had a difficult time being on my own. I had to learn how to be an adult because I didn’t have parents who could support me when I was financially struggling. Everyone thinks the military people have money but they really don’t and I had to learn the hard way. My entire life started to crumble beneath my feet.
My mom became an alcoholic, my dad wouldn’t send me money to help out when I needed it and I had to take care of my mom and baby brother. I fell into a deep depression because I had so much pressure from being a Marine and on top of it, dealing with my family. There’s much I can’t speak about with the military but it made me who I am today, very strong, alpha female.
Tell us more about your work.
I am a director, screenwriter and producer. A lot of people know me for directing various films I’m producing at the moment, on Instagram. What sets me apart from others is not only my gender but the fact that I am a masculine, black, female director who is gay. There aren’t any directors in the spotlight that are any of those traits and the projects I have are always controversial and has a strong female presence.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I definitely see myself amongst all the people I look up to who are working in the industry. I think I’ll get recognition for my work and hopefully have three huge businesses running by then.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tayridge/