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Rising Stars: Meet Dominique Mouton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dominique Mouton.

Hi Dominique, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve been a writer my whole life. At nine years old, I began keeping a detailed diary where I agonized over bad movies, parents and elementary school drama. Guess you could say my immediate reality has always inspired me.

By the time I graduated high school, I thought I was gonna be a music journalist writing for Spin Magazine or something. Somewhere down the line, I realized film was where I needed to be. Screenwriting seemed to combine the most aspects of my personality and interests: a love for storytelling, passion for cinema and the opportunity to examine life from multiple perspectives. Like so many young hopefuls before me, I knew Los Angeles was where I had to be to seriously pursue my dream. Cliche, I know. But with the tech industry decimating the arts community in Oakland, Southern California seemed to offer more lucrative opportunities for writers.

So I left the East Bay for the first time in my life and enrolled in UCLA’s TV Writing Professional Program. I wanted to write the next Dexter, True Blood, or The Wire…shows that were gritty, organically diverse, darkly humorous and substantive. It was during this time that I conceived of The Lower Bottoms, an offbeat story that was inspired by my time in West Oakland. After placing second in the school’s TV pilot contest, I was a bit lost. Managers and agencies contacted me, wanting to reading the script and see what else I had in my arsenal. The variety of options were actually paralyzing. While I figured my life out, I took a position at top entertainment agency, WME, in the music department. I learned a lot and made great friends there, but office management was not for me.

Turns out, scripted podcast was the perfect place for The Lower Bottoms. It was still a fairly new medium with lots of opportunities. After shooting a proof of concept with actor friends and a renowned sound designer, we pitched Will Packer Productions on our project. They loved it and brought it to iHeart Media. In 2021, we produced a fantastic ten-episode season which starred Kelsey Grammer, Theo Rossi, Teresa Celeste and so many other wonderful actors. We also did a very powerful interview with Black Panther leader Elaine Brown for the show. Season 2 is now underway and we’ve added more iconic voices. I am thrilled to share that the iconic Debbie Allen and the brilliant Amber Riley have joined our cast.

Today, I’m writing film screenplays and pilots, pitching projects and hustling. Earlier this year, I was on the production team for Joslyn Rose Lyon’s short film Butterfly Boxing, which stars J. Alphonse Nicholson and Hill Harper. In the near future, you’ll be able to hear my thoughts on Bay Area films from KALW, a San Francisco-based radio station. I also just invested in a Black Magic Camera and have begun shooting short documentaries. In a lot of ways, I’m back to my nine years old self. Everything comes full circle!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Yeesh. I’ve had my fair share of bumps and bruises. My path has not been easy by any means. In moving to LA and pursuing my dreams, I’ve experienced houselessness, joblessness, credit card debt, depression, the loss of important relationships and stability. And more! But through it all, I somehow never lost sight of what I was put on this earth to do. Guess that’s what happens when pathological stubbornness meets destiny.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
The Lower Bottoms scripted podcast really helped to launch my career in fictional writing. Before that, I refused to call myself a writer. Now, I definitely feel safe in calling myself that. I’m a storyteller above all else. And in different mediums, too. Podcast, film, TV, essays…it’s exciting.

I’m proud of how much I’ve continued to believe in myself despite the many trials and tribulations. But honestly, my various life experiences have informed my writing, making me more compassionate and aware of others’ perspectives. It’s given me empathy. So I’m grateful.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
So my siblings and I would watch the same VHS tapes and DVDs over and over. We memorized whole films word for word. The movie Labyrinth was a favorite. My sister Kristina and I knew all the lyrics and would dance to David Bowie’s funky songs in the film.

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Image Credits
Lex Macon Katya Frelikh

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