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Life & Work with Isaiah Forte-Rose

Today we’d like to introduce you to Isaiah Forte-Rose.

Hi Isaiah, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started by working as a camera operator for a church in Durham. I met a mentor of mine, Bobby Long, who taught me the ins and outs of broadcast media. This was towards the beginning of high school. From there, my high school (Middle Creek) had a digital media program, helmed by some very knowledgeable teachers who had worked in broadcast media as a career. They wanted to create an academy that gave high school students a college-level learning experience before they graduated. In that program, I kept honing my broadcast skills and developing my abilities in digital media software such as Adobe Creative Cloud. Because I was so literate in these different technologies, I was hired out of high school as an ENG editor for WRAL.

While doing these 30 hour weeks, I was also doing part-time school. I eventually decided that my true passion lied in filmmaking, so I took most of the money in my savings account and started making films. My thought was that I could gain more experience and connections to people in the industry by organizing my own projects. From there, I started meeting a wide variety of talented people who shared a passion for filmmaking and helped me elevate my projects a little more each time. From that point, I’ve been writing material as much as I can, producing my own work to display my abilities, and by doing so, I meet more people who are willing to be a part of my team or have me hop on their own. Now I write, produce, act in, and/or direct indie films in addition to freelancing in a wide variety of roles on bigger projects.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all. Starting out, I didn’t have a lot of money for equipment, but you need equipment in order to make money for more equipment. I had to take less ambitious jobs and do them really well so I could move up to the next tier. All the while, I was attending school full time and working full time as well. It was a lot of long hours and late nights to reach the goals I had. Once I finally had some funds to invest in my projects, it was still a difficult balancing act between the ambition of my projects and my cost of living. An example of this being a film I was making in college, called Murder On The Dance Floor. I essentially emptied out my savings account making that film, but I did that because I didn’t have many contacts in the film industry at the time, and making my own set was the easiest way for me to get contacts. Once you’re doing this, you also have to be really careful of creative burnout because it happens, and self-care is something that can get swept under the rug with creatives but it’s really important to find a moment to yourself.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a freelance filmmaker. I specialize in writing and directing independent films. I’ve made films such as Murder On The Dance Floor, Alpha, and Circle of Bulls. These have all been through my production company Bad Mule Productions. The only thing that I’d say sets me apart from others is that I do the work, and I want to do it; besides that, anyone could do what I’m doing.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t be afraid to take risks, find a way to do what sets your soul on fire, and once you find success hold the door open for someone behind you.


  • Photography: $100hr/base
  • Videography: $30hr/base
  • Video Editing: $30/hr base
  • Graphic Design: $200 base

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