In the Spotlight: Shyina Crayton
Updated: Oct 9, 2018
Shyina is the type of writer you want on your side. She gets things done. Once she decided to become a screenwriter, she took the necessary steps to see herself succeed. There was no doubt in her mind. She never wavered. She simply concocted a plan of success and moved towards it. That’s what it takes and is why she is seeing success in her career so quickly. Take heed. This is how you make things happen. I am very proud to introduce you to this hardworking screenwriter. This is Shyina Crayton…
I have an educational background in paralegal studies from Mountain West College, a Bachelor of Science in filmmaking and video production from The Art Institute of Salt Lake City and has a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Full Sail University.
I started professionally blogging in April of 2014 about all things fashion for nowhipcreamplease.com, and then I was offered to write album reviews for the A Girl and Her Hip Hop website. In September of 2016, I wrote my first big article for an international magazine The Naked Truth. In May of 2017, I wrote a story to coincide with the music video I produced.
Many people love being in front of the camera, but I believe the true magic goes on behind the camera. Going to film school broadened my horizons regarding what goes on behind the scenes, and it revealed the grit it takes to be a filmmaker and writer.
How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
At the age of twenty-three I read a lot of urban fiction books and as I read the books I felt like I was watching a film in my head. Therefore, I started self-educating myself how to become a screenwriter. I finally decided to switch up careers, go back to school to learn more about screenwriting and film production.
What inspired you into taking this path?
I always wanted to become a writer so I took steps towards it. I began writing on my own, attending conferences and reading a hefty amount of urban fiction books such as The Essence by bestseller Kiki Swinson and De’Nesha Diamond. These novels all inspired me to become a screenwriter and be true to what I write.
Who was the first person who believed in you?
My aunt Shanecka in the fall of 2007 was the first person. She told me I had some work to do but she intuitively knew I would be an inspirational writer. There is also a good high school friend Brandon. He read some of my material in November of 2011 and mentioned he couldn’t stop reading until he was done. He likes to introduce me to others as “the screenwriter.”
What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
Spring of 2012 I decided to write a script instead of a novel and I knew screenwriting was part of my destiny.
How do you define success for yourself?
Success is when you wake up doing what you love to do. I feel I’m doing all the right things to be on this successful path I am on.
Give us a typical day in your life:
I wake up as early as 4am. I grab a water and take my anti-seizure medication and then I grab a sandwich bag full of almonds and a banana before I start work as an analyst at 5am to 10am.
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?
I have insomnia, but early mornings are so beautiful.
What do you do midafternoon?
I try to write five to ten pages or work on editing projects.
What do you do at night?
I binge watch Netflix due to all the new releases this year. I also like to watch the history channel.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual?
I meditate before I lay down.
How do you define a successful day?
A successful day consists of completing the tasks I planned for the day.
What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Character development has been the most important skill I developed so far. Flat character personalities don’t get you very far in this industry.
What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Plots are my greatest challenge at the moment.
What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
The freedom of doing what I love to do and people trusting me with their project. Also, being nominated for three awards within a few months after receiving my master’s degree. That was amazing.
What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
Constructive feedback, networking and making new friends with the same passion as I do.
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