Norm: What is a slam poet and what drew you to writing slam poetry? Does it have a particular form?
JD: Hmm, Slam Poetry
began 30 something years ago I believe in Queens New York, originally
I believe an offshoot or derived from the speak easys and beatniks.
It is performance poetry, original competition usually held in
bars where there are five judges with scores given half on content
and half on performance with national competitions every year, cities
choosing a team of 5 to represent them which must be found thru
competition with on average 60 or so cities represented.
to be original , and you have a time limit, 3 minutes and 10 seconds
and there are multiple rounds in every competition with scores
cumlative. I was drawn to it as in the beginning poetry was
the easiest thing to write for me and had a heavy social aspect to
it, which being a loner and wallflower in high school I was drawn
Norm: How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?
JD: I started when I was
18 when my momma was presuring me to find out what I wanted to do in
life. So I was at a red light in my car reading the book I was
reading at time propped on my steering wheel when the epiphany hit.
I had read voraciously 2 to 3 books a week since I was 5 or 6. I
wanted to be a writer. Creation gave me a great talent in art,
carving words, film and to me with it comes a responsibility. Gifts
are given for a reason. So no matter the hardship, poverty, etc I
have persevered and now, after 25 years of such am finally starting
to see the beginnings of success. Never give up on yourself or
Norm: Which is your favorite book and film and why? Too many answers to this.
JD: There is no one
film or one book, there are many. I can give you samples.
On the Road -- Kerouac. His lyrical language and skill is
downright insanity and inspiring, his spoken word tapes to jazz
illustrate that point. My inspirations in film are
Tarentino, Guillium, Leone and Lynch, so anything they have done. I
love their surrealism, imagination, dialogue writing and innovation.
Norm: Is your work
improvisational or do you have a set plan when it comes to writing
books and film scripts?
JD:Set plans going in, ie
outlines, but once im writing its all stream of conscious
Norm: What has been your overall experience as a published author and screen writer?
JD: Never done. Day
by day, inch by inch, I will not stop until I have reached Tarentino
lvl of success and my work is being taught 50 yrs after my
Norm: How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
JD: I had a rough
childhood, abuse, hardship, my adult life self imposed some of the
same, maybe not the abuse but hardship. It has taken a raw
talent and honed it to a razor edge though never stop learning till
breath has left. It has allowed me to carve etchings that are
raw and uncensored and hit the pulse of society since I was immersed
in it all of my life from the street impoverished eye level
Norm: Do you write your books and films to express something you believe or are they just for entertainment?
JD: I think they are both.
I have a unique ability to create true art but also are
commercial. I thank Creation every day for blessing me with
such, but again, gifts are given for a reason and I take that
Norm: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books and films?
JD: I am always
learning, but most times o a subliminal level, soaking it up to
regurgutate in work or conscious much later. I have also
learned self truth and awareness are the keys to talent. Give
time for others to shine, and know what your honestly good at or not
good at and be humble enough to admit that. Just cause you own
a camera and a pen does not make you a writer or
Norm: What are you upcoming projects?
have my 6th short, Memory Road, shooting on the 14th of March
and the next one I am in the middle of prepping for, A God Among Sheep.
I also have the fortune of having two of my films accepted into
a large festival, The North Virginia International Film Festival,
that is set to go soon. In addition I have another film
accepted into an online competition being put on by the FirstGlance
Film Festival. I also have been hired to shoot some other
people's projects upcoming.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your films and books?
JD: Very easy. MY WEB SITE which holds
anything anyone needs to know. Also if you would like to hire
me to write a song, direct your film, music video etc. You can
contact me there.
Norm: What would you like to say to writers who are reading this interview and wondering if they can keep creating, if they are good enough, if their voices and visions matter enough to share?
JD: Self truth and honesty
and awareness. Compare your work to the people you admire and
be harsh in that comparison. Go to open mics and read your work
and really be conscious of people's body language and reactions.
Find real people, real friends that give you honest opinions of
your work and seek such. Be open to true criticism not to say
haters, there will be a lot of those, ignore them.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
JD: I think you did a beautiful job in your interview and covers most everything. Never stop dreaming for dreams are the tools with which humanity betters itself.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors