Lafayette Dennis is a screenwriter and published author born in Irving, Texas to two Liberian immigrants who began cultivating his talents at a very young age. As a youth, Lafayette was always encouraged to explore his talents and found great joy in creating stories and comic books with his vivid imagination. Today, Lafayette enjoys his work as a real estate agent in Mansfield and since recommitting his passion in writing, he has officially become the published author of the children’s book entitled, Gresham the Dreamer; a book that encourages children to follow their passions and dreams. Since the 2018 summer release date, Lafayette has conducted a successful book launch, a book signing in which a portion of the proceeds went back to the local Feed The Kids summer program, and has also spoken to the leadership of Century 21 Judge Fite Company about both his book and personal story. Recently he shared with me some of the inspirations behind his creativity.
What sort of stories excite you?
The stories that excite me the most are the ones that make me think, ones that have a deeper meaning or a universal message. Those type of movies really get my creative juices flowing and inspire me to create as well.
Tell me about two famous writers who have inspired you and why?
One writer I would say that is really inspiring to me is Spike Lee. She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, and Do the Right Thing remain classics to this day. They all have the underlying messages, which I love. The other writer is Ava DuVernay; not just as a writer but for the space she has created. With the likes of Selma and 13th, I feel Ava has done a phenomenal job paving the way for subject matters such as racial injustice to become more mainstream.
How do you find inspiration for your stories?
How I find the inspiration for what I create is usually through self-reflection and/or life experiences. Life is one big story made up of chapters and subchapters. All I do is take one of those subchapters and create an elaborate story from it. At times its comedy, other times it may be drama or a combination of the two.
What is the most difficult thing about screenwriting?
The most difficult challenge about screenwriting for me is getting a script just the way I want it. They say the writing is in the rewrite and that is definitely true. I’ll have a script completed, will go through it, hate the flow, and then rewrite it, sometimes in its entirety. The last thing a writer ever wants is for an audience to lose interest while watching whatever it is the writer wrote, whether it be on the big screen, on television, or on an online platform. To me, it’s important that whatever I write keeps an audience engaged, hence the reason why I am constantly rewriting.
Was there a specific moment that made you start writing and if so when was it?
The specific moment that made me start writing happened back in 2013 when I began taking acting classes in Dallas. After those classes ended, I stayed in touch with some of my instructors and in turn shared some of my writing material with them. They noticed I had a gift for writing and encouraged I keep at it. I’ve been perfecting my craft ever since.
What’s next for you?
My goal is to continue writing and creating in every aspect that I possibly can. I just recently had the chance to watch my first film be screened at a film festival. That experience was very humbling, inspiring, and motivating at the same time. My writing has also led to me coming out with my first children’s book entitled,Gresham the Dreamer; which inspires kids and adults alike to follow their dreams in the hopes of finding their purpose in life. My overall aim is for my writing to inspire everyone around me to do what makes them happy.
What’s your productivity secret?
The secret to my productivity I would say is setting time to write every week even if there is a project that I am personally working on. Another way I stay productive is by keeping a clear understanding of my “why.”
All Images: Jazella McKeel