She Has Faith: Tracey E. Edmonds Is Making Major Moves With YouTube And Alright TV
MN: You have produced projects in various other genres. What sparked your interest in faith-based programming?
TE: A couple of years ago, I produced the film, Jumping the Broom, a romantic comedy about the clash of two families over a wedding. Jumping the Broom was a faith-based comedy with moral messaging that struck a chord with viewers for its highly entertaining content. Both secular and non-secular audiences enjoyed its characters, story, and comedy, while absorbing the faith-based message about forgiveness. After its success, I wanted to continue to develop more programming with similar messaging.
My own personal experiences and journeys in my life have led me become much stronger in my faith and Alright TV was born out of my own personal evolution. About a year and a half ago, I opened my Facebook and Twitter accounts and connected with some really amazing and beautiful people through social media. I call them my Twitter/Facebook family. When I first started my Twitter page, I began waking up in morning with inspirational thoughts that would pop in my head. I started posting and sharing these thoughts with my social media family. I quickly discovered that people really responded to my messaging. Many said that my messages helped them through issues they were dealing with, while others would tweet me back their own uplifting messages. Before I knew it, I had over 130,000 followers and a community began to form on my Twitter page. I could see that people really needed to be uplifted.
MN: How do you reach this market?
TE: More and more people are getting their entertainment from the Internet. More viewers are turning away from network productions and getting their entertainment online. Case in point, YouTube has one billion viewers and they have their premium channels, but were initially missing a faith friendly and inspirational channel among the line-up, which accounts for a huge block of new viewers and an untapped audience for online content. Alright TV was created specifically to reach this block…
MN: Looking at the recent outcome of the Emmys do you see diversity in Hollywood?
TE: I found the Emmys’ level of acknowledgement of the contributions and accomplishments of the African American creative community extremely disappointing. It shows us that we still have a lot more work to do towards diversity.
MN: Alright TV, was initially announced in February. Were there any obstacles you had to overcome to make it a reality?
TE: Alright TV has enjoyed substantial success since we launched on Easter, Sunday. We are very excited about our audience growth we’ve seen in such a short period of time. We are approaching 3 million views in just a few months. Probably, the most challenging thing for us is spreading the word that we’ve launched since we had to do so without a real marketing/promotion budget. The majority of our viewers have discovered our channel either virally, through word of mouth, or through social media. We do know, however, that once viewers discover us, they do come back again and again.
Another challenge for us, was the small size of our production budgets, but we’ve been fortunate to work with top of the line writers, directors, producers, and talent coming out of the television and film world that wanted to be part of our movement, see digital entertainment as the wave of the future, and have created excellent shows for us.
MN: Do you find Hollywood is more willing to work with black female producers than in the past?
TE: I believe that the door may be opening for female producers due the tremendous success of industry leaders like Shonda Rhimes who has taken the television industry by storm with groundbreaking shows like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. However, there are still only a handful of slots available for television shows and films featuring African-American casts. We have regressed in the number of African-American scripted shows on television. There is a lot more work that needs to be done to bring in more African-American talent, female talent and producers – and who better than ourselves to tell our stories.