Monday, July 16, 2012

A Random Moment with Mecca Woods


Mecca Woods, writer, filmmaker, astrologer


We met at A Monthly Bondfire in 2009 during the annual Ladies Night Event. She rocked the mic with powerful poetry about life and love. That same night she announced she was making a short film. Sure enough, it came to fruition. I attended a screening of the film, lived vicariously through her as she touched down on French soil and recently she read my natal chart keeping me on the right path. This past Friday, the 13th, despite Mercury Retrograde energy looming, we met in SoHo for Batidas and lots of laughter.

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My name is Mecca Woods AKA The Meccanism. I am a writer, filmmaker and astrologer.


How long have you been a writer?

I wanna say it’s one of the things that has been with me all of my life. It’s funny ‘cause my Dad actually has laminated stories that I wrote back when I was like 7 years old. People would always ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up and at that time I would tell them I wanna be an author, that was my big word for it. As time went on, it was one of the things that stuck with me no matter what I did. There was a brief time when I thought I wanted to go into science but I suck at math so I ended up going back to what I always knew best and that was writing.



You said [you’re a] filmmaker as well. Tell me about Concrete Pearl.

[Concrete Pearl] is a film, a project, that’s been about 5, 6 years in the making. I originally thought it was gonna be a novel but as I started to put the story together, the way the characters were starting to come together, the dialogue and stuff like that, I just had this idea that it would work better as a film. I ended up meeting Curtis John, who is the director and also the co-writer of the script and things just took off from there. After like 4 years of pushing and working on the script we were able to raise up enough money to do a short film. We took it to the Cannes Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard. We recently sold to a distributor based in the UK, ShortsTV. The next thing is to try to get the full-length feature made.


Clearly the filmmaking, the writing, “getting it all done” that’s a collaborative process. How important to you are collaborators in your work?

I say very much so. I really enjoy working with folks who have that like-minded feel to them who are also creative... bouncing ideas off of folks and just being able to like co-create which I think art is essentially about. Because even if you’re doing it by yourself there’s still some sort of energy force that you’re creating with so collaboration is really important to me.






Tell me about Cannes. How was that experience? How did it come about?

One of the actresses in our short film, Marjuan Canady, the year prior, went to this internship program called Creative Minds in Cannes. It’s the brainchild of Rob Ford. What he wanted to do essentially is take kids who were interested in film and entertainment careers to Cannes and put them in to internships where they could jumpstart their careers. So she told us since we already had a film project we could apply for one of the networking portions of the internship. We submitted the film, had to write a personal statement…  and it was so funny cause around that time I was adamant that I was going to leave the country, some how, some way; I put that intention out there. You know having been born and raised in New York and never really having the opportunity to travel outside the States I was like this year has to be the year that I get out and surely enough about 2 months after we submitted the application, they said that we were accepted.

We were super excited and of course we had to hustle up some money to even get out there in the first place but it was amazing. Being able to get my passport and get on the plane and actually arrive in France, in Cannes, which is the hub of the filmmaking industry, and it’s not like LA or New York, it’s everybody from all over the world. I’m a Sagittarius, and we’re known for being world travelers and that was just heaven, that was a dream for me and one of the biggest things that I walked away with it was not only that something started, like an idea that grew to this thing that showed at Cannes, it was also being able to meet other filmmakers from the Diaspora and just seeing their work and a lot of creativity coming out of Senegal and Berlin and France even it was just… and the people were so genuine, that I really appreciated. So having that on the résumé now you know, that was like a real shining moment.


If the lead character in your movie, Zemira, could go to Cannes, what would you want her to experience?

I think I would want her to see something similar in the sense of being exposed to different people, being exposed to different cultures, seeing that the world is much bigger than what she knows. ‘Cause essentially Zemira’s character is a girl who was born and raised in The Bronx and her world is very small, you know, she just lives within a microcosm but at the same time you can see that there’s something in her that wants to branch out but she doesn’t have the resources to do that so if she’d have the opportunity to do that, that is something I’d want her character to experience. I think that would be something that would be pretty life-changing for her character, to be able to transport herself out of her immediate environment.






What is your favorite word, in any language, and why?

I think my favorite word… Romance… in any language, romántico [laughs] I tend to think of myself as an idealist, I’ve always had a problem with taking no for an answer. I’ve always had a problem with just being settled with things that are right in front of my face, like I always wanted to know what’s beyond, what’s behind the curtain, where can my mind take me and I think that romance is very much like that. Not even just in sense of between people, but in sense of being in love with ideas, being in love with romance comes creativity.


Head, shoulders, knees or toes?

The head, yeah, I say the head ‘cause I’m attracted to intelligence. I’m attracted to open-mindedness and the sense of being able to broaden the mind so I would say the head.


How did this Sun Archer, Water-bearing Moon child get into astrology?

Well, going back to what I was saying about always being a creative, romantic thinker, mysticism has always been something that I’ve been interested in and also for astrology, how can I transcend my immediate world into something greater. Astrology has always been something I was interested in but I didn’t get heavy and serious about it until about 2 years ago. It’s always life’s tumultuous events that kinda set the stage for certain things. I was brought to astrology by way of heartbreak. I was trying to figure out why it was I was attracting these certain types of men, what was it about me, what kinda energy was I giving off. Astrology made me think about the kind of energy I had, how I could better manifest it, what kinda energy works better with the kind that I have because I tend to be a really independent woman, I don’t do the shy, coy role so much and I wanted to find out how I could turn my love life around. Not even just my love life, but just life in general, how could I better be in charge of me? 

Astrology was the thing that worked for me. The thing about astrology, it’s a tool, like anything else. What draws me to it is it’s self-empowering, it gives you the choice to make up your mind for yourself, it doesn’t put you in a place of disadvantage—like something is inherently wrong with you, you’re never gonna be able to fix it—so that was the thing that spoke to me and from there, I was like I wanna show this to other people, I think other people would get a kick out of this. So back in April is when I decided to open up shop and started a professional practice in reading charts ‘cause I had been doing it for my friends and they were always saying I should do this for real, for real. I was like, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t wanna give people wrong information” but I went for it. And the results and the feedback I was getting is I’m on to something so I’m gonna stick with it.


So in a sense, when you’re doing astrology it’s kinda like giving advice to people, or directing them down a path. What would be your advice to someone trying to find their way in the creative world?

Trust your intuition. I think in Western culture we don’t have anyone to really advocate that “trusting your gut” feeling enough because everything is so focused on material, tangible, “if it’s not right there in front of my face then it doesn’t exist” kinda stuff, you know what I mean? But I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve not trusted my gut and felt bad about it later. Or did and was like, ok, on to the next thing, cause everything just starting to click into place. And I think for folks who are just starting out especially someone who is very young in their art, intuition is the best thing that you could have on your side because you’ll have people putting their stuff on you, what they think you could do better but the only way to really go is by trusting yourself because when you do that it’s like you’re trusting the Universe—that mind-body connection thing happens. So yeah trusting intuition is definitely the thing, yeah trusting yourself.


Do you have an artist vice? What’s your vice?

Does booze count? [laughs] I love a good drink. I love a good wine. Outside of that, I’m also attracted to the darker side of life, you know, things that are taboo, things that are unspoken, the stuff that’s kinda buried that people don’t wanna talk about or discuss, those are things that I’m attracted to and those are the things that kinda fuel my art too.


Any upcoming projects?

I have a couple ideas of other films I’d like to do. I’ve been working on this erotic story for a little while…

[gives the thumbs up]

…that I’m trying to wrap up and finally finish.

A short story?

It’s a short story. I’ve been thinking about turning it into a novel but I’m not exactly sure where I would go with that just yet, but yeah I’m constantly having ideas about what I wanna do next so it’s just a matter of putting in the footwork to do it. But yeah, those are things that are on the table right now.




Complete this statement: If my muse were an animal, it would be…

Would be cliché if I said a horse?

There’re no cliché answers…

I say cliché cause you know horse is kinda Sagittarian related, but I like the idea of that freedom. Of being able to go where I wanna go. I don’t want anyone to come break my spirit and try to break me down, try to control me—pull my reigns—just let me run and do my thing…


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