WOMEN BEHIND THE LENS

Tina Gordon Chism

Jesse Szymanski | December 30, 2020

Tina Gordon Chism is an American screenwriter and director. Her films include Peeples, ATL, and Drumline. Most recently, she co-wrote the scripts to the comedies What Men Want and Little, and directed the latter.

Chism attended the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., with aspirations to become an actress. Once the auditions began, she noticed that most casting directors lacked the cultural acuity for casting talent like her. Gordon discerned early on that if she wanted to see multidimensional characters that reflected a reality she could relate to, she would have to play an active part in writing and creating the reality that she wanted to see.

Boldy, as a teen, she wrote a script for the Cosby Show and sent it to the studio for approval. After a lengthy phone call explaining true protocol for accepting scripts and having her own script torn apart, she was flown down for a taping of the show and offered an internship.

Had she not taken that initial risk, she may have missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

“For young people, I say take big swings. Take obnoxiously big swings, because you have nothing to lose.” - Chism

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