BJ Winfrey

Film Actor, Director, Producer, and Database Administrator

1993 Alumni

Biography

Theater and Film Studies, Psychology, 1993
Atlanta, GA
Film Actor and Director
Company Founder, 622 Productions, Atlanta and Los Angeles
 

Since Emory

I got into filmmaking and acting professionally. With the directing and writing background that I had, I took some workshops and courses on screenwriting, and on producing/directing films, and went out and started making my own films, first on 16 millimeter film, then 35 millimeter, then digital video, then HD digital video. Translating playwriting to screenwriting wasn’t easy, but after reading tons of books, doing LOTS of writing, making LOTS of mistakes (and learning from them), I finally learned the craft of screenwriting and film directing.

In addition, I began taking film-acting classes about 9 years ago, getting introduced to and involved with the film/commercial acting industry in Atlanta (which is now booming). After 2 years of classes, I got an agent, and started going out on real film and TV auditions.

Current Activities

I work in IT as a Database Administrator during the day. This job, while hectic at times, allows me the freedom and flexibility to do my OTHER job as a professional actor and film director. I have my own company now, 622 Productions with a producing partner in LA.

Highlights at Emory

The biggest highlight was easily my founding of AHANA Theater in 1991.  I was young then, and learning, and making many mistakes, but that was one thing I definitely feel that I got right. In creating this student theater group, I learned so much about producing, directing, writing, dealing with different personalities, and personal and professional responsibility. Other highlights included working with the great South African playwright Athol Fugard in my senior year, and the amazing students and faculty that taught me so much, just from watching their work.

In retrospect

One thing that I definitely got out of my Theater Emory experience was the ability to never limit myself to narrow thinking. Thinking outside the box, looking for unique stories and ways to tell them, were values that definitely stuck with me. Another thing that will always stay with me is the belief that if I put my mind to something, I can make it happen. When I first became involved with Theater Emory, I was intimidated quite honestly. I was pretty new to theater and the people that I saw in TE were REALLY into theater. To be counted among them for a newbie like me seemed almost impossible, as I thought I had a late start. I made it work anyway, and I was even able to count myself among their elite before I graduated. Making a transition like that was a personal achievement that will always stay with me.

I wouldn’t trade the TE experience for anything: the good and the bad, the achievements and the mistakes. I learned SO much during that period of my life that I have been able to use like a utility tool to achieve so much more in the years since I graduated.