Know Better - Concept Short
It’s a big deal for me—naming my portfolio “The Dawson State Cinematic University”. It’s my asking someone to make real something I used to tell myself was silly to dream of.
I dared to ask “If Marvel can have a cinematic universe, why can’t I build a cinematic university?” The idea is to bring my integrity and firsthand experience to the untold Black stories of historically Black university halls. I cherished my experience so much, each heartbreak and each accolade—the only way to do my time at Morgan justice is to talk about it to as many people as will listen. Even more beautifully, my personal stories represent but a sliver of the many experiences that make these institutions worth celebrating. As long as we do our part by continuing to raise the bar for the Black stories that get told, the potential for longevity is high! The journey starts with Know Better, a short film set at Dawson State that will serve as proof of concept for the eventual larger feature film of the same title.
The title, Know Better, asks a simple question of a common phrase: “If you know better, you do better.” But what if you don’t know better? Specifically, what if you didn’t have parents interested in equipping you with what you needed to “know” to “do better”? In the concept short, we see a lead character, Kira, flailing around trying to focus on the right things. Should she pull up her grades? Get in the in-crowd to meet basketball scouts? Meet—rather, exceed—the standards set by her campus superstar girlfriend? Practice harder and improve her stats? Cherish the few years of memories she’ll get to make at Dawson State University?
She keeps hearing what a privilege it is to attend Dawson, laced through accusations that she’s not showing up enough for herself. But Kira is keenly aware that she has to filter through all these decisions to explore what she feels about herself. The short shows how crushing it can be when all the positive opinions people hold of you accumulate into nothing. The feature will expand the concept show the “before and after” of what is shown in the short, including the parents that left Kira not “knowing better”. Know Better is based on a true story.
I’m asking you to join the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in investing in a concept that can potentially even outlive me. I have provided examples of projects set at the fictional Baltimorean “Dawson State University”, and there are many more in the works I haven’t yet listed. I intend to bring each one to life, and would humbly welcome your help with this mission.