Interview with Braxton Cosby, CEO of Cosby Media Productions

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(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Any smart entrepreneur or business person alike knows that in order to succeed and further one’s career, it’s wise to take advice from other entrepreneurs/business owners. I find that interviewing successful and creative people is the fastest way to learn about how they think while learning from their triumphs and failures.

Today, Dr. Braxton A. Cosby is a guest on my blog, and he’s here to share about his new company, Cosby Media Productions. As the CEO of the company, there is much he is responsible for, but I really wanted to pick his brain in regards to what prompted him to start the company in the first place. So, grab a cup of coffee and read on.

CMP TM1000

1. Tell us about your company, Cosby Media Productions. What does your company do, etc.?

BC: Cosby Media Productions is a full-service entertainment company that focuses on new intellectual properties in the areas of management, print/digital books, music, television, and film. New content is already in the works with networking and partnership opportunities available for future endeavors. It was developed by me, the CEO, and my partner, Leon Cosby III, who is the acting COO. We truly endeavor to build and partner with other content creators to make fabulous entertainment in the same scope or even larger than the blueprint that my Uncle Bill Cosby started.

2. What prompted you to start this company?

BC: The lack of original content available for people. There is something missing in today’s entertainment. Good, original, family content that inspires people. I love stories that offer encouragement and display good role-modeling for young people to follow. I’m excited at the prospects of how well-received some of the many projects we have in development are.

3. Is it difficult to manage a company like this? What are some of the biggest struggles you face as a business owner?

BC: Not really. Leon and I make the tough decisions of deciding who we partner with, and I have the final say so on what content we run with. Bringing on partners who we feel we can trust to pass on managing one facet of the company is tough, but we believe in those people. So, with God’s help through prayer, we walk in faith.

4. What are some of the benefits of owning your own company?

BC: Building and controlling you own content. We love the fact that once we get these projects funded, we will be able to keep the originality and purpose of the content intact, without compromising the messaging.

5. What kinds of projects are taking place at CMP right now?

BC: We have 5 divisions: management, film, tv, print and music. We have just finished completing deals that will ensure that our print and music divisions get the authors and singers the attention they deserve, and we are shaping out the animation and live action film and tv projects for first tier development. Action, story, and messaging are our focus, and it is paramount that they blend together smoothly.

6. Is there a “dream project” you’d like to work on?

BC: PROTOSTAR. I really want the trilogy to make it to the big screen and it will. But, it will require time to bring the pieces together.

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I’d like to personally thank Braxton for taking the time to share a bit about his company and his heart behind the creation of Cosby Media Productions. Also, DID YOU KNOW? I am the Chief Editor for Cosby Media’s Print Division. We have already put out some great books this year, and are looking forward to the future projects for 2015! 🙂

To find out more about Braxton and CMP, visit these sites:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Braxton Cosby headshotBio: Author, actor, entrepreneur. Multi-Award Winning Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga, and The School of Ministry: The Windgate, are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, a full-service media company with five divisions focused on developing Intellectual Properties that will “Entertain the Mind and Inspire the Soul.” He lives in Georgia with his wife, three children, and a troop of crazy African Cichlids. 

Should You Listen to Naysayers?

Part of being an entrepreneur involves receiving negative or discouraging comments from others. When I decided to freelance and quit my job, giving up a steady paycheck, I heard things like, “Is there any money in copywriting or editing?” and “But how are you going to pay your bills?” and “Wow…that’s a tough industry. Good luck.”

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Rather than tell them off, I held my tongue, smiled, and said, “It’s actually a great industry and there’s lots to keep me busy.” Then I went my merry way and launched my business. I’ve never been a follower, anyway, and I was so ready to do my own thing. But sometimes, I think it’s important to listen to the so-called naysayers.

The only problem is: When should you listen to them and when should you ignore them?

Let’s break it up and analyze:

When you should NOT listen

  • If your endeavor involves risk, but there’s lots of opportunity for you
  • If it’s something you’ve been dreaming about and know how to make happen
  • If you are ready to put in the hard work, have the resources you need, and are willing to make sacrifices (especially financially)
  • If you just feel ready for the change and have been making steps to reach your goal
  • If that person’s “caution” or “words of wisdom” to you are just their own fears and doubts

Don’t let your fears–or the fears of someone else, for that matter–hold you back from going after your passions. When you do what you love, and you can figure out how to make it work for you, then go after it without looking back.

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When you should listen

  • If what you’re about to do is incredibly dangerous and you could lose your life (even then, I know some daredevils will go for it)
  • If what you’re planning to do is incredibly stupid (like buying a magical bean that will grown a giant beanstalk)
  • If you haven’t taken the time to plan things out (preparation is the key to success)
  • If you have some life issues (emotional or physical disabilities) that cause an incredible hindrance to your daily well-being
  • If you know you’re not ready, but you’re letting pride cloud your sound judgement

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Just because someone advises you to reconsider choices you are about to make doesn’t mean that you have to completely forget the idea. Rather, it means that you should at least think about their “advice” and ask yourself if there is any credibility to what they’ve told you. Sometimes, it’s hard to remove our ego and we develop this personal vendetta to prove everyone wrong at any cost. Don’t do something just to show others you’re right.

Take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. The best thing to do? Find people who are passionate, like you, and are successful entrepreneurs/business leaders/etc. and ask them if you can buy them some coffee in exchange for an hour of their time. Pick their brains, ask them questions, find out how they became successful. Surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded can help you as you make business and life decisions.

So, heed the naysayers, but weigh your choices with sound judgement and advice from those whom you admire and trust. Don’t let the Negative Nellies get you down; create the life of your dreams by taking some risk. It just may be the best thing you’ve ever done.

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Being Confident

Sometimes, we just need to read/hear words of affirmation, especially when we are pursuing our dreams. I’m no exception; I need to hear words of affirmation, even though I have a very strong inner drive. I have the privilege of working with many people who share a like mindset, and I am constantly reminding myself to make sure they know that I support their goals and dreams. After all, I coach writers and edit their books–and writing is no easy task!

Therefore, whatever you’re dreaming of, whatever you’re working on, whatever you’re worried about… this post is for you. A bit of motivation and inspiration to stay the course and be confident. Something I read on Facebook or Pinterest (or something) yesterday:

“Be confident: Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves, our success, and where we are in life with others. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and to be successful and overcome fear, we need to accept everything we are–and aren’t–and move forward and create our own story.”

-Author unknown

Photo credit: Tamar Hela

Photo credit: Tamar Hela

What is a “Highly Creative” Person, Anyway?

"Crayons Colliding" by Yours Truly

“Crayons Colliding” by Yours Truly

This morning, as I was forcing myself out of sleep fog, I read a great article from Huffington Post titled “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.” Click HERE to read it for yourself. I found myself relating to just about every “habit” or behavior as described in the article. What stuck out to me the most, however, is that scientists have been straying away from the left brain/right brain descriptor, and have, instead, begun to point us towards the creative part of the brain. This makes so much sense to me, particularly because I would argue that I am a creative who uses both sides of her brain.

Lately, I’ve been doing impromptu research on the creative person in general, in hopes of finding some answers for myself. I’ve found myself unleashing my curiosity more and more. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and really want to ground myself in my self-awareness. Or perhaps it’s because I’m practicing my creative freedom so often these days, that I want to make sure what I create has meaning. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I’ve become apathetic with so many things and wonder why the hell I just don’t care about said things I used to have anxiety over. Yeah, it’s definitely the latter.

Part of unleashing creativity also means letting go of a lot of other things. The past year has been an incredible journey for me as an artist, a writer, and a business owner. I see how so many pieces of that journey connected in order to lead me to the here and now…to this very blog post, even.

As I’ve opened up my mind to this path and to self-discovery, I’ve, at times, felt like a child again: finding things I like and things I don’t. And even being honest about it all. If I don’t like something, I admit it AND I stop doing it. (Within reason, of course. I don’t like paying bills, but ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, huh?) And if I like something, I am making more room for it in my life.

When I think of change, evolution, and style, I’m constantly reminded of Madonna. What has made her such a huge success has been her willingness to reinvent herself–her style, her sound, her very persona. And yet, she has remained an artist throughout; the term “artist” being the most important label for her career. She’s brilliant, she’s genius, she’s creative.

And that’s what I strive to be. Creative. Or, rather, Highly Creative.

Though I readily label myself as creative, I have come to understand that in order to keep such a title, one must constantly re-evaluate, reinvent, and question–ALWAYS, always question. And when you ask so many damn questions, it can very well drive you mad. However, if you keep asking those questions, you eventually learn how to ask the right questions. Not the right questions for your parents, or your partner, or your teacher, but for YOU. It’s a very relative, organic process, I believe. If we stop asking questions, if we stop being curious about life, then we start to stifle our creative brain and resort to right brain/left brain–feeling that there is some piece missing.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein

If you are truly a “highly creative” person, then I would bet all money that you can resonate with this. But don’t be too impressed, I don’t have that much money. 😉

Ernest Hemingway once said, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Perhaps that holds some truth to it; even Wisdom Literature says that the more knowledge a person gains, the more she or he will feel burdened. But I do not think this has to be an absolute–especially for the intelligent creative person. Sure, there is the feeling of torment when us creatives cannot be devoted to the activities we prefer (writing, painting, reading, playing an instrument, building, etc.).

However, there is something to be said of the creative person who actively pursues their passions and talents. I am finding that the more time I devote to what I love to do–to write and to create in a variety of ways–the better I feel. The nicer I am to those around me. The quicker my mind is to grasp difficult concepts. I’m expanding the creative part of my brain, finding harmony between the right and left brains.

When I spent the past several years shying away from my true passions, perhaps under the influence of lies such as: “There is no money in being an artist unless one is really amazing,” or “One cannot make a career out of writing if she or he isn’t first properly trained,” I found myself becoming increasingly unhappy. And finally, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I abandoned everything that had to do with my routined and overly-busy life. At first, I was somewhat lost. But then, when I found my own rhythm and gave myself space and time to go through self-discovery, I was happier. Even when the balance of my bank account was something I should have been stressing about.

So now, how does this all connect? Well, I think it’s important to remember that not all us creatives are created equally. There are people like me who have both a penchant for organization and routine, as well as sometimes having a messy workspace and a horrible short-term memory. And there are people like my youngest sister who are amazingly talented in artistry and have no room in their minds for things unrelated to their craft. Creatives must be nurtured, but no one will nurture them until they nurture themselves–and demonstrate just how devoted to their passions they are.

As the Huffington Post article explains, “highly creative” people are those who daydream often, observe just about everything, look for new challenges and experiences, are deep thinkers, and strategize. Without such habits, a highly creative person will begin to deteriorate. I know I did. I decayed for eight years until I couldn’t take it anymore. Either I had to make a choice to accept my lot in life and find some kind of contentment elsewhere, OR make a choice to start from scratch and follow my heart.

Following one’s heart is a very, VERY scary decision sometimes, but not following one’s heart…well, I think that’s even more scary.

If you are a creative person, and you’re already following your dreams and passions, then bravo! That is awesome. But if you’re a creative person who feels stifled and unsure…maybe you know you want a change but feel scared, or don’t know where to start: do some soul-searching and ask yourself: “What do I REALLY want?” Be honest with yourself–it might be surprising. Don’t believe that happiness and creativity are destined for someone else. And stop trying to talk yourself out of taking a risk.

I wish there was a magic formula for risk-taking that always ended in success, but there’s not. However, if you’re doing something that makes you happy, then that’s success in its own right. Nurture yourself, nurture your craft, and reach out to those who support what you want to do. Beautiful and lasting creations take time to build, so build carefully and passionately.