Header: Derrick James Clark, Arts and Creative Entertainment, Inc.
Written by William Bryant Rozier
There’s this theory that filmmakers make movies for themselves because they have to “watch” every infinite version of their creation the most. From the idea/script phase, through the shooting and the edit, and to every screening, a filmmaker better pick material that’s “watchable” because making movies is a long process.
For his first paid job, filmmaker Derrick James Clark learned where to put the camera by trial and uncomfortable error. Then he had to sit down and edit the thing. He still thinks his first video production is “ugly,” his word not mine, but I don’t think he would time travel and course correct.
His first client was a woman in her 60’s who was getting married and was referred to Clark when she went asking in a barbershop. “She was like an angel of encouragement telling me to keep going,” Clark said, “that’s how I process it now because the final product was not worth $1,000. But she was a sweetheart.” It made sense to need more than one camera to shoot a wedding. It’s the small stuff.
The 31-year-old Clark is self-taught; he credits his knowledge to direction from the Holy Spirit. His success today as a full-time videographer of corporate videos, short films, documentaries, and music videos is well-earned and well-fought. His luxury wedding cinematography falls under a separate subset of his Arts and Creative Entertainment brand, doing business as The Elegant Expressions.
He went to school for audio engineering at the University of Saint Francis (USF) only because music studios required a degree for entry; he was making beats before all that. Clark first pursued a career in music. He moved from Fort Wayne to Atlanta for about a year and a half and worked with a-list talent, but the lifestyle in the studio was running in conflict with who he was becoming. (He didn’t graduate from USF because he left for Atlanta; he did get his degree from Cornerstone Christian Bible College International.)
Clark is originally from Madison, Wisconsin and moved to Fort Wayne the first time about nine years ago when he was age 22; his first visit was for a family reunion. His mindset about it was if he didn’t already know the rest of his family by then, why bother. “Just ignorant,” he said. Clark was headed down the wrong path (selling drugs, lady’s man) and away from his high school sweetheart-now-wife, Marketta Clark, and his first-born son. He had stopped going to his Wisconsin church; they had shunned him by then. “I remember praying, if you’re real, I need you to show me,” he said.
So Clark goes to this family reunion and on the first night, his uncle Darren Parrish was singing this gospel song. “I felt the presence of God like I never felt in my life,” he said. He saw a big cloud and fell to the ground crying. “People were looking at me crazy, they probably thought I was high.” His uncle later explained the cloud and the change he felt was the Shekinah Glory; Clark had to google it. “It was liberating presence. I felt free and felt love, was just like joy.” The next day, he met with Apostle, Dr. Oscar J. Dowdell-Underwood of the Destiny Dome Embassy at Cathedral of Praise Ministries. The two men locked hands. “I felt the electricity go from my body; it felt like warm honey from an angel.” That took place in June. Clark moved to Fort Wayne in November and stayed with his uncle. His life began to change when he submitted himself to the word of God and into the mentorship of Dr. Dowdwell-Underwood.
When he came back from Atlanta, after the studio situation didn’t work out because of who he was becoming, Dr. Dowdell-Underwood told him that “God is giving you another gift, tap into it.” Clark believes his gift should point to God because “it doesn’t come from me,” he said.
Audio production and video work are like cousins, so the learning curve isn’t too steep.
Derrick James Clark
Arts and Creative Entertainment (ACE), Inc.
Facebook: Derrick James