The Chicago Journal

Evette Vargas Reveals Her Journey From Struggling With Her Identity to Finding Refuge in the Arts

Before becoming an award-winning writer, director, producer, and storyteller, Evette Vargas was just another girl finding her place in the world. Born in the Boogie-down Bronx, she would later move to New Jersey at seven years old. Her family settled into the heart of a white suburban neighborhood. There she struggled to find comfort in her Latina heritage. Evette wanted to fit in with her friends who were predominantly white and at some point wanted to change her name to Jenny. However, she was never white enough for her white friends. Eventually, Evette lost her hood accent and found it difficult to be around other Latinos.

As she struggled with her identity, Evette Vargas found refuge in art. Her hobbies of drawing, painting, writing, and dancing once again became an outlet that lit her up and helped her find her voice. Evette was finally able to stand out. Her creativity expanded, and she would gravitate towards the urban scene with graffiti and deejaying. It was no different at home as she and her family allowed imagination to rule, and stories were loudly shared at the dinner table.

After high school, the highly-gifted Evette would delve into graphic & fashion design and spend a semester abroad in Paris, where she started a long-distance relationship with a French pastry chef. She would later work for Calvin Klein and Donna Karen as a fashion designer, but she yearned for her greatest passion — storytelling. Fortunately, Evette found herself attending NYU Tisch on a scholarship. There she was able to utilize her talents to their full extent, directing music videos, commercials and working as an advertising art director. Evette’s senior thesis film won the best of NYU, generating a lot of buzz and bringing her to Los Angeles.

Finally earning the opportunity to live out her dream, Evette Vargas utilized her skills to secure work in several major studios’ digital departments. A few years later, she would create a digital production company with her husband. Business was going well as many major names became their clients. The work allowed Evette to be creative, but she could not find the time to write her own stories. Yearning to share her stories once more, Evette went into grad school and earned an MFA from UCLA in Screenwriting and Television Show-running.

In 2019, Evette Vargas started mentoring five diverse screenwriters who dreamt of breaking into television. She organized a writer’s room setting where they broke a season arc of the Killing Eve series, wrote an episode of the arc, and concluded with a table read. While the breakthrough was something she already expected, the actors’ reaction during the table read was nothing short of positive as they shared their thoughts about the writers’ unique point-of-views. The writers and actors praised and encouraged Evette’s mentoring format, and she was excited about the prospect of making it come true, but at the time, her schedule left little room for her to invest in the project. Even when she had set up a series at MGM, Evette received support for the experience she gave the writers and actors. As an inclusion activist, she wanted to break down the barriers for underrepresented storytellers at all levels, creating The Writers Room 5050. 

Since creating her foundation, storytellers of different backgrounds were able to thrive in the writer’s room. Evette Vargas hopes that she will finally take her stories to the next level by showrunning her ideas and directing episodic television.

Learn more about Evette Vargas and The Writers Room 5050 Foundation by visiting their website. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Legacy Entertainment: Poised to Conquer the Music Industry

There is no stopping the emerging entertainment company Legacy Entertainment from conquering the country’s music industry as it combines its founders’ distinct business acumen and individual skills in introducing new talents. From production services to talent management, talent launching, and writing services, the company is a one-stop shop for aspiring and existing artists in the industry who want to create a lasting impact on this generation.

Inspired by the idea of providing an avenue for artists to share their talents on powerful platforms, founders Steven Middleton, Rondell Cobbs (better known as Beatz), and Edwin Camacho thought it best to embrace this new season and combine their unique backgrounds and over 40 years of combined experience. By putting their skills and expertise together, they are establishing an entertainment powerhouse that has the ability to grow the dreams of music artists. 

“Being in the industry for many years, seeing and learning many things both good and bad, shaped the beginning of this idea for all three founding members. We saw a hole we felt we could fill. Treating people the right way for the long term and building the foundation with integrity where everyone involved feels safe and secure is our vision. Doing this allows massive amounts of inspiration to flow between each other along with the work we do. Legacy wants to help connect the best talent in the world to the right opportunities on every level possible, and their hard work speaks for itself, leaving a positive legacy one deal at a time,” shared the Legacy Entertainment founders.  

To officially make their mark in the music industry, the company will be launching a rising and promising music artist, Meaghan Rose, whom the company just recently signed. Her debut single will be launched in October this year while her full album will make an explosive launch in January 2021. The album will be called Rose’ilium. To help the company launch her personal brand, Middleton, Cobbs, and Camacho will be working closely with well-known talent manager Joshua Mitchell. The founders are confident that just as Meaghan Rose has made an instant connection with their musical style and preferences, she will also easily attract music lovers with her upcoming debut single. 

“We want them to know that Legacy is here to help establish upcoming artists, producers, songwriters, engineers, and creatives get to the level in their career that they have always dreamed of,” the founders added. 

Legacy Entertainment is all about creating lasting working relationships with music talents from all over the country. Aside from looking for promising artists to invite to become part of their company, they are also looking at adding reliable and gifted producers and songwriters to come on board. Respected songwriter and producer Allan Edwards will be partnering with the founders all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. 

For the people behind Legacy Entertainment, the future is looking very bright for them, as music personalities are taking notice of their powerful potential. With their determination to become a household name in the music industry, only the best services can be expected to come from their team. Aside from managing talents, the company also aims to someday become a label company and be home to the next generation of superstars. 

Learn more about Legacy Entertainment by visiting their website, Facebook, and Instagram

‘Red All Over’ Director John Wayne S. III on How He Went From Production Assistant to Successful Director

John Wayne S. III (JW) is known by many as the director of the critically acclaimed indie film Red All Over, a poignant story of gun violence, mental health, bullying, and life. Over his twenty-six-year career, John Wayne has been a storyteller, filmmaker, and producer, having garnered years of immersive experience in multiple aspects of both the film and music industries. John Wayne’s unique work gives audiences fresh lenses for viewing reality as they have never seen before through film, music, and television.

John Wayne’s eye for filmmaking comes from his desire to reveal the lesser-known. He has always loved telling stories of people/events that are not noticed by many. The director has a penchant for zooming in on the smaller, less understood lessons that seem to get swept behind the scenes despite their importance.

The Chicago native is a firm believer that everyone has an important story to tell. He has a special interest in envisioning stories from alternate points of view. For social justice projects, for example, he uses different lenses to look at the issue at hand and step backs to gain clarity.

John Wayne’s remarkable career in production and film began when he worked as a production assistant, in Chicago, for director George Tillman Jr.’s first feature-length film, Scenes for the Soul. During those days, he was only getting his bearings in the industry. He spent a lot of time working on productions, in his search for the information he needed to be better at his craft. He read, researched, and absorbed the tools and tips that he needed to guide his career. 

When film production wrapped, John Wayne then explored the music industry with Grammy-nominated producer Steve “Silk” Hurley and eventually became director of international A&R, supervising agents in both the UK and Japan.

Encouraged by his growing knowledge and intimacy with production and publicity, John Wayne joined forces with another director to produce music videos. Realizing the evocative power of music videos and their potential to amplify the emotions of the music, he started JWS Productions to focus on this art form. Since then, John Wayne has produced over 200 music videos, 70 commercials, and a variety of media projects.

After ten years of successful projects, John Wayne was chosen to become president and general manager of DL Records, where he guided the label’s trajectory and helped propel its artists into mainstream media. Under his leadership, DL Records generated the hit single, “We Don’t Play Dat,” by Bodaiga,  produced by Lil John, and featured Bun B of UGK.

Despite all his success, John Wayne longed to return to his roots—filmmaking. Eager to return to the frontier of documentary and feature films, he established Londyn Town Pictures, named after his daughter, in 2009. His first production was Last Step Before Reality, a documentary that followed six young adults, aged eighteen to twenty, attending an alternative school.

John Wayne made his film directorial debut with Red All Over, starring Slim Thug (American Rapper), Donna Biscoe (Hidden Figures, Girls Trip), Charmin Lee (Just Mercy, The Inspectors), and Victor Love (Native Son). The film was received positively by critics and audiences, marking his directorial debut a success. John Wayne continues to focus on producing and directing new film and TV projects. He is currently working with a showrunner and a few notable producers in developing several television shows.

Lately, the director has been assisting young filmmakers in bringing their projects to life, providing the needed guidance and understanding on how to steer production. He wants to help keep the art of storytelling alive by guiding young filmmakers, writers, and producers in making their dreams a reality.

Learn more about John Wayne S. III on Instagram and his production company, Londyn Town Pictures, on their website.

Dapper Penguin Entertainment: Jacob Zetino’s Project Will Be the Next Big Thing in the Digital Streaming Industry

Media platforms have been continuously evolving since the introduction of YouTube, opening the door to endless possibilities.

Among the platforms for streaming in the west are Hulu and Netflix. They have become two of the most popular online streaming platforms. Their popularity inspired others to create their own streaming platforms such as major company Disney creating Disney +. 

Among those inspired to follow in this trend is Jacob Zetino. He is an accomplished 14-time award-winning producer whose experience includes film, television, and digital production. Jacob formerly served in the army for ten years, receiving multiple recommendations before being honorably discharged as a Sergeant in 2012. 

In that time, he worked with several people of high status such as general officers, senators, royal dignitaries, and even celebrities. He became a member of Veterans in Media & Entertainment and the American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood, California, which include members like Stan Lee, Mickey Rooney, Charlton Heston, and so much more.

Jacob would major in Producing and Filmmaking at The Los Angeles Film School and graduated from the conservatory of acting program at the New York Academy. He also graduated from Divers Institute of Technology in Seattle, Washington as a commercial diver, having made dives at the depths of over 200 feet.

When Netflix and Hulu began to grow in popularity, Jacob grew interested in creating a platform that could rival both. He founded Dapper Penguin Entertainment in Beverly Hills, California, where he is expanding multiple divisions within the company, adding television and media.

What drew Jacob into making his own platform was the access to movies, series, and even documentaries that Netflix and Hulu had in their libraries, as well as the convenience to watch them in various forms like televisions, mobile phones, or even tablet devices.

Jacob is passionate about his production of Dapper Penguin Entertainment, working endlessly in developing and producing more content. He has recently welcomed an executive team that includes Liz Vacovec as the president of the production and Nicole Layson & Daniel Sydnor as senior vice presidents of film & television. They are currently in negotiation for the president of the new platform Dapper Penguin Cubed.

Dapper Penguin Entertainment aims to give its audiences premier content, whether it’s a theatrical release or its platform of original & licensed content. By using the most innovative technologies, Jacob and his team are hoping to capture the attention of audiences worldwide by focusing on timeless storytelling.

Their team continues to grow as many great executives, creatives, and talents have worked on all forms of content. Their ingenuity gives an edge and separates them from other platforms. With a finger on the pulse of technology, Dapper Penguin can infuse the production of the traditional forms to take advantage of the digital age.

Jacob and Dapper Penguin are creating a breeding ground where award-winning stories will flourish. With their ever-growing library of intellectual properties, they will create a digital future today.

For more updates on Dapper Penguin Entertainment, you may follow Jacob on his Instagram account or follow Dapper Penguin on Instagram and Twitter.

Angela White Teaches Aspiring Artists the Ins and Outs of a Tough Industry

Standing behind the gleaming glitz and glamor that the movie industry displays is a formidable wall that is hard to break into. And because of the blinding allure that it holds, most people blast right through it unarmed and unequipped. 

As someone who knows more about the industry than anyone, Angela White explains that although making it big is difficult, it is not as impossible as it seems. She adds that with the right blend of persistence and passion, one will survive the seemingly insurmountable mountain of trials and rise on top of it as well. 

Known for her exceptional works as a film and television producer, Angela has also gained recognition for being an educator who teaches aspiring individuals the dos and don’ts in the realm of entertainment. Clothing her students with the necessary skills to conquer a fierce battlefield, she tells profound stories from a multicultural perspective that impacts others in a striking and meaningful manner. 

Angela graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware and another degree in Master of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University. After that, she obtained a Juris Doctorate from the New York Law School. But instead of turning into the lawyer, everyone expected her to be, she took a detour and became a manager for comedians, such as JB Smoove, in Hollywood. 

With an unconventional mix of educational and professional background, Angela was able to kick off her career in producing and managing comedy shows. From there, she took her chance and emerged as the series creator and executive producer of The Comedy Underground Series, one of the first original comedy stand-up shows from RLJ Entertainment, which is now known as the Urban Movie Channel. 

Today, Angela is taking the reins on her own production company, Silver Lining Entertainment, which produces a wide array of films and television series. On top of that, the company holds an educational platform, known as Backstage Pass to the Movie Industry, that provides business strategy, coaching, mentorship, and online courses. 

Through the said avenue, she teaches others her tips and tricks on thriving in the entertainment business, such as building more revenue and other useful business know-how to enhance career opportunities. The show also features experts and inspiring entertainment professionals every month to discuss their backgrounds, journeys, and humble beginnings.

In addition, Backstage Pass to the Movie Industry is currently preparing to start shooting another project under the “Producer’s Bootcamp” course. 

Since Angela is always up on her toes for new ventures, it comes as no surprise that she has a truckload of projects in the works. And just recently, she released a book entitled “The Secret to Creating a Winning Demo Reel.”

Moreover, Angela also launched Dreamers with Purpose, which is a non-profit organization that assists people of color, women, and those who are financially disadvantaged. In line with this, she became the first African American woman to produce and own a production company that released a theatrically faith-based film called “A Question of Faith.” 

Having made her mark in the star-studded world, Angela challenged herself to write off the overarching narrative that landing a spot therein is unobtainable. Because while it is true that the path to success is bouldered with obstacles, it is also true that a person’s strength and courage will help them get through anything. 

With her wide-ranging expertise and solid experience, Angela encourages dreamers and all other driven individuals to step into their light and shine as bright as the stars. 

To know more about Angela White and her educational platform, Backstage Pass to the Movie Industry, you may visit their website