We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis P. Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, how do you think about risk?
I fully believe we must take risks in order to achieve our highest visions. This is true no matter what field we work in, or what medium we use. If you are not willing to lose anything, you likewise cannot gain to your full potential.
I think of the 2012 film, “Hitchcock,” which was about the man himself. The story surrounded the film “Psycho” and what it actually took to make the film that became his most memorable or iconic. The film was considered a huge risk. He was constantly told that people would not accept it because of its dark nature and risqué content–well, dark and risqué for 1960, anyway. Even as an established filmmaker, he still was doubted by his peers and had to fight to make the kind of film he wanted to make. He took the risk gladly for the sake of his greater vision. He succeeded. Not all our risks turn out to be successes in the eyes of the world, but that does not devalue their worth in our own timeline of creativity. Additionally, you never know if a work or production you made, which was passed over or ridiculed in its time, will one day be considered a cult classic, or even be adored post-posthumously.
I take risks every time I enter screenwriting contests, or try to contact producers or other creatives to collaborate with. Doing these things involves some financial investment (contests), or personal vulnerability and risk of criticism or rejection. However, to not make these attempts would result in a confirmed nothingness in my career and life, and that is far worse to me. By opening myself up to the world and by sharing my work, I am risking a negative response, but I am also far more open to receive anything good waiting for me out there. You cannot reap a harvest if you do not sow the seeds.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a storyteller, and I absolutely was born that way. I have been telling stories since I could speak, and writing them in prose and screenplays since I was about 8. Even at that very young age, I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and I am still striving to do it. I aspire to be a champion for independently created and distributed media and arts.
My particular passion is writing for the screen, both big and small. I have also completed two novels. My novels are both historical fiction with some modern twists to them. My screenplays are, for the most part, fantasy-based. I endeavor to write fairy tales for adults—the people who most need to believe in possibilities. A couple of my screenplays have won awards or received recognition in international film festivals. At the moment, I am reaching out to producers to see them come to life on screen. It’s a little difficult in the year of our Lord 2020, as all of us know, but I believe in what I have to say.
My goal of reaching the childlike wonder in adults, but still using adults as my chief protagonists, is what sets my work apart. We cannot go back in time, but we don’t need to. Our potential to manifest beautiful stories in our own lives is there until we breathe our last breaths. I want to see the “late bloomers” fall in love, defeat evil, and have amazing adventures. This is why I create.
The biggest challenge I face is also the biggest blessing—living in a technologically advanced world. I can publish, market, and network on my own without leaving my chair. Unfortunately, so can everyone else. This has created an immense over-saturation in every market. Clamoring to be heard and seen is certainly the biggest challenge I face with regard to my career, but I continue to press on and make those connections. You never know which one is the right one until it happens.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum would certainly make the list, as would the Phoenix Zoo, a jaunt down the Salt River to see the wild horses, and the Musical Instrument Museum.
I am a native Phoenician and I love the East Valley. Downtown Mesa is one of my favorite places to support local businesses. There are so many cute boutique shops there now, as well as restaurants and coffee. Herb n’ Smoke, Worth Takeaway, Jarrod’s Coffee & Tea Gallery, and Gotham City Comics, are just a few of the many great businesses I support in downtown Mesa. I would say that any downtown area in Phoenix-metro is worth visiting. That is where the character is, that is where the people are. But please, for the love of all that is good, visit between November and April!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am blessed to have my amazing husband, both of my wonderful parents, and several close friends and family members who regularly support me in my creative pursuits. I want to acknowledge all of them. I also want to draw particular attention to my cousin, Danielle Pajak. She has created visual art, marketing, and design for nearly every single project I have ever made, and I know she will continue to do so. Her collaboration as a creator, in addition to being my cousin and one of my best friends, is incredibly special and key to my success.