Today we’d like to introduce you to Akiva McClam.
Hi Akiva, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
For a person never took any classes in playwrighting or directing I realize now it is a God-given gift. Able to articulate line by line for actors/actresses, making sure the storyline flows from the beginning, middle, and the end, researching the right background music that enhances the scenes, etc.
When I think back, I saw the pieces planted in me in an early age, during my adolescents and now adulthood. When I was little, I would spend hours in my room playing with my GI Joe toys, Transformers, etc. In my little room, I lived in a rhombus imagination. I created scenes for my toys to act in. I was the actors and director.
Approaching my teen years, I lost my mom and dad a year apart from one another. At this point the writer in me begins to right down feelings, things I wish I had, things I experienced, saw in my family, among my peers, and in society. I would begin to right short skit in my journals. Now around this time, I am also a star athlete at Westminster Academy named All-County in Broward (Fort Lauderdale, Fl) for Wide Receiver. I was heavily recruited to play baseball after high school. After being timed as one of the fastest running the bases; they compared me to the next fastest ever ran that fast was MLB Otis Nixon of Atlanta Braves. I was for sure I was going to play in the Major League Baseball especially playing against Alex Rodriquez (New York Yankee) and along with Danny Kanell (ESPN Sports Analyst and New York Giant). But God has something else planned for me.
After graduating from Bethune Cookman University with a BS in Sociology. Another piece to the puzzle that I realized I needed later with my writing/directing. I worked three years with the Department of Juvenile Justice as a Group Treatment Counselor to youth first-time offense in the judicial system. I also got married in June 1998.
I will have to say while in college I became a Tyler Perry fan. I remember not having too much money as a college student purchasing a ticket to one of his plays he was producing in Orlando, Fla. Since then, I followed and watched Tyler. One thing I can learn from him is that he never gave up. It took that one experience of people wrapped around the building to kick start his career. My people wrapped around the corner to get in is coming. I had one experience in 2013 for Cain N Abel. What happened I got distracted after losing my job. I really felt that was the year I supposed to have left the workplace of a 9 to 5.
In 1999, I decided to enlist in the United States Air Force which brought me to the DMV area. I was stationed in Andrews AFB, MD for 9 years and 5 months receiving an honoring separation in 2008, but later in 2015 the USAF medically retired me.
My first stage play.
2009, I was attending Lighthouse Baptist Church; at the time the church wanted to do something different for Christmas celebration. My wife at the time volunteered my name to write them a stage play. Yes volunteered. She reminded me that all the years in college I would write skits and always talking about production. For some reason, I stopped thinking about performance arts. I decided to say yes to the opportunity. As soon as I said yes, I began to have visions. I saw characters for the play, a storyline, supporting songs, etc. Next, I began to people watch; I personally chose everyone who I thought were qualified to play the roles I was writing. The play was called, “My Christmas Story.” The play received a standing ovation. At that point, I realized the gift God gave me is for real.
I begin to write more plays that was dear to me because there were stories of mine hidden in different characters. A lot of people review my plays like an emotional rollercoaster. You will get your laughs, thrills, suspense, teaching, and a lot of tears.
My motto is to provide high-quality stage plays that focuses on these following cores from the play: comedy, teaching, drama, and ministry.
The following stage plays I have written over the time:
2010, 2013 Cain N Abel; A grandmother took on a job to raise two of her grandsons. One grandson chose God and the other one chose the streets. It took the grandmother and her god-fearing grandson to go pull the other brother out of darkness. I wrote this play to show how the effects of favoritism would do among family members, especially siblings.
2015 Deep Cover Stage Play Production – A pastor lost his first love in Jesus Christmas. He was more worried on expanding the church. He was losing his identity until an invited Bishop for the revival called him out on his behavior.
2016 Answering His Call Stage Play Production; An honor roll student finds herself In School Restriction. While in restriction the students opened up on personal things they were going through. At the point, she understood why she was there as she helped and encouraged each student that was going through from depression, lack of confidence, and dealing with pregnancy.
2018-2019 I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Dinner Theater)
2019 Deep Cover “Let Your Light Shine in Dark Places” Pastor Wilson is challenged by his son to use his platform and speak out against police brutality, racism, and social injustice.
2019 Deep Cover “Let Your Light Shine In Dark Places” Panel Discussion at Anacostia Arts Center, DC- food, live entertainment, and a panel discussion on police/community relations, racism in society and the church, social injustice, and rights to vote
2020 Hired to write a book into a stage Play Production. The Storm Has A Ministry Stage Play Production. A mother’s story recovering for breast cancer, two divorces but wasn’t prepared to lose her son to violence in the streets of Atlanta, Ga. Instead of being bitter she turned her pain into a ministry to teach others how to get through their pain.
2021 Life N Music web series Musical Drama series; Season One Episode one will begin March of 2022.
2023 Upcoming Stage Play Production, When Two Storms Collide.
After putting all the pieces together, I can walk boldly that I am a playwright, director, and now a screenwriter. Life and other experiences have made me the writer I am today.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
A smooth ride not at all. I was raised by my grandmother. I never understood why I wasn’t living with my mother and my brother. My grandmother felt my mom was too young to raise me at the time. After some disagreement between mother and daughter my mother left and gave birth to my brother a year later.
I spent some time with my mother when I guess I was allowed. I remember spending the night at her apartments and or even going to work with her. My mom was a hard work. She kept a job. One of the hardest thing as a young man is to see his mother get beaten by her boyfriend. One night my brother and I was locked in a room as we can hear our mom being tossed to the walls and punched by her boyfriend. I wish I could have done something but I was paralyzed with fear. I wasn’t used to see that living with my grandmother. I actually shared about that abusive night in my play, Cain N Abel.
My mom received some bad news in 1986 that she had cancer. I think it was high in stages as she did not last long after going through chemo therapy. Jan 1996 my mom died in my room. For a long time, I couldn’t sleep in my room.
My dad was always in prison during my growing up. When describing my dad, I tell people I saw him three times: 1. Visiting him in Radford Fl prison when I was very young. 2. My Senior year in high school my dad came to visit me at my grandmother’s. We talked briefly. He promised to be the dad I wanted in my life. 3rd. Six months later from the conversation at my grandmother’s living room my father were murdered in Miami Beach, Fla. I stood before him as he laid stiff in the casket. I looked at him remembering our conversation and seeing our resemblance.
Worked multiple jobs to take care of my family. I always had two jobs until 2008. I believe in taking care of my family by all means. That was a challenge especially on days I didn’t feel like going.
Being a full-time student attending night classes to receive my Masters in Information Network Systems. The money I would receive from the military for being a full-time student I would use to finance my stage plays for years until the money ran out.
Marital Problems- while writing my plays I experience some marital issues. The way I was able to handle it I developed a lot of characters in different plays. I was able to share how I felt through my actors. A lot of that was in I’ll Be Home For Christmas. It was my way of talking to my daughters and well as to my wife.
Jul y 29th 2020 received a divorce
September 2020 learned I had chronic leukemia after going through some testing and biopsy. I was torn in pieces. I wasn’t for sure how long I had to live. I went back to holding my mom’s hand while she was dying. Remembering how much she went through with chemo. I always feared to having cancer all my life.
Feb of 2021, I did a short film with Kevin Simmons (Intentional Vision Filming). The short film was therapeutic for me. Kevin felt I was the best person to play me. I decided to come out of director and become an actor. The film focused on me packing giving a sigh I lost my family and now dealing with the news of having leukemia. I called it “Faith Walk”
During these trying times, I was about to be blessed to write my first song called “Time After Time”, co-writer Burnie Stevenson.
More of the challenges now beside my health it is trying to find sponsors and investors. I truly feel once I’m able to gain more help in that department we can reach out to some big-name actors, actresses, and or artists to appear in the plays I already written.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about McClam Enterprise Productions?
McClam Enterprise Productions was founded in 2010. We are a faith-based production company believe in creating believable scenes on stage where everyone from all ages and races can relate. We turn biblical scriptures and or parables into modern-day stage plays. One of our first one that people still talk about is Cain N Abel 2010 and 2013 productions.
We are rapidly growing; our organization consist of the following: Casting Director, Stage Crew Director, Operation Manager, Transportation Operator, and Project Manager. In the beginning, I wore all those hats but over time I found the right people to trust to perform the work. They’re main objective is to keep me busy focusing on production and execution with the cast, etc.
Currently, we specialize in one-on-one consultation how to put a production together and acting, review scripts, stage crew assistant, work for hire turn your book into a script.
Our professionalism and high-quality productions set us apart from others. Our main objective to make sure our audience remember their experience with McClam Enterprise Productions. It reminds me when you ask a person how was church? Oh it was good, I can’t remember what the Pastor said but I tell you everything else was great!!! They are saying for that 2 hrs. their experience was great!!! That is what we want our viewers to experience!! The fun they remembered having.
Planting seeds wherever we go is our branding. We want to use our platform to plant good seeds in the lives of the people. If a community is having a police relation issue; our plays know how to target that situation in an entertainment setting but at the same time we are providing a solution and creatively show the audience both sides of the situation where people can see the Officer as a human and the Officer (s) can see the citizen as a human. I call this both sides meeting in the middle.
Our services are open for anyone! We ask you to have good energy and a passion to learn and take directions.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
We are always looking to work with other people or businesses that share the same vision to help our community. We are currently collaborating with Assured Business Organization Services (SheAbos) founded by Angela Middleton. Angela Middleton after attending one of my productions sat me down and showed me how she can help me free up more of my time.
Since the coloration, we now work together in a group we called Network Link. We bring CEOs of other businesses in the community and give them the platform to share more about their organization. The main thing is to share, support, and network with one another.
Anyone from the community ever attends our event we teach them how to start their business and educate them on the purpose of networking.
You can reach us at email@example.com or subscribe on mcclamenterpriseproductions.com
- Website: mcclamenterpriseproductions.com
- Instagram: akiva_mcclamenterpriseproductions mcclamenterpriseproductions lifenmusic_webseries
- Facebook: McClam Enterprise Productions
- Youtube: McClam Enterprise Productions