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Straight Out of Washington: DC’s Best Kept Secret!

Image: Courtesy of Tressa “Azarel” Smallwood

Tressa “Azarel” Smallwood is the best-kept secret and she hails straight out of Washington, D.C.! How amazing! I am a big fan of hers and all she is accomplishing. My passion lies in writing, journalism, and broadcasting media, and I was propelled to request an interview with her. My mind was telling me that asking was a long shot,  but thanks to the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment, I was able to contact her directly for this dynamic interview. 

Tressa”Azarel” Smallwood, calls Northeast DC her home and attended Woodrow Wilson High School located in the neighborhood of Tenleytown. She is an  Award-Winning Author Film Producer, Serial Entrepreneur, and Purpose Motivator. She’s the CEO/Founder of MegaMind Media LLC, a production company based in D.C., that specializes in book-to-film adaptations and original television series and programming. Tressa pursued her dreams through faith and hard work. She’s an admirer and disciple of the Bible verse James 2:26. Growing up, many of us have heard that famous scripture “Faith without works is dead,” and after teaching school for several years, Tressa resigned from her teaching tenure in the Maryland school system to fulfill her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and stepped out on faith to pursue her dreams of becoming an author and film producer.

In 2003, this Washington native wrote her first novel “Life To Remember” published by her very own company, Life Changing Books. Tressa  shared “I’ve personally penned seven novels, but I owned the rights to 164 projects.” Her book publishing career continued throughout the years.

Stepping into the film industry, In 2014, this talented writer set out to find a director, and producer to help produce Secrets. Her first book to film. The group later formed into MegaMind Media, a film production company specializing in book-to-film adaptation. Secrets was licensed by BET Networks in 2016. It was also an “official selection” at the American Black film festival.
 
Tressa Azarel’s first book to film adaptation
“It was an amazing journey; we made so many mistakes, didn’t know what we were doing, but it’s all about being humble enough to know you need help”, said the talented writer. She’s thankful to her hometown “Washington D.C” for helping with her first project. “The city helped tremendously; The Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment were right there to help along the way, providing resources. Anything we needed to get off the ground.”
 
Mastering her talent, Tressa & MegaMind Media continued to produce strong Black films. In 2019, She wrote and produced another award-winning film “All In,” another Book to film, starring Niatia “Lil Mama’ Kirkland, Elise Neal, and Tracey Braxton. The book was originally written by Kendall Banks. “I was elated when we won the American Best Film Festival last year. It was an amazing journey and opportunity,” said Tressa “Azarel”.

 

Tressa is currently in production for her upcoming film “Holiday Heart Break,” starring Lisa Raye,  AJ Johnson, and Country Wayne. In July of 2020, she was recognized as Filmmaker of the month by the D.C. Office Cable, Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME). She told OCTFME, “To be recognized as the July 2020 Filmmaker of the Month feels good because that means you’re being honored by your hometown, by your peers. I love it, I love DC, and I’m excited! I celebrate every accomplishment, this means a lot.” Not only is she producing films, but she also has three upcoming television series: Caught Up, Positions, and Dirty Divorce.

As she allowed her faith to direct her path, Tressa had no idea what was going to take place in her career. She called it the evolution of Tressa “Azarel” that was happening slowly. “And I didn’t even realize it was happening.” She is still in disbelief about her success in the entertainment industry. “I woke up one day and just kind of pinched myself, and said hey girl, You just did a whole lot; do you realize it; and I’m Just doing it because it’s naturally what I do. I’m still walking and trying to figure it all out,” said Tressa.

Tressa “Azarel” has made a phenomenal impact in the entertainment industry, but still has a passion for the youth. She created entrepreneurship virtually for the youth. “People may know me from films, But I love entrepreneurship. I’m elated about what’s happening, but I think there’s a bigger picture, a bigger purpose. We all have to figure out what our purpose is in life. I think mine is to inspire and  motivate entrepreneurs.” She has a strong message for the youths who want to follow in her footsteps:

“You can’t just wake up and learn this stuff; you have to get into the mix; you have to be around people who are doing it;  you have to learn it;  find a place to intern, give of  your time, and  never give up.”

DC’s best-kept secret has been let out of the bag! Tressa”Azarel” Smallwood shows no signs of slowing down as she is creating and owning her excellence! Be sure to visit her website to learn more about the services she provides to aspiring writers.

For more information about Tressa “Azarel Smallwood,” visit www.tressaazarel.com

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Keisha Thompson

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