In life, many obstacles and situations can deter you from the goal and prevent you from ever reaching the finish line. However, always looking on the bright side, I’d have to say there lies a blessing in being young. That blessing is being able to recover from your mistakes in time to still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even better: getting to share those lessons with those coming up after you as they look up to you as one of the “greats.”
I had an opportunity to catch up with a pretty fly guy who’s looking to place his name among the greats behind the big screen. He had a ton to share about his path within the media industry and life; confirming wrong turns, and bad deals don’t have to result in a halt of your momentum.
Maybe you’ve seen him or most certainly his work? I’m talking about the young, stylish, handsome, and most of all – talented, Devin J. Ricks AKA “Fly Guy.” This 20-something, Baltimore native is making moves nationally, while simultaneously putting his city on the map.
Coming up in Baltimore, Devin always had a thing for being in front of the camera, or behind it. His mother and father were extremely influential in his interest by allowing him to create home videos and sharing the experience. His father bought him his first studio editing software in middle school. He tells, “I had other family members that would come over… we would have family gatherings, and they would request my latest production. My family and I would do little skits like [the show] ‘In Living Color.'” Devin names his mom as one of his biggest motivations because she gave up her modeling and acting career to pursue motherhood. Every parent sacrifices, but not every child appreciates it or shows their gratitude. In Devin’s case, he can’t wait to put his beautifully aging mother in front of the lens again.
After graduating from Western School of Technology in Baltimore, Devin went on to Morgan State University (MSU), where he could let his love for cinematography unfurl. At that time, Devin J. Ricks Productions was spawned. Over his matriculation at MSU Devin produced hundreds of videos clips, some of which chronicling his adventures in college and the lifestyles and events of his fellow Morganites. Football games, homecoming concerts and reality TV segments are housed via his Facebook group entitled: “Dev TV”
As a young person breaking into the industry, one would think you have a lot less to risk or better said – nothing to lose. I beg to differ. There’s always your soul, and I’d say that’s a pretty pricey cost. While it’s not easy to stay true to one’s self in this industry, that’s just not a cost that Devin is willing to pay.
His advice is to “find some type of sanctuary to keep your mind away from the social media…”
Like most, Devin has a strong family and spiritual foundation. “You have to have a strong head and foundation to stay solid and make sure you’re not compromising yourself,” he says.
Last year, the “Fly Guy” created his own clothing line, entitled “No More Apologies” under his “The DJR Experience” brand that promotes all the things Devin loves in his lifestyle. The clothing label is the result of a hashtag he used on social media, after the completion of his latest project. As you progress through life and your career, you’ll most likely have to acknowledge the seasons in your life and the people in them. As the seasons pass, so do the people. As Devin stated, “I had to cut people off and leave people behind.” There’s nothing wrong with that when people bring toxicity to your life. “Stop apologizing for doing what you have to do,” says the young, but wise man.
In the media industry, you have to be vigilant of who you’re networking with. People are not always who they say they are. Sometimes they want more than what they’re telling you. As “They” say, “read the fine print,” or better yet, “read between the lines.” Devin took a walk, not too far, back down Memory Lane to describe a recent industry experience. He had high hopes that an A&R representative of a well-known music and movie label would be able to put him in contact with the right people. Of course, this would bring in more projects, more brand awareness, and more money. “…With all the communication and contracts coming together there would always be roadblocks and organizational changes…”, he recalls. The blessing is that he didn’t let that one bad experience spoil his ambition. He used it as motivation to head to the West Coast to broaden his horizons.
Persistence and hard work will always move you closer to your goals. If your goal is anything like Devin’s you probably want to make it big. California is a great place to expand your brand and get to know big names in the music and film industries. Devin had an opportunity to run into famous producers such as Doreen Spicer, (whose credits include The Proud Family and Martin) and Preston Whitmore (This Christmas, 2007) that he can now call mentors and influencers of his expertise. Devin also met the Baltimore native, David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim, 2013 and Almost Christmas, 2016). Now, Devin didn’t just bump into these remarkable people by chance. It took hard work, lessons learned, persistence, and staying humble.
Speaking of humble beginnings, back home, Devin also had the opportunity to meet industry greats right in his own neighborhood, including Sheldon Candis, who wrote and produced Luv (2012), which features Common and Meagan Good, as well as John Singleton, who wrote and directed Boyz in the Hood (1991). If you’re into other greats from the area, you might be satiated in the fact that both Doreen and David both attended Morgan State University, Devin’s alma mater.
Now, he’s in the midst of new deals, and we can look forward to bigger and better projects and product releases from Devin J. Ricks Productions and The DJR Experience.
Keep pushing Devin! We can’t wait to see more from you on the runway and on the big screen. Better yet, we know you’ll see us first. …He cosigns, ”Yea man!!, I see everything!”…
For the Love of Style thanks you for being young and inspirational!