*When you have a passion for something you’ll do it for free. And that’s how she knows writing is her passion. Her first role model was her mother who has authored and published three books.
She remembers how her mother would write letters and ask her to critique them. And long before there were on-line social networks the young girl filled the blank pages of empty books with her thoughts. Now she has volumes of journals that chronicle her life.
When English teachers mistook her term papers for someone else’s saying the work was too good to have been written by a high school student, she didn’t consider it an insult. To her it was a compliment and futher validation that being a great writer is her gift. It’s only fitting that she earned a master’s degree in journalism, became a television news reporter and taught media writing as a college professor. She beat out thousands of journalists vying for a spot at the prestigious Poynter Institute for Media Studies. And she traveled to Southeast Asia on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship. All she had to do was write a winning proposal explaining why she should be chosen from among thousands of other professors across the country to respresent her university. She visited Thailand, Singapore and it was in Vietnam that she produced a series of documentaries about life after the Vietnam War from the perspective of Vietamese.
She has met former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, former POWs, heads of state and other iconic people during her career. Others might consider this the pinnacle. But her creativity is still fluid and her fingers are doing their best to keep up.
Writing isn’t just therapuetic for her, but – just like music – it’s her way of building bridges between generations and people of different cultures. It’s her way of serving as a blessing to others.
Most people don’t recognize their gifts right away. So they’re content to produce just off sheer passion even when they’re not getting paid. But when one’s passion produces a paycheck, then you really never have to work another day in your life.
For sometime now she has wanted to turn her many TV scripts into primetime productions. So last summer she held casting auditions and it was lights, cameras and action! She spent the past year putting the finishing touches on post production and last weekend she invited the cast and crew to see the finished product.
A segment of Airheads, the TV pilot, can be seen on Facebook.com/airheadsthetvshow (if you are a friend) and at select film festivals across the country. For her that’s just the beginning, because she won’t be satisfied until millions of people are laughing with her and are asking for an encore!
Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at firstname.lastname@example.org. And see the video version of her journal at youtube.com/steffanierivers.