Deon Taylor Enterprises: Deon Taylor, Roxanne Avent talk about Teamwork
Relaxing at his sunny Californian home, Indie director Deon Taylor sits by the pool and reminisces overhis early years.
“It’s never been easy,” he tells us as he gazes deep in thought toward the horizon, “and it won’t get any easier.”
Taylor owes it all to his crazy imagination and his inability to take no for an answer. “I had a dream in
my heart that I had to make real. I was in Germany at the time, playing international Basketball. My feet
were on the court, my head was in the clouds, and my heart was in directing.” He did what any ambitious
soul would do; he used what he had and started where he was. “I’d buy 30 DVDs at a time. Anything and
everything. I wanted to see it all. But I didn’t watch the movies. I watched the extra features, the behind
the scenes. I learned all I needed to from the bonus features. I didn’t get much sleep.” That’s all he needed to get started.
Seeking aid from investors who shared his dream, he started Deon Taylor Enterprises shortly after returning from Germany. This small office located in Sacramento, California houses a tight-knit staff. “It used to be only a few of us. Now there are about 20. We all have creativity and drive that allows us to thrive as a company,” says Executive Producer, Roxanne Avent. She’s been Deon’s business partner since day one, helping him in collaboration and execution of their business goals.
Their first endeavor was Chain Letter, a low-budget horror film released in theaters last October. “It was
a small release,” says Deon, “but I learned a lot as a director and producer, and when we release our next
film it’s going to be that much bigger.”
We had an opportunity to sit in on a staff meeting at Deon Taylor Enterprises to see what it was like
being in the midst of creative outpour. “We really need to tighten down right here,” Deon said to his staff, pointing at the white-board. A series of arrows and graphs travelled up and down the board, outlining their direction and progress. “We need to come together as a team and get this done.” We were told kindly to leave the room as they began discussion on their next theatrical project, Terminated.
How important is the team structure at Deon Taylor Enterprises? Roxanne Avent told us, “Without a
team, you can’t have progress. If everyone’s off doing their own thing and holding back communication,
there’s no overall goal or progress. We have these staff meetings so that everyone stays on the same page
and works as one unit.”
But what about Terminated? “We’re about to begin shooting. What would it be like to take off on a
plane, and when you land there’s nobody left on Earth? I got this inspiration because I fly up and down
California a lot, and it’s a question I’ve asked myself. I took advantage of that natural inspiration and got busy writing a script.”
While feature film and televison are the focus of the team, Roxanne and Deon also have recognized that technology and entertainment are converging in ways that require positioning in new media fields. They have created Ether Marketing, with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento with the goal of leveraging their production skills and story telling abilities to working with brands in advertising and short-format webisodes. To further this effort they have merged Ether Marketing with Venom Viral Marketing, also of Sacramento:
At his sunny home in Sacramento, Deon and I finish up our conversation. I ask him if there’s any
advice or input he has for anyone with a similar dream. He doesn’t even need a second before he
responds, “Patience. You can’t expect it done overnight. But don’t get lazy, because you need to put in a
lot of hard work.”