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Senior Financial Analyst and Showrunner Philaye Says Working a 9 to 5 is Key to Funding Your Passion

Philip Johnson professionally known as Philaye, is a 24-year-old Black filmmaker born and raised in Detroit who is currently resides in Hollywood. At a young age, he had a dream and his journey is destined to be one that proves that hard work will pay off. Learn more about Philaye, his views on creatives working in corporate America and his upcoming projects below.

Who is Philip? Who is Philaye?

Philip and Philaye are one and the same. Philip is more my introverted, nerdy self. Philaye is the multi-hyphenate artist/entertainer, who represents the way others often perceive me. I originally became “Philaye” back in 10th grade in 2010. I had to miss an after-school club’s meeting due to track practice, so my girlfriend at the time made up the nickname “Phil-aye” for them to put on the back of my club T-shirt. That immediately became my new Twitter and Instagram handle, and people loved it, so it stuck ever since. Philaye is the fun me!   

What inspires you?

Goodness, that list is long. FUN inspires me. I believe in living life like a free child in the summertime. I am inspired by those moments where so much love is built up in me, that love explodes from me like the sun. My TV shows that I watch inspire me every single day by the fun places they help my mind escape to. The things, such as rollercoasters and track and performing, that I loved as a child inspire me. The bond I share with my family and friends inspires me because that intense love reminds me of what a blessing it is to be alive. Issa Rae’s journey inspires the hell out of my entrepreneurial ventures. The list could go on forever because God inspires me in a million ways every week.

You recently posted on social media that you are now the Senior Financial Analyst at Warner Brothers, Congratulations. As a creative, do you feel it's important to maintain a 9-5 until your passion has created a liveable income?

Thank you! Hopefully, after this pandemic, I still get to actually start that job. I do believe that as a creative, that 9-5 is key to helping fund your passion until your passion is supporting you. It takes a lot of sacrifices, though. I am grateful that after doing full-time finance and independent filmmaking for over 2 years now, I am finally reaching closer to the point where I will no longer have to work in Finance as well. The reason I mentioned fun inspiring me above, is because FUN is the only thing that will give anyone the energy to put in consistent creative work while spending 40 hours at a 9-5. Consistency is important, so you have to keep that passion alive!

Please tell us about your series Flip Flop. When and where can we see it? Created by and starring me, Flip Flop is a new comedy TV show about a professional track runner whose techno-conversion therapy goes wrong, forcing him to face the world with flip-flopping sexuality. Flip Flop combines comedy, Sci-Fi, LGBTQ+, Track, and Black Culture all into one intersectional TV show. And it’s funny as hell!

We are currently shopping the show around in Hollywood! COVID-19 has admittedly put a big dent in our timeline, so when/where the full Season 1 will be available is still TBD. You can check out our trailer, pilot episode and more at in the meantime! And also you can follow us on social media: @flipfloptvshow for updates!

Why do you think it's important to have diversity in the film/tv industry? Diversity is important in the film/tv industry because viewers come from all different demographics, so they should be able to turn the TV on and find a story that resonates deeply with them. This industry shapes conversations and people’s view of the world, and you need diverse voices in order for dynamic points of view to be displayed on the screen.

Can you tell us about your creative process? It depends on the project. For my web-series in 2018 that gave me my start, Black Sex & The City, I acted first and thought later. I wrote and shot on a rolling basis, just expressing my creativity freely and naturally.

Now that I have a team of writers and producers, I first receive my inspiration alone in the shower or while writing in my notebook. Once I have that “AHA” moment when I believe my idea becomes dynamic enough to have that *IT* factor, I begin developing the idea further with my team and taking it from there. I’m heavily involved in every stage of my art, while some of the best moments seen on screen were ideas my team members came up with. When I first started having writer’s rooms, my writers told me that one thing they liked the most is that I never made anyone feel stupid for an idea or question they have. We get in there and focus on the ART!

What can we expect to see from Philaye Films? You can expect to see a wide range of productions coming from Philaye Films and beyond in the coming years! In addition to Flip Flop, we are currently developing a couple of short films and some other projects I won’t mention yet. I also have been brought into a cohort of filmmakers under Issa Rae and Deniese Davis’s company, Color Creative, working to create original content with their backing. I also recently signed on as a freelance director/producer/writer for another company that I still must stay quiet on for now. I feel more inspired and empowered than ever before, though, and can’t wait to keep sharing art and creating opportunities for people who look like US in this industry.

To stay connected with Philaye check him out online or follow him on Instagram or Twitter.


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