Getting Down with the Dog: Marc Cunningham’s Relationship Realities
Have you ever heard the saying, “A Picture is worth a Thousand Words” and thought, “That must have been an awesome selfie!” Yeeeeaaaa… me neither! These days I struggle to come up with 10… positive… words for some pictures I see on the popular media sources of our wondrous society. Media and its vast reach is without a doubt something that is transformative in nature. As an artist, of any kind, social media, or anything web based is easy, quick, and exposing, allowing for a following in ways never thought of, even 5 years ago. Easy to access, quick to upload and/or download, because we like options, and all exposing to interested audiences. I’m convinced that it isn’t so much what the resource is, but what you do with the resource. How do you use it? Why do you use it? With whom do you use it with? What do you do to improve it? Raising the bar of imagery worth, filmmakers, through motion pictures, have strived to surpass the thousand-word goal quota, challenging viewer’s minds and becoming a great past time. Since the inception of the motion picture nearly 125 years ago, writers, producers and directors collectively have not only played with our sense of vision, but also our emotions as the content delivery continues to transform with the times.
Marc Cunningham, 27, Toledo, Ohio native, could sense his love for film and imagery at an early age. Growing up in a comical family, capturing moments comes natural to Marc, who discovered his camera obsessions in high school. It was here that he was first introduced to filmmaking, and it was a love connection in the form of random, short, silly films that enhance this relationship. Who knew that these seemingly simple experiences would project well into his future? God. Blessed with a BET (Black Entertainment Television) internship, Marc moved to LA briefly in 2008 before graduating from Ohio University the next year. The Media Studies graduate attributes much of his motivation and preparation to this enriching internship in which he positioned himself for what was to come. Networking effectively, forging relationships and perfecting his craft were the stepping-stones that Marc soared over and still values today.
In pursuing his purpose and properly putting forth the energy to be nothing less than what God has intended him to be, Marc has been working tirelessly to make his dreams come true. Over the last few years, black writers and filmmakers have been taking control of their content and success’ by producing shows on the web. We can assume that the social media access and reach has great span. It is this span that has allowed the possibility of real and relatable content to the black community more accessible to… well… everyone. YouTube, as the media resource, inspiration and information spreader, allows thousands and thousands of users to upload content and connect to viewers around the world. With 100 hours of content uploaded every minute, and 80% of the traffic from outside of the US, YouTube reaches the 18-34 demographic more than any cable network can imagine, yet also allowing viewers to be selective about there viewing tendencies. (http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html) Marc, seeing the power in this movement, has most recently decided to create a cinematic canvas, of his own. After a few years of prayer and prep, Marc stepped back on the L.A. scene with faithful intentions in 2011 to cultivate his craft, and be noticed. After spending some time auditioning and select appearances on various projects, Marc leaned back on his writing strength. Starting with the script for The Substance of Things Hoped For, the screenplay was selected as a finalist in the 2012 American Black Film Festival.
Faithful fans of the web series How Men Become Dogs know Marc as Cameron, single man looking for love and wondering what the problem is. However, Marc’s talents and skills reach beyond his acting. As the creative genius behind the series, he is the creator, writer and director. Covering controversial topics about relationships, the web series is an exciting journey that explores the less than obvious masculine side of the relationship experience. It’s savory satire mixed with tantalizing truths that gets your mind going, exposing the inner most emotions of men in the dating game, rarely communicated, and the women who play strong parts in the equations. Set in the modern day dating world, a trio of friends gets lessons in “dog” to get the women they want. An interesting concept that seemingly begins to make since after a few episode views, further creating a conversation around what we all go through while dating, yet focusing on a view rarely projected. After being dumped by girlfriends who deemed them too nice, too sweet, too caring, too… good, this series harps on the point that “she don’t want no good man” and confirms the myth that good guys often come in last.
Intrigued by the relationship dynamics, How Men Become Dogs is Marc’s curiosities, frustrations and revelations in accessible media space. The series intent is to bring commonplace and complicated relationship issue to the forefront, but courageously moves beyond this and encourages us to think, talk and tackle these matters. It’s obvious that men and women express themselves differently, however HMBD gives hints that men and women ALIKE feel the same emotions when relationships develop and progress. Of course, this notion is generating some interesting responses from viewers. A separate “Decoded” series has developed to specifically address the comments from viewers of the web series.
This concept is one that has helped Marc gain support from others. He wanted to make something that others could relate to and identify with. Gaining encouragement to create the concept, pitching ideas and bringing it to fruition, was a process. Yet, there are always believers! Yvette Foy and Harold Sylvester, who also are producers of the show, graciously funded season one. Also gaining the support of Issa Rae, creator of Awkward Black Girl web series, Marc’s ambitious vision for greatness continues to flourish. The inaugural 10 episodes demonstrated genuine content that people relate to. The first season’s success can be measured by its 400,000 plus views, it’s place on BWE.com’s top black web series of 2013 and it’s place as a featured series on Issa Rae’s Production YouTube channel. (which you should subscribe too) The How Men Become Dogs team is gearing up for season 2. As most of the current web series, funding is readily needed to support the continuation of new episodes. The content is readily available, however funding for production is not. The second season future lies in the hands of the fans.
Tackling and opening up the dialogue for the “relationship talk” is daunting, yet this is the most inspiring point to Marc’s content. Currently single and living in L.A., Marc uses his life experiences along with those of his peers as research. Marc’s next life scene, in addition to the second season of HMBD, includes working to release an e-book later this year titled, Why Men becomes Dogs: The Contribution of Society and Women. Marc admits that if he had all the answers he’d be married! This e-book will be an examination of this along with the many experience that we all go through presented in plain sight.
Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is showing up”, this is something Marc has done, is and will be doing, his arrival is being noticed and I am excited for what the Lord has in store for him, and I’m sure he is too! As things continue to fall into place, Marc continues to notice his blessings and boost his morale to continue his progression in the filmmaking world. As a Tyler Perry fan, Marc shared that he admires most his work ethic. Perry releases project after project, at a quick rate, showing that he is always chasing success. Marc actively follows Perry and gets motivation from his ever changing bio and ability to produce. Marc’s work is continuing to pay off and I am excited for him. As a fellow classmate and friend I can attest to his genuine personality, which is seen in his career projects. He has taken the wheel is ready for the open to success. Ultimately he knows that his faith will take him far and he is ready for the ride!
You can find out more about Marc and his current work at Howmenbecomedogs.com, where you can also support the cause and help get season 2 funded!
Follow Marc on twitter @marcacunningham, instagram @marcacunningham and Facebook @areentertainment1.