Antoine Allen, Filmmaker: I almost died during Covid. I caught Covid and that’s just a wake-up call. Go after your dreams. I don’t want to die an old man full of regrets.
Film Courage: Did you have any businesses before you started your production company?
Antoine: No, first business ever.
Film Courage: You were always an employee?
Antoine: Yeah, I was managing before, at security, I was working in the HR department, supervisor, so I was always an employee, yes.
Film Courage: How did you start your production company?
Antoine: Well, my first movie. I wanted to brand myself. I learned from Tyler Perry about branding yourself. He had Tyler Perry cinemas or studios whatever at the time and I said let me do Antoine Allen films and first I went to Legalzoom. Legalzoom is a website that you could basically trademark your company, do everything for your company to get you up and running, an LLC [Limited Liability Company] and go through them it’s way cheaper than going to a lawyer. Legalzoom (dot) com.
Film Courage: So you did your sort of Articles of Incorporation or your I’m not sure if that’s for LLC or not?
Antoine: Yeah, okay.
Film Courage: And then you…
Antoine: So I did an LLC that’s for tax purposes, you do all that, whatever state you are in, you do that. Then the second thing you want to do is trademark your name because even though Antoine Allen is my name, I said the trademark. You’ve got to do two trademarks, you do the name trademark, you do the logo trademark and you do step-by-step, baby steps. But you want to get an LLC to get a bank account and then you want to trademark your name.
Film Courage: And why an LLC?
Antoine: I mean it could be whatever you want. I did the LLC because it works with me.
Film Courage: Okay, so then an LLC is its own structure?
Antoine: You can do an LLC or an incorporation…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Award-winning filmmaker Antoine Allen had dreams like any other kid growing up, and it was those same dreams that allowed him to break through every obstacle in his path. Despite growing up poor in Jamaica, Queens, Allen was already rich with potential. Refusing to let this define his future, he moved forward with a passion, drive, and tireless dedication that has now become synonymous with the Antoine Allen brand.
Allen began his career in the music industry, successfully managing hip-hop artists for many years. During that time, he had several experiences that opened his eyes to the fact that he had more to offer. It was at this time that the phrase “dream big or don’t dream at all” really hit hard.
Forgoing the traditional film school route, he began educating himself on all creative, technical, and business aspects of the process and never looked back. Allen transformed himself into a successful writer, director, filmmaker and producer. He sold his first screenplay,
No Where Land an animated feature film in 2008. As an award-winning director, Allen has gone on to be involved in a variety of film and music video projects.
In the summer of 2010, Allen made his directorial debut with Split Decision a narrative short film exploring love, rejection and motivation, which he also wrote and produced. He took promotions into his own hands, launching a highly successful social media campaign. The trailer alone received over twenty-one thousand views on YouTube and countless ‘Likes’ on Facebook, all culminating in the Split Decision world premiere. The opening screening in New York City sold out. This should have come as no surprise since Allen sold out a premiere to a 3-minute music video that he had previously directed. On a personal level, the film allowed him to draw from his own experiences of beating the odds when life got tough, and was an experience that brought Allen full circle.
His most recent project, a full-length feature film Life Is Too Short (2015) premiered to another crop of sold out audiences and has been honored with multiple awards and film festivals selections.
Aside from pursuing his creative projects, Allen has devoted a great deal of his time inspiring, mentoring and giving back to his community by helping young entrepreneurs and artists achieve the bigger dreams that they have for themselves. This is a reflection of the extent and impact that one person can have within their surroundings.
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