Karlton T. Clay, Award winning writer/director and CEO of Victory Productions, is on track to becoming the male equivalent to Shonda Rhimes as the writer, creator, director and producer of 8 web series. Although he may not be a household name just yet, Clay is charting a course much like the one Issa Rae blazed before him. The effort he’s putting into creating quality content that is culturally relevant is astounding. Even more impressive is his desire to shine the spotlight on his hometown of Augusta, GA along the way.
A graduate of Davidson Fine Arts in 2004, Clay went on to complete a degree in film and video from Georgia State in 2008. But long before he walked across either of those stages, he was already doing the work. Clay explains, “I always loved to write since I was a kid. I just loved creating characters and telling stories. I used to have my sister and the neighborhood kids act my stuff out all the time.”
However, it wasn’t until Clay was diagnosed with Leukemia at 16 that he actually figured out what he wanted to do with the gifts he’d been blessed with. He recalls, “God gave me the vision for Victory Productions while in my hospital bed.” While, most teenagers were deciding what outfits to wear and what girl to ask to the school dance, Clay was fighting for his life and realizing his purpose simultaneously. “Not only did it strengthen my relationship with God and with my family but my sickness really propelled me to show me how important it is to tell the stories I wanted to tell in a public venue” Clay recalls.
Leukemia free and determined to fulfill the mission God placed upon him, Clay made his directorial debut in the remake of “Speak To My Heart” at the age of 17. That production was followed by “Leukemia and Me” which was the first play he’d written and directed. By the time he entered college, he’d garnered a wealth of experience that he was looking to build upon. It was during college, through the urging of a friend, that Clay produced his first web series entitled “College Daze” which ended up going on a 5 season, 60 episodes run.
From his first production at the age of 16 until now, Clay’s mission has remained the same. “I want to stimulate conversation.” Through engaging and thought provoking content, he’s become “a vehicle for people who don’t have a voice” with each story he tells while providing opportunity to up and coming actors and actresses. He beams, “A lot of people are getting other roles after participating.” Victory Productions is providing opportunities for thespians not only in Georgia, New York and North Carolina but internationally as well. An upcoming production, “Blind Fury” is currently filming in South Korea.
No matter how far his career takes him, he’s adamant that his base will always be in Augusta, GA. According to Clay, “This is where my roots developed in the arts. I want to continue to grow and develop the arts here in my hometown. Sometimes you have to go out and learn things but I think its important that you bring back home what you learn and that’s what I want to do.” His dedication to his hometown has not gone unnoticed. Recently, Clay was named one of the “Top 10 Young Professionals to Watch” in Augusta.
Clay is excited about the forthcoming premier of Bondage in August, which he partnered with Nelson J Davis of Film Architectz to produce, as well as the upcoming seasons of Lovers Lane, EX-Factor and BrothAhood. All of which can be found on the Victory Productions youtube channel. Next year, fans of Clay’s work can look forward to the long awaited release of his first feature film as well as his return to stage play productions.
Ultimately, Clay aspires to have his own network much like The OWN Network created by Oprah Winfrey whom serves as an inspiration for the Augusta grown talent. “Her starting OWN inspired me to think beyond just producing content for somebody else.” After all, providing meaningful content is simply “what I’ve been put on this earth to do.”
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