"Beautiful, Strong, Loved, Everything"
Hellotittie: How/when do you believe begin your Videographer career?
Rochelle Antoinette: I went to SUNY Plattsburgh for television, audio, and broadcast journalism. Plattsburgh taught me a lot and it gave me a lot of the mechanics of where I wanted to be, in the arena of what I wanted to do. But how and when I began was at a charity basketball game.
When I was in Plattsburgh I had the opportunity to interview Diggy Simmons. I had a list of people I wanted to interview in Plattsburgh and I was going to bring that list with me to the city. That was the reporter in me — I wanted to interview certain people. Mack Wilds was going to be at this event and I wanted to interview him.
I had no camera at this time so I was literally going to old school it — I was going to use my phone to capture audio or capture video with audio and I was going to write up a synopsis of what happened and possibility make some edits on my phone.
This was the event that I realized that people knew me. They knew the girl with the curly hair and the camera. Mind you, I went alone. I said to myself, I like basketball and this is a charity event and I could be in the realm of the people that I want to interview…I said you know what, I don’t need friends to go with me, I’ll go by myself because if I don’t believe in myself then no one is going to believe in me.
I’d seen this one girl and she had a voice recorder and everyone at the event that was media had big cameras, lights, Sony's, Canon's, Nikon's — they really looked professional. I see this girl and I knew she did media but I didn’t know for what outlet she did it for but I looked at her and I knew she was intimidated by everybody else’s cameras and all she had was her recorder.
So, I said to myself, okay Rochelle, you want to interview people but you don’t necessarily have a media band, but you do have a VIP band so you can be around celebrities. She has a media band but doesn’t know how to talk to people and you know people. One hand washes the other. Let’s just help.
We ended up interviewing a lot of people together.
During the event, the security guard told all of the celebrities to go downstairs. So, we walked down there and the security that I meet earlier that day was there and the way I was dressed—presentation is key—I looked like I was somebody too. So, I said to the security guard, “You said celebrities goes downstairs. Where is downstairs at?” and she said, “Oh yeah Hun, downstairs, right there, is where you have to go.” I grabbed the media girl and said, “Come! We are going to go downstairs because I guarantee Mack Wilds is going to be there and we’ll be the first media downstairs.”
Sure enough, Mack Wilds was down there. I was so excited! She asked her questions and I asked my questions and we got him on video and audio. I accomplished what I wanted!
After that event—3 days later—I got my camera. Something my father always taught me was, ‘you have to be prepared for your opportunities. If you're prepared for your opportunities, then when the opportunity arrives then you can always conquer because you have it.’ I was prepared for my opportunity being there but if I had a camera, I could have been my own entity. Not saying that helping her wasn’t a good thing but that was an opportunity and you have to be professional and resourceful.
From there it was a domino effect and situations built and things happened or didn’t happen, and I did this and that until I reached where I am now.
HT: How did you come up with your concept for the 9th Floor Media?
RA: The name ‘9th Floor’ was based on a night that me and my girls wanted to turn up on a Friday, right before we went to a party. Everything—good friends, good drinks, good energies—that could happen, happened on the ninth floor. So, the radio show was basically the pregame before you actually went out. You turn on your radio station and you hear all the turn up songs that got you ready for your night.
I had an interview with Diggy Simmons in college on the 9th Floor radio station, so after college, I decided I was going to keep the name to keep the momentum because a lot of people were watching.
HT: What has 9th Floor Media been doing?
RA: I use 9th Floor Media as my production company. I shoot interviews, documentary series, recap videos of performances, and live performances. I do photography and music as well. Beauty, fashion, you name it! The 9th Floor is a platform to produce any type of content, but more so focus on the entertainment field.
The 9th Floor has a couple of music videos that I’m producing, a couple of scripts that are going to be directed by the 9th Floor and a couple of web series being made. Everything I’m doing is going to be produced by 9th Floor Media with me as the director. I separated it so that I am the face but 9th Floor Media is the company.
However, there are people that are under 9th Floor Media. There are people that I team up with, people that have shot and edited under the 9th Floor Media brand name. They either want to use my platform or I need help with the amount of work I have.
I want to do a lot with the company. By 30-I’m stating that now-I want a storefront. I want my own studio to work out of! Secondly, I want to teach. To work with high school students, who have a love for many things but don't know how to make a career out of it. I want to help them recognize their talents early in life.
HT: What has been your greatest moment of success?
RA: I remember when I said, my greatest accomplishment is when I got my own apartment and I got my own car. I’ve been wanting that since I was 16! That was one and then I said to myself, by the time I’m 23 I want to be in the industry that I work so hard for in those four years of college and I did that when I became a Production Assistant. At a certain age, I said I wanted to be a PA and I was a PA; at a certain I said that I wanted to do Key PA work and I did that; at a certain age, I wanted to be a second AD, which is what I am now—what I’m attempting now. So, my greatest moment of success is not here yet but I’ve hit many little notches on the ladder that I’m climbing up — I haven’t gotten over the wall yet but it’s coming.
HT: How do you find strength when you are going through hardship?
RA: I don’t really have a method. All I keep telling myself is, it will get better, God doesn’t put you through things that you can’t overcome and I just push forward. I cry like everybody else, I have my periods of time where I kind of don’t want to see the world and I zone out. But in those times, what I’ve started to realize and do is put that pain into my work. A lot of times when you put pain into your work, it becomes beautiful. Now I’m using those times to really push through and escape what I’m going through. I channel that energy, all that pain, all of that aggression and all the frustrations I have into my work.
There’s nothing wrong with being emotional because I believe that at the end of the day, you need your logical side but you also need your humanity and emotions to steer your moral compass, because if you’re always thinking logically it doesn’t always help you morally. So, I also overcome solutions by crying it out and I work it out by talking it out logically to myself. I say to myself, ‘this is what it is and there’s nothing you can do to the change the past, but your response to what’s to come is what matters.’
HT: What is the one word that perfectly explains who you are?
RA: Survivor. I’ve been through a lot—everybody has been through a lot—but I’ve come out on top and even if I didn’t come out on top I still made it over the mountain.
HT: What advice do you have for women aiming for a leadership position?
RA: This sounds strange, but know when to be aggressive and know when to be submissive. Sometimes killing them with kindness works. Sometimes you don’t have to be—and this not saying that killing someone with kindness isn't strong because it takes a strong person to literally sit on their pride to get through a situation. That’s strength. Strength isn’t just always being aggressive—sometimes strength is being able to sit your pride down and be able to work through that.