Sunday, March 31, 2013


When I made BUTTERFLY RISING, I told myself I would not force convention this little film about big things: I would let it tell me what it wants to be. The little Movie that Could spoke, and I listened: we will be screening BUTTERFLY RISING at select cities to those who have experienced grief; families who have experienced violent crime; churches, community/women's centers and any GROUP(S) OF PEOPLE WHO NEED THEIR FAITH RESTORED AND THEIR HOPE RENEWED. As some of you know, the film was motivated by the death of my young brother, so this is a very personal story and the last lap of a final, transformative journey--to date, the most important one of my life.

We've partnered with the great ART SANCTAURY in Philadelphia, PA for our first screening: April 17, 2013. THIS SCREENING IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! We will have similar, smaller screenings across the country (some with food, others with music!). An invite-only screening will take place the next day, just for Families of Violent Crime. Soon, we'll launch a KICKSTARTER to raise funds to get us to wherever we're needed most (details coming soon). Friends! Family! I hope you will join us! --xoxoo 

Wanna help spread the word about our upcoming Kickstarter? WE NEED YOU! Please e-mail us at

Keep Rising,



Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I’ve got to admit, I knew the 2012 London Olympics were approaching, but it was a distant thought in the back of my mind-- there’s so much going on in my brain at the moment, I didn’t really give it much thought.
Sometimes, to ease my mind, I watch television. It gives me a break from some of the intense mental focus I have to do. I don’t watch TV regularly-- there aren’t any shows I HAVE to watch (except TRUE BLOOD of course, LOL!). I tend to go for the non-fiction stuff: PBS, hour-long news shows (I can’t stand the 5 or 6 PM daily news shows with all of its gloom and doom, blood, guts and gore). At 7PM I watch Access Hollywood and E News.  Sometimes, when they’re not talking about who’s sleeping with who or what someone’s wearing, I can find out some interesting facts about projects going around town, who’s attached to what, etc.
This week, though, a lot of programming has been  re-routed to accommodate the Olympics! I found myself mildly interested then growing pretty obsessed with the outcomes of some of the Olympic sports: swimming, and the dual between Lochte and Phelps; the “fab five” women’s gymnastics team (and their desire to be called the “fierce five” instead). I have even watched some sports I didn’t know went to the Olympics (water polo??) and found myself rooting for EVERYONE to win. I marveled at the athletes’ physical strength as they fought the waves uphill and down, racing to the finish. Some were more “successful” than others but at this stage, when you’re an elite athlete, it all comes down to milliseconds--splitting hairs--timing and plain old fate. Look at Jordan Weiber.
The one thing I noticed that ALL the athletes had in common was their SHARP MENTAL FOCUS and their POSITIVE ATTITUDE.  I read a blog post written by Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglass for ESPN ( where she uses the words “thinking,” visualizing,”  and seeing her “dreams becoming real.” I learned a lot from listening/watching the Olympians:
1.  the importance of MENTALLY SEEING what you want to achieve
2.  the power of determination
3.  sacrifice 
4.  the WILL to be a champion
5.  intense and consistent physical training
6  belief in oneself!
I’m gonna do this stuff on the stuff that I’m working on. Do it with me, too, and let’s check in with each other on our results!
Keep Rising,
Tanya Wright

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Last week, I contacted someone (who shall remain nameless) to assist me in coordinating some logistical details about an idea I had. This woman proceeded to tell me--at almost every turn-- that I would probably not be able to achieve my goal. This is a woman, too, who works in an industry of dreams and who works daily with dreamers like me.

Now, I know it's super-easy to go all cynical when you're dealing with Hollywood: the most talented folks don't often get the brass ring. Situations everything thought was a "sure bet" often turn out to be the worst investments in the history of mankind. I get it. Believe me, I do!  

In that moment-- when I was saying to myself "I think I can," and this woman was telling me "you can't," I thought about all the times in my life that I wanted to do something--crazy, bold, out of the ordinary-- and the folks who told me the odds were stacked against me. Like when I decided I wanted to be an actress; or write/direct/star in and produce a movie, or complete a book! With each of these ideas, there were people along the way who told me it could not be done and made elaborate lists detailing why. I now have a standard response when I am encountered by naysayers; I simply smile and nod. That's it. I don't try to argue with them, debate them or even offer my point of view. I simply smile and nod, then I walk away, fired up even more about my dreams and making detailed lists of how I WILL achieve them. 

Some folks discourage others because they think they're "protecting you" from disappointment, hurt or pain. Others are downright indignant because, well, who the hell are you to think you can dream that big? Still others can't wrap their brains around your idea because they haven't been able to realize their own dreams. NONE of these things have anything to do with you, so keep on doing what your doing: creating. dreaming. executing.

Sometimes, it's best to hold your biggest dreams close. Let it be your delicious little secret as you quietly take the actions necessary toward making it a reality.

Keep Rising,


Friday, April 13, 2012

When I stepped outside the zone, I found...

Yesterday, I travelled from NY to the San Francisco International Women's Film Festival for a screening of BUTTERFLY RISING (screens Saturday, April 14 at 3PM at the Roxie Theater! Come on out if you're in San Fran!:) Anyhoo, I travel a lot and so I have a pretty good routine that works for me; little things like bringing my own food from home, having moisturizer for my face (and my lips! WOW!) and listening to my iPod with my favorite tunes.

This time, instead of listening to the stuff I knew I liked, I decided to check out what Virgin Airlines had in it's built-in-box o' 'entertainment' etched in the back of the seat in front of mine.

I clicked on "listen" and discovered ADELE! Now, I am firmly aware that I am VERY late to this party (as my friend @kgmoll has chastised, LOL!!!), but, I will tell you what I told her: I am a perennial late bloomer-- always have been. I always feel like I'm the last to know about what's cool, hip, in or "in trend". I would have never discovered Adele had I not gone out of my comfort zone--doing things that were habitual. I LOVE ADELE.

I also do something I rarely do--watch TV. Yes, that's right. Instead of the local channels, though, I check out PBS--there was a fantastic documentary on Willie Mays. Now, I am NOT a sports fan AT ALL. I was only vaguely aware of the hall of famer, but I was captivated not so much by WHAT he did, but WHO he is. In one example of his extreme generosity, the PBS reporter talked about how Willie, in an effort to raise money for charity, donated THE CLOTHES OFF HIS BACK. I had never heard of anything so wonderful in all my life. THE CLOTHES OFF HIS BACK! WOW. That was something to be admired.

That said, I got an invite the participate in the NY AIDS walk on May 20. I have never gone but I just joined my team (my talent agents here in NY) and I'm gonna walk for AIDS! My mother, Debra Fraser Howze, founded a terrific organization called the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS back in the late 80's when very little was known about the disease, when people were afraid of it, and, if you had it, it was automatically a death sentence. A lot has changed about AIDS, but what hasn't changed is that it is still a disease that takes the lives of thousands of folks every year.

Please donate whatever you can. xo

Keep Rising,



Monday, April 2, 2012

Life is like...Tai Chi!


I've had to juggle many things--simultaneously--of late: film festival screening stops for BUTTERFLY RISING (including an upcoming national roll-out); writing/directing projects; travel/shooting schedule for TRUE BLOOD; book events; auditions and, well, my personal, day-to day life. It's like a stove with pots on each burner, but each pot is in various modes of "boil": some have to simmer, some are already a boiling rage and the others, well, I just added the water to the pot! But all the pots require my attention at different times and in different ways.

I've also been doing a lot of yoga--I find that, ironically, it's when I slow down that I get the most done. Some pots on the stove require me to be bullish-- persistent, unwavering, determined; and still others require a more fluid approach. It's a lot like knowing when to be bull or bear-ish in economic fluctuations.

When do you know when to push, back off or just stand still?

My instinct has never steered me wrong in this regard. NEVER. It's a lot like Tai Chi, the Chinese martial art, where a succession of slow, fluid movements are used in response to the direction of energy coming at you (life!). By working WITH the energy (life) instead of against it, you are able to achieve your goal.

There are many other benefits to Tai Chi training--medical studies support its effectiveness as a form of exercise and that focusing the mind solely on movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity. Here's some info I found on Tai-Chi you might find helpful. Enjoy!

Keep Rising,


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


SO…I've been thinking.

Well, lemme back up. I've been TRAVELLING a whole lot lately, mostly for stuff (film festivals, etc.) related to my film, BUTTERFLY RISING, or Los Angeles to shoot TRUE BLOOD. While travelling, I noticed tons of folks who had iPods (or the equivalent) wired to their ears-- this, too, is especially noticeable on the NYC subway train (second only to my favorite mode of transportation--walking!).

This technology thing seems to be a two -edged sword: on the one hand, technology was created so that we can complete tasks quicker and more efficiently so that we can spend our time doing the things we love (spending time with our family/friends, being outdoors, playing with our animals--huh? What? No Fido in your life? Well, you get the idea…). And, if we use tech gadgets with that in mind, work would go quicker and we could have more free time, no? Instead, I see a lot of folks--myself included-- who are using technology to numb out and divorce themselves from the rest of the world. How much time do we spend on Facebook? Twitter? These are meant to engage, sure, but what's better than using them to set a time, date and location to simply sit down and share a good ole meal (or whatever else you like to do. Eating happens to be my favorite pastime and, I think, one of the great joys of life). But, then again, I also dig getting back in touch with my best friend from elementary school who I haven't seen in a gazillion years. And I've met a lot of VERY cool people on twitter:)

I guess, as with all things, the name of the game is BALANCE. And you'll know when you're out of it (balance, that is), cause you'll start to see/hear signs: ringing ears from an IPOD on blast; neck and back problems from crouching over your computer, or heaps o'time water scrolling down your homepage and looking at the barrage of FB statuses.

Steve Jobs left modern society many gifts, but his most profound one was the speech he gave some Stanford University students (and, later, the world). I listen to it often to…remember. Here it is again--I share it with you:


Keep Rising,


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sir! Ma'am! Thank You! Please: HAPPY!

So. I am a native New Yawker who lived in Los Angeles for close to 15 years. I am back in my hometown, and loving it! We shot BUTTERFLY RISING in Columbus, Mississippi (not far from where THE HELP was shot) and so I got to spend a nice, long stretch of time in the South.

I've gotta admit, given Mississippi's history, I was unsure of what to expect. I found the folks there to be lovely, kind, patient and GENEROUS (they let us shoot our little movie! On their front porches! While serving us lemonade and home-baked cookies! Well, maybe not home baked cookies, but you get the point, LOL!). I found them to be super-hospitable. Not that the folks in LA and NY ain't (BTW, the stories about NY crudeness are GREATLY exaggerated), but it was different. Sweeter. And definitely slower.

While I was there, I began to pick up southern-speak-- I adopted the practice of calling folks "sir" and "ma'am." I have no idea why other than it just felt...right. And when I returned to the most easterly and westerly cities in the country, I continued to do it. I noticed the effect it had on folks: most are surprised, at first-- it's rare that folks are that formal these days. But I also noticed a slight ease in their breath after I addressed them as such. "Sir" and "ma'am" are signs of respect, too, and I noticed I used them a lot with the folks who probably got them the least: waiters/waitresses, busboys, janitors. They almost always gave me a smile. With the others, I almost always got what I wanted.

Try sprinkling a "sir" and "ma'am" in your everyday goings on and you'll see what I mean. It's a sign of humility and respect. And I can guarantee this: you'll almost ALWAYS get what you want:)

XO Tanya XO

TANYA WRIGHT plays the role of DEPUTY KENYA JONES on HBO'S TRUE BLOOD. She is the writer/director of the upcoming indie feature BUTTERFLY RISING and author of the book of the same name.