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article imageMeet James Bland: Showrunner of the digital drama series 'Giants' Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 14, 2019 in Entertainment
Emmy-nominated actor, director, and writer James Bland chatted with Digital Journal about the digital drama series "Giants" on YouTube.
Giants earned a total of 11 nominations at the 2019 Daytime Emmy Awards. It secured wins for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Digital Drama Series" for Vanessa Baden Kelly and "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Drama Series" for Terrence Terrell. "That was extremely exciting. This year, in particular, we were able to be there at the Emmy Awards with so many of our castmates so that made it even more special for us," he said.
As a writer, Bland shared that Giants is inspired by his personal experiences, as well as his friends' experiences. "One day, I woke up and realized that I hadn't birthed anything from the time I spent on other projects and digital series. I really wanted to solidify my voice. Giants is a culmination of everything I wanted to say, in that particular time, about the world around me, and the issues that impact myself and my friends and family," he said.
"Life was the biggest inspiration," Bland admitted. "In addition, I wanted to tell a story that was authentic and had the ability to resonate with audiences, while showing people of color in a light that we don't traditionally get to see ourselves on screen," he said.
Bland, who also stars as Malachi in the show, acknowledged that he has grown a lot as a writer since the first season of the digital drama series Giants. "I am still really proud of the first season," he attested.
Digital transformation of the entertainment industry
On the impact of streaming and technology on the entertainment business, Bland said, "Technology has provided more access for everyone. It gives us the ability to consume more content. In the past, the networks were the gatekeepers. Streaming just opens up the doors for more creators to tell their stories. Also, there is more diversity in the stories that we consume. I am really excited to see all of these platforms."
"As a millennial, I spend more time on my phone than I do in front of the TV," he said. "Hulu, Netflix, and the other streaming services allow me to consume content on the go. I don't have to be stuck on my couch to get the content that I want to watch. This is probably how a lot of people watch the show."
James Bland of the hit digital drama series  Giants
James Bland of the hit digital drama series "Giants"
Bradford Rogne Photography
For young and aspiring filmmakers, Bland's advice is as follows: "Figure out your 'why' and allow your 'why' to guide your intention. If your intention is in the right place, then things will fall into place. Find your tribe as well. Be very clear on that 'why' and that intention."
Bland shared that he and the Giants cast are very active in engaging with their fans on social media. "I am really happy that the show has found its audience, and that people can relate and connect to these characters. I hope that Giants inspires those who watch the show to go off and tell their stories and figure out what their 'giants' are. I just hope it brings value to people's lives. I hope the show blesses them in some way since that was our intention," he said.
He defined success as "waking up and honestly saying to yourself that you are 'living the life that you want to live'." "Success is when you are enjoying your life on a daily basis for whatever it is that you set out to do," he said.
To learn more about Giants, check out its official homepage and on the Issa Rae YouTube channel.
For more information on Giants showrunner James Bland, follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
More about james bland, Digital, Drama, Series, Giants
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