Trey Carswell III is a two-time Howard University graduate who earned his bachelor’s in political science and economics (2011) and master’s in international relations and public administration and policy (2013). “While my academic career took the political route, it was my love for acting and filmmaking that brought me directly to the production industry,” he says.
In 2015, Carswell formed M’oonk Films Devoted. “It is a vision. I built from the ground up and am still working tirelessly to expand. Devoted does it all — photography, videography, and everything in between. We’re here to bring your vision to life. If you can dream it, Devoted will create it,” he explains.
Here, he shares his background in the film industry and why entrepreneurship is important to him.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I realized I would be an entrepreneur after I completed my master’s degree at Howard. I thrived in school and I am so proud of what I accomplished with my academics, but my true passion comes from expressing my creative genius. Becoming the best actor I can be, the best producer, director. These aren’t dreams I can chase by following in someone else’s footsteps. I have to create my own path.
How challenging is it being an actor in such a competitive industry?
Everyone in my field is aiming to be the best. There’s always one part being auditioned for by over 300 people at a time. I’m constantly putting myself out there and trying to convince the directors and producers why I’m the best fit. In my field, you hear ‘no’ more often then ‘yes,’ your confidence can really take a blow. Being an actor is very hard at times. But, this is what I love so I’m constantly knocking down doors and my perseverance is why I hear ‘yes’.
What has been your favorite role as an actor and why?
I loved working on the set of Straight Outta Compton. I was able to be with some amazing directors and producers like F. Gary Gray and Scott Bernstein and, of course, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. That was by far the most exciting set and one of my most memorable experiences.
What was your motivation to open your own production company?
My motivation to build this company, my motivation to do any and everything I do comes from my daughter Nia. She gives me the energy and drive to keep going when I start to feel like slowing down. She makes every victory taste that much sweeter. My devotion to my daughter is the very motto that fuels my company, Devoted.
What projects are you working on?
Currently, Devoted is working on several projects at the moment: Snake, a feature film and Dear Everyone, Sincerely Virgin Island, a documentary, just to name a few.
What types of projects are you interested in producing?
I’m interested in producing it all. The sky is the limit. My creative side is boundless and the more variety I am able to work with the better I become at mastering my craft. I’m a creator, so I just love producing period.
Where would you like to see your business in the next five years?
In five years, I’d love for Devoted to be collaborating with other production companies and actors that I admire like Paramount, Will Ferrell, Johnny Depp, Walt Disney, just to name a few.