Steven L. Coard is the Director behind a new film titled “The Lady in the Locket,” which tells the story of a gay black man named Qeescey Green who is dumped by his lover, Travis, on his thirty-fifth birthday and vows never to love again. Later that night, a present appears at his doorstep. When he unwraps it, he finds a locket containing a lady named "Lareema” who takes him inside the world of the locket to give him a test of love—namely, being able to look past other people’s flaws and not judging everyone on looks alone.

The movie was shot in Jersey City, New Jersey, in three days and stars students from the award-winning Color of Love Production Studios Acting School in Hoboken which Coard founded. Recently, Coard granted an exclusive interview discussing this project and others.

Movies, entertainment, and characters

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to start working in entertainment and do you enjoy acting or directing more?

Steven L. Coard (SLC): My first inspiration came from working as an extra on Spike Lee's film "Crooklyn." It was something about seeing Spike on set and how he brought together a crew of people together to tell a story.

I've always loved going to the Movies as a child, and I was so innocent to how the entertainment business works. I told myself while on set and interacting with Spike Lee that I wanted to do someday what he was doing. I realized the power of storytelling, and I knew that I had an overactive imagination.

I can't honestly say that I love directing more than acting because I love them both equally! I want to do them both for the rest of my life.

It's something about the way you get to bring the story to life from both perspectives in front and behind the camera.

Also, Patrick Ian Polk is someone who inspires me with his work. Through his television show, "Noah's Arc” I was able to see well-rounded characters who were just like me. I want to add to that platform. I'm passionate about creating stories that empower and entertain black gay men.

MM: As an actor, what kind of roles do you most enjoy playing and what sort of character would be your ideal acting gig?

SLC: As an actor, I love playing those sexy and sweet tough guys. I enjoy playing the bad guy because it challenges me to unleash all of my aggression into my work. My ideal role would be to have a career like Helena Bonham Carter. I think she is brilliant, and I want to someday play memorable characters like hers. Also, I really dream of working alongside Kate Hudson, Katie Holmes, and Alicia Silverstone as their quirky and sassy best-friend role.

MM: How did you get involved with “The Lady in the Locket” and what most appealed to you about the characters and the script?

SLC: I got involved with “Lady in the Locket” because I did a short film last year called “The Man in the Locket.” I discovered TS Madison on YouTube, and she created a video and asked for any filmmaker to cast her in a role of the evil villain. It was perfect timing because I wanted to create the female version of the “The Man in the Locket.” I thought TS delivered a great performance as Ursula from “The Little Mermaid.” I'm always trying to challenge myself as a creative, so in this film, I wanted to explore a same-sex relationship. I'm also a lover of ancient Greek Mythology. These characters were derived from the tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

MM: You shot the film in only three days, so how intense was that and are you happy with the results?

SLC: I am extremely happy with the film. It's so amazing to see your work come to life. It gives me such joy when I can share my completed projects with the world. The film was shot in only three days, and it was very easy, because not only am I the director, I'm the craft services, transportation, and all-around problem solver. It's just great when it's over, and you can take a sigh of relief from the hard work.

MM: Do you have a very favorite scene or line of dialogue?

SLC: My favorite scene is when Lareema brings in New York City.

I love NYC, and I always want to have it featured in my movies and entertainment.

Production studio and advice

MM: How and when did you decide to establish Color of Love Production Studios and why did you choose that name?

SLC: Color of Love Production Studios was established in 2010. I was working as a stand-up comic at the time, and I hate to travel, so I wanted to create a way entertain without having to fly and remain in NYC.

MM: What was it like to get the production studio company off the ground and what kinds of productions do you most seek?

SLC: I would say that it's still in the ground stages.

I'm working hard to build the brand. I'm learning new things every day about myself, people, and how to run a business. I seek to have a global company where I can produce romantic comedies for LGBT POC audiences and African American Females.

I recently founded The Color of Love Production School for Film, Television, Theatre. The idea was to build a place where LGBTQ talent could work together in a supportive environment to create exciting projects. Shawn Singleton, who plays the lead in “The Lady in The Locket," is a student from the school. Magda Suriel, who stars as the best friend in “The Lady in the Locket,” is a student from the school too.

Whenever possible, I will cast students from the school in all my future works so that they can get experience working with established stars like Madison.

MM: What have people’s responses to your movies been like, what are you working on right now, and have you any words of advice for the up-and-comers?

SLC: I’ve received incredible support for my work, and I am slowly building a following. I like that my work is not overshadowing my personal life. I love the balance on and off camera. I've just finished a romantic comedy called "Last Night in Atlanta.” And, I have just shot my first web-series called "Heartbreaks & Soulmates" which is adapted from my film of the same name.

The best advice that I can give anyone is to follow your dreams. Do what makes you happy. Stop wasting your time on people who can do nothing for you, and surround yourself with people who are genuinely in your corner.

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