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KARLTON T. CLAY

Meet Karlton T. Clay.    His motto: Grow as you go, which springs from his favorite scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).   Karlton is vibrantly creative and you can hear his passion when speaking.  Karlton has always loved to write. He began writing at a very young age. But it wasn’t until his time at Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, GA that he began to get involved in production and wanting to use his gift of writing as his career. However, on March 18th, 2002, Karlton, at the age of 16, was diagnosed with acute lymphoma leukemia. However, instead of succumbing to this terrible disease in his life, Karlton decided that he was going to persevere. During his time in recovery, he grew closer to his family and his relationship with God strengthened.  Also, from this experience, VICTORY PRODUCTIONS was born.

 

Under Victory Productions, Karlton has written, produced, and directed several theatre productions, short films, and 12 web serials. In 2017, Karlton was named one of the Top 10 Young Professionals of Augusta by the Augusta Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, he was named one of Georgia’s Top 40 Under 40 Professionals by Georgia Trend Magazine. Karlton is also a published author with his four-part book series entitled As The Earth Spins, and he is the creator and editor-in-chief of VPN MAG. Creatives are colorful; they see in color what us regular people can’t seem to capture with such ease.

 

Karlton is a storyteller, an entertainer, a writer and so much more; he’s charged with bringing our stories and his imagination to life.  I am excited about his future and his opportunities are endless.

 

QUESTIONS: 

 

Q. What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A.  Oh, that’s a great question. I’ve been writing since I was little and then I just kind of stopped.  As far as getting into production, I attended a  fine arts school; I  graduated in 2004 and I got into audio and video production classes taught by Mr. Michael Hennessy, it helped me develop my skills and camera work and editing and just learning different aspects of production.  I started doing plays with the Augusta players and I did some plays of course of mine and with my church. But, I actually started producing my plays and then, I was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2000 and I was in remission two months after that.

 

After dealing with all of the stuff surrounding the cancer treatments it led me to begin my production company: Victory Productions. That’s when I really began to write my own material.  The very first play I wrote, I called it Leukemia; it is telling the story of what led up to my cancer diagnosis; ever since I have been doing theater.

 

While attending Ga State University I created a web series; my first web series was called College Days. After graduating I relocated back to Augusta and continued creating and producing content with my web series.  During this time I also interned at Augusta 26 News and was hired several weeks into my internship; moved back to Atlanta. Once again, I found myself back in Augusta but, now working for ABC 26; I worked there for four years.  Eventually, I was hired with WJBF Channel 6 as an editor and later was promoted to the nightly producer and when my contract expired, I took a leap of faith into video production full-time.

 

Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Augusta, and what do you love there?

A  Tropical Smoothie, the one on Robert C. Daniel. It’s my favorite restaurant. I go there all the time. It’s just so great. The food is delicious. I always get the Caribbean jerk chicken wrap with my smoothies.

 

Q. How long have you lived or worked in Augusta?

A.  I’m 33, so minus three years when my father was in the military; we lived in Hawaii.  I lived in Atlanta, so about 26 years in Augusta.

 

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?

A.   Actually, I would go back to Rome; I would definitely go back there.  I had the opportunity to travel after one of my web series: The Lion was being recognized for winning an award in Rome; at this time I was working for Channel 6 and my boss and some of my co-workers encouraged me to go–in my mind, I wasn’t going to go. I am so glad I did. At the time, I really could not afford to travel so far away; but, my boss kept saying: go, go, go. There are just somethings in life we need to just do.  So, I got my passport and a plane ticket; this was one of the best times of my life. It was my first time traveling outside of the United States.

 

One of my best friends and I traveled to Rome. Experiencing another culture, the architecture and just seeing historic sites and the people….it was amazing. It was very life-changing for me. Don’t get me started talking about the delicious food; I am a real foodie and you know, the language barrier really wasn’t a problem at all. You know, once you get there…..familiarity surfaces; we just speak differently. As you interact you discover some sort of commonality and you learn from the cultures of others. What an experience, I will never forget it. So, yes, I would travel again to Rome.

 

Karlton Clay, The faces of Augusta, GA

 

Q. What advice would you give a crowd of people?

A.  Stay Consistent. If you want to do something and you want to be successful at it; you must be consistent. People like people who are consistent; the ability to see you constantly growing and evolving and learning. People do not like people that they feel they cannot trust. You want people to believe in you.

 

Be true to yourself.

 

Often times I say, stay in your lane; this does not reflect being stagnant in just one area. I mean, stay in your lane as in focus on your path and focus on you. Continous growth. You can be gifted in many things and you can dominate in many areas; but, if you’re trying to dominate something that you know you are not gifted in and your focus is on the next person—you will then lose focus on self.

 

 

Q. What is something on your bucket list?

 A.  Okay, I know this is going to sound really simple; but, taking a cruise is on my bucket list. I’ve never done it.  When I was scheduled to go on a cruise I was diagnosed with cancer and so, I had to make other arrangements.  Now, going on a cruise is at the top of my list.

 

Q. What is your favorite music?

A. Surprisingly, I like trap music.

 

The faces of Augusta

 

Q. Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Augusta would you have lunch?

A.  Tyler Perry; I would love to ask him about business and how does he stay consistent and relevant.  How does he deal with the pressures; he’s on a whole other plateau than I am. How does he maintain his creativity and other stuff at his level of business?  Moreso, how does he maintain his sanity within Hollywood?  Those are just some of the questions I would ask him.

Taking him to The Chef’s House on Walton Way, the little Pink House would be magnificent.  **Enjoyed lunch there with my Aunt. (image insert)

 

The Chefs House | Karlton Clay

 

Q. What is your favorite thing or something unique about Augusta?

A.  We have a great underground arts community within Augusta.  When I say underground, the local artists do not receive accolades from the community as a whole; yet, these artists are resilient and we continue to push through in spite of being recognized by the mainstream here in Augusta. For me personally, the majority of my family is here; I was born here and I grew up here. So, I have a great support system.  Seeing more activity downtown would be awesome; I enjoy artistic events that are held at the Humanitree House.

 

Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A.  Building deeper roots here in Augusta.  But, I also see myself working and living in Charlotte, North Carolina as well.  Augusta will become like my second home because I conduct my production in North Carolina; West Charlotte is somewhere that is actually growing and I want to be a part of that growth.  I would definitely love to have a studio built here in Augusta. More and more productions are occurring right here in Augusta and it will help draw more attention to this area. A lot of people don’t know, Augusta was the second capital of Georgia and it’s 3rd largest city.

 

 

Q. (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A.  I like to dance; I used to dance when I attended Davidson. I studied: Tap, Jazz and African Dance. When I do dance people are shocked that I dance…..I mean, dance and I enjoy it.

 

Q. Can you describe the neighborhood you grew up in?

A.  Yes, I grew up on Market Street here in Augusta.  When my dad got out of the Navy we moved back to the Augusta area and stayed with my grandparents and that was off Morgan Street.  I had a great childhood; loved playing outside.

 

 

Q. What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

A.  Family, Community, and Potential

 

Q. If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?

A.  It would have to be one of my actresses; she’s been with me from the beginning. We mesh and work very well together and it would be pure fun to be cast in a motion picture with her.  She’s brilliant.

 

Q. If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?  {Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny} WHY?

A.  A personal chef because I eat horribly and if I stop being lazy, I could workout. (laughs) But, it is certainly my eating habits I need to change.

 

Q. If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?

A.  Meeting Will Smith.  I met him through the Make A Wish Foundation; he was my wish.  The organization flew me and my family to Miami; at the time he was conducting press events for the Bad Boys Film and he said he would have lunch with us.  It was so amazing to see him up close and in such a personal setting. He is genuinely a great guy and personable. I really appreciate how he encouraged me to continue writing scripts.

 

Q. Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?

A.  He might not be aware of what I am going to say; but, my father.  I have learned a lot of stuff from him that will provide me with guidance for the rest of my life; my father is a pastor and he has been through some trying experiences: developing a church and the continued growth that must occur. He’s had disappointments and yet, he continues to move forward in strength and adheres to what God has instructed him to do. So, I’ve watched him all of my life as he has provided for us.  There is a special time I remember; when my sister died. She had cerebral palsy and she was 10 years old; I watched what he had to endure and how he handled things during this time period. My father is a great inspiration to me and others; he’s taught me that in spite of whatever you might face: you can keep moving forward.

 

 

OUR FINAL QUESTION

 

Q. IF YOU COULD SHARE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A.  Surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you and push you to be your best self and that doesn’t mean, they say yes all the time. You need people around you who are going to tell you the truth. You want people around you who are going to help you reach your greatest potential; a support system is everything. Definitely keep your circle small.

 

 

 

 

the-faces-of-augusta-ga-micki-esposito-top-augusta-realtor

Thank you, Karlton. You made my experience easy and comfortable.  To new beginnings.  Friends for Life.

~micki

 

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