We had the good fortune of connecting with Marquiez Cornelius and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marquiez, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I was a kid the first movie I saw alone without my parents was batman returns. I remember sitting in that theater mesmerized at the things I saw on that screen. I knew I wanted to do something like that when I grew up. But tradition told me that I couldn’t do that and dreams were impossible to achieve. So I spent those first years of my life lost like a lot of youth until found that camera lens. My first assignment was working for the lord through the church media ministry. Who knew that would change my life forever. Thanks to working cameras on Sunday I found my way back to the camera lens. From there I knew exactly what I was put here to do and what I had to do. Myself and my business partner moved to Florida to pursue our degrees in film. After we accomplished that we decided to come back home and establish a base of operations. I’ve had the luxury to work for every single major broadcast company. ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC while my partner was on his own journey. He has worked on numerous films for Marvel, Disney and several others. But our goal was always the same get back to that camera lens. As men we both loved movies but there was always something missing in those shots. Even as kids we noticed it, we never saw us represented in anything. It was ok for the black and latino characters to be gangsters, pimps, comedy relief, and drug dealers. What happened to the black billionaire, the black superhero or latino cop who isn’t corrupt. It was from that point we knew we had to bring our vision to life on the big screen. We wanted to show the world that there are black astronauts, latino time travelers, and asian superheroes. It’s from that spark Cinescape Dynamics was born and we are still fighting until we build Macon Georgia’s first Award Winning Film Studio.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I started working at 13 WMAZ in 2005 as a chyron operator, I thought to myself could life get any sweeter. I was happy but I found myself craving more. I had to get back behind that camera lens and share my stories. After a year of research I decided Full Sail University was the perfect place to learn the techniques of filmmaking. There I found out I loved editing and visual effects. I even won the instructor award for post-production when I graduated. I wanted so much to start shooting but I didn’t have a camera. I was looking for a place to land and Fox was right there to catch me. Once again I was back behind the lens working in broadcast. I felt like I was settling again and had to find a way out. So I started showcasing my work and shooting trailers with my co-workers. Until finally I got the attention of one of the greatest bosses I’ve ever had Marcus Nash. Mr. Nash welcomed me upstairs and gave me a position in creative services. Here I got a chance to flex my creative muscles. I helped many businesses brand looks and a real ad sense on television. My first year as a commercial producer I won Best In show at the Addys and Best local commercial. After doing that for 7 years the company was sold to a new corporation I didn’t share the same values with. So I moved from Fox/ABC to NBC. There I got to learn the technical side of broadcast and learn how tv really works. How each commercial pays the bills and I was charged to supervise it all. Being the media coordinator for NBC put me in charge of the Super Bowl, the Olympics and many other events. What a major moment in my life to reflect on. I remember watching all those events as a child and now there I was in charge of running them all. Today I am in charge of the production studio for Mercer University. While I’m learning so much about running a studio. I feel as if this is the perfect place for me right now. There are always ups and downs in any business. But being in charge of anything is definitely a great deal of stress and long hours. But what makes It all worth wild is to see my students just as excited and hungry as I was, when I was their age. Because my main mission with Cinescape is to inspire and prove following your dreams is possible. People where I’m from usually don’t become successful in film or television. I choose to be the first so that I can help someone become the next.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Macon is full of life a lot of people look at it as a country town. But it’s a fully functioning city with a lot of talented people. When you come here the cherry blossom festival is definitely an event you have to see for yourself. The whole city turns pink, we have visitors from japan and all over the world as they love cherry blossom too. Washington park in the spring is such a great place to reflect in. The site lines and beautiful flowers give it a look right out of a fantasy novel. There is a reason most photographers come here. Breakfast we would have to go to H&H It’s a staple here. For lunch I would take them to the Ocmulgee Brew Pub the burgers there are insane. Also the Bears Den never disappoints it always slaps for a good lunch date. For dinner Piedmont, Fatty’s Pizza or The Barefoot Tavern are all great places. Downtown Macon is definitely a destination if you’re looking for good food and good fun. Most think of it as a violent place if you follow what the media presents it to be. But my city is beautiful, full of bustling life and a gorgeous place that even Hollywood is starting to notice. It’s always awesome when my friends visit, we get to walk downtown and I brag about the Watchmen being shot in that same spot. Most of them aren’t impressed as they work for film companies anyways.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom is my biggest inspiration and my biggest supporter. They say a single women can’t show a man how to be a man. I’m proof that statement is a complete fallacy. She has shown me how to speak with my heart and always fight for my dreams. The world will give you nothing until you have something to give. My family and friends have been so supportive of my business. They’ve hired me as a photographer, videographer and promo designer just to keep money in my accounts. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing support system. My business partner and best friend/brother Miguel has really helped me to grow into my calling. My film familia inspire me every day to keep going. Because they know as a team we can conquer this giant called the film industry. Tyler Perry said it best when he said your dreams are not your own. They are connected to other people’s lives, own your stuff, and own your business. Major love to filmmakers like Issa Rae for being proud of where your from and showcasing that in her work. I plan on doing just that and doing my best to bring back film to my city.
Brain Yohe Photo Credit WMUB/ESPN