top of page

On The Spot With Cheyenne Ewulu: A Dream Deferred Is Not A Dream Denied

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Our 'ON THE SPOT ' interview series highlights individuals throughout the creative community for their contributions to art and culture. Putting these artists "on the spot" we created a space wherecreatives and innovators tap into the conversation to uplift and continue to inspire the creative community. Next up is...Cheyenne Ewulu.

There has never been a more significant time of uncertainty than right now. Laughs are hard to come by, and the enthralling timeline stories of One Piece, One Punch Man, Dragon Ball Z, and classic Yu-Gi-Oh reruns are difficult to stomach, especially when we are facing the reality that residual income is out of the question for the billionaires of Silicon Valley making the rich, more prosperous and the poor, well you know the rest.

Somewhere lies a diamond in the laugh, a pilot episode made just for us nerds that redefines the fabric of inclusivity. Cheyenne Ewulu has tested a concept pilot episode for her invigorating original comedy series "The Comic Shop," a project that is years in the making. In the time it took to curate the masterpiece mentioned above, she worked with prominent names like Nerdist, HBO, FUNimation, Viz Media, Rooster Teeth/Achievement Hunter, and more.

There is a conversation that can be had about the texture of those who joined in the common cause of the SAG WGA strike; there are bodies who belong to networks, bodies who are privileged enough to call this artform a passion project, and bodies like Cheyenne who have to take the Issa Rae route and build from the ground up, writing, shooting, producing the show before pitching it to a network and building a community around it. Where do bodies like Cheyenne's Go? The Comic Shop has the potential to be an "Insecure" for us nerds, but her plans are delayed, and God forbid they be denied.

Alas, in this installment of #OnTheSpot, we get to know the genius behind the craft, the challenges she is facing, her message to her fellow brothers and sisters in film arms, her journey into the entertainment industry, entrepreneurship, and more.

How did your journey in the entertainment industry begin, and what inspired you to focus on geek culture?

I moved to Los Angeles 5 years ago and started working for small entertainment outlets as a journalist. I wasn't primarily happy because the vibe just wasn't me, you know? So, long story short, I found out there was a niche group of people in the digital space who were basically professional nerds for a living, and I said, "That's what I want to do," and the rest was history, really.

With such a diverse background as an actress, host, writer, and producer, how do you manage to balance and excel in all these different roles?

I'm fortunate to have flexible jobs, haha.

As "CheyenneTheGeek," you've built a substantial following of over 25k. Can you share some insights into how you've cultivated such a dedicated fanbase and engaged with your audience?

I stopped being a number person years ago, so I no longer focus on audience building on social media. I haven't checked my Instagram following in forever. BUT, I will say the people who follow me are nerds and K-pop lovers, and that stems from the type of content I used to make at one point in my life. Now I post whatever.

You've worked with prominent names like Nerdist, HBO, FUNimation, Viz Media, Rooster Teeth/Achievement Hunter, and more. What experiences have been the most rewarding and memorable for you?

Working with Funimation (RIP) will forever be one of my most memorable moments. I used to send them emails when I was about 13, asking them for a job, haha. Can you imagine? I still have them too. Anyway, a lot of my entertainment firsts were with Funimation and their team. I'm just honored to have been a part of the hype while it was still happening. I got to host a panel at New York Comic Con in front of 5k people. Younger me would be SHOOK.

Your expertise lies in geek culture, anime, video games, and fandom. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in these fields, and how do you use that knowledge to create engaging content?

I actually give myself a lot of grace and don't feel pressured to keep up with the latest nerdy things. But I follow a lot of nerdy outlets on Twitter, so if something is coming out that I absolutely need to check out, that's usually where I gather my info.

Hosting and writing for your own series, "Prime Video Anime Club," must be exciting. Can you tell us more about the show and the creative process behind it?

It's funny! I actually was hired to be just a simple writer, and then one day, my supervisor was like, "Cheyenne. You love anime. They want anime content on the channel. Can you make anime content?" and the rest was history. They give me free rein with everything, and I'm pretty thankful. I'm my own writer, host, and producer. The only thing I don't do is edit. I come up with an idea that sounds fun and pretty much write a script for it and move from there. These days, I'm an animator, which is so cute. So I'm not on camera much anymore.

The Comic Shop seems like a delightful workplace comedy with a unique premise. Can you share more about the inspiration behind the concept and how you developed the characters of Stephanie, Keith, and Dominique?

Thank you! I've always been a comic nerd and have always wanted to develop a mockumentary-style comedy. I had an idea for one pre-pandemic about Black superheroes...but the characters weren't original, and people moved out of LA, so I decided to scrap it. Later, I wrote The Comic Shop because I wanted to write a story about a group of nerdy-ass Black friends. I'm super familiar with this world, so it came easy for me.

Workplace comedies often rely on a solid narrative structure and pacing to keep the audience engaged. How did you ensure the pilot's story unfolds effectively and captures the viewers' attention from the start?

Three words: Have Writer Friends. I kept getting notes from trusted people, which helped me finalize my pilot.

As a writer, how did you balance humor and storytelling in The Comic Shop? How important is it for you to convey a meaningful message or theme while delivering comedic moments?

I don't want to give too much away, but a lot of the pilot drew inspo from my personal life. You can tell by watching the trailer where it's going within the first 10 seconds. Many people will be able to relate to the messaging in the first episode and future episodes.

Watch “The Comic Shop Trailer Here”:

The pilot trailer showcases a vibrant and visually appealing comic shop setting. How did you work with the director and production team to bring your vision to life, particularly regarding the production design and overall aesthetics?

I wanted it to be a super vibrant show, from the cinematography to the fashion to the personalities. You can also get a sense of theme from the marketing materials as well. I worked with Rober Butler III, who is a great young Black director. I felt good leaving things in his care. I, of course, had some notes, but his vision for things aligned so well with mine. Same for the cinematographer, Matt Smith. I've worked with him before, so I knew he'd kill it. We're also all nerds, so this story was something we all could relate to in some shape or form.

The chemistry between the characters seems crucial to the success of a workplace comedy. How did you and your co-stars, Zeno Robinson and Shanae Cole, approach building that chemistry to create an authentic and humorous dynamic on screen?

We had a table read where we introduced each other and had fun little convos in between. I was the mutual between everyone, so ensuring the cast and crew knew each other and were comfortable with each other was one of my top priorities. Zeno is literally a star...he's been acting in animation and stuff for so long, and I had no doubt he would play the role of Keith super well. Same for Shanae as Dominique. She literally IS that character. I had both of them in mind while writing.

What do you envision for the future of The Comic Shop? What are your hopes and aspirations for the project, and how do you plan to keep the momentum going as you pursue opportunities for the show?

My priority is supporting my fellow writers and actors on the front lines during the current strikes! If anyone is on the east or west coast, come out and join us on the picket lines!

As a producer, actress, and writer, how does the current Writers Guild of America strike impact your work in the industry? Are there any specific projects or plans that have been affected by the strike?

Everyone has had things take a backseat because of the strike...but it's necessary...and we'll all be better for it in the end.

The strike is centered around various issues, including higher wages, residuals from streaming platforms, and regulations on artificial intelligence. How do you see these issues affecting the future of the entertainment industry, especially in terms of compensation and the use of technology in content creation?

As long as the demands of SAG and WGA are met, this strike will greatly affect our industry's future. They're not just fighting for folks currently in the union; they're fighting for the ones who will join in the future as well. You can't replace real human talent with robots. Sorry. You just can't. And it's insulting to think you could.

With both writers and actors on strike, there's significant pressure on studios and networks. How do you think this dual strike will influence negotiations and potential resolutions?

No one can really say, but I am hopeful.

Image Credit: Randijah Simmons

Streaming platforms have changed the content consumption landscape, leading to binge-watching becoming a common practice. As a consumer and content creator, do you believe binge culture is healthy for the nature of modern-day consumption, or does it impact the appreciation and engagement with the content?

There's nothing wrong with being able to binge a new show the day it comes out...but I love it when a show comes out weekly. It builds up hype and prepares me to watch more the following week. Maybe I'm just old, hah.

Given the changing landscape of the entertainment industry, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future of filmmaking, storytelling, and content creation? How do you envision staying relevant and creating meaningful work in this dynamic environment?

I'm hoping new folks (especially Black folks and folks of color) will get a chance to tell new, engaging, and relatable stories.

Finally, what message or advice would you like to share with your fellow creators and fans during this period of labor unrest and the ever-changing landscape of the entertainment industry?

Find a picket line! Meet with your fellow or future union peers. Ask how you can help the cause. Remember, this is for the GOOD of the industry. Keep hope alive, and don't stop creating.

Connect With Cheyenne Ewulu

Instagram: @cheyennethegeek


bottom of page