Where Are They Now? Creator Retrospective Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part celebratory blog marking the Copyright Alliance’s 14th anniversary, as well as the 5th anniversary of our creator spotlight blog series. In honor of these milestones, we’ve reconnected with a few of the incredible creators we’ve featured over the years to see what they’ve been up to since their spotlight was published. Below, you’ll find updates about the creative paths of each of these creators over the past few years—keep reading to learn more, and then be sure to check out part one of our creator retrospective!

Amarilys Henderson, Illustrator

Amarilys Henderson

How has your creative career evolved since we last spoke, and how has copyright helped to fuel your growth?

It’s great to see you doing a follow-up post! I do find that there’s so much value in watching an artist walk through their journey, noticing their many unique twists and turns. Since we last talked, I’ve been creating less in placement art and more patterned repeats. These design shifts dictate where the art will be placed and therefore what companies I’ve been collaborating with! My work has been gracing gift wrap and fabrics and I’m having a blast seeing how the chain of creativity doesn’t stop with me! Owning the copyright to my work enables me to have flexibility as I steer the direction of my business. I do not sell my designs outright, so when my contract with a fabric company for a particular collection ends, it’s back in my portfolio. I also retain the right to place the art on other non-competing items.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to other creators, what would it be?

As I look back on my development as a creative entrepreneur, I realize that I see more opportunities as I grow. I understand what I can do with my skills and how I can market them in various ways. It’s for that reason that maintaining control of your greatest personal assets—your body of work—is invaluable. You may not see the value in it now, but you may later. The world is changing at a rapid speed. The more you own your work—your artwork and the way in which you operate your business—the better equipped you are to adjust, evolve, and grow.

Amanda Williams, Songwriter

Photo credit copyright 2020 Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Nathan Wingate. Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.

amanda williams

How has your creative career evolved since we last spoke, and how has copyright helped to fuel your growth?

The last time we spoke was right after I worked with Keith Kupferschmid, President and CEO of Copyright Alliance, at the United States Patent and Trademark Office bi-annual Copyright Seminar. I was a second-time panelist and first-time presenter of my Songlife™ Songwriter Team Building workshop for a group of world IP experts and dignitaries from 32 countries.

Since then, my creative career has pivoted to what we sometimes refer to as “woodshedding” during this time of isolation and solitude. In other words, I’ve been writing, arranging, and producing music, and like many, using the convenience of technology tools to help me connect with my collaborators instead of working in person.

That hard work has paid off in creating tons of new music, including my new LP “Appalachia Kid” and single “I’m On Fire” (words and music by Bruce Springsteen) which debuted May 7, 2021 exclusively on WAIL 99.5 FM in Florida as part of the Key West Songwriter Festival activities.

In celebration of World IP Day this year, I was also tapped by the U.S. Embassy in Peru to hold a series of interactive public concerts for four South American Countries as part of my work with the U.S. Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs Office as an Official Arts Envoy. This was a continuation of the work spearheaded by the ECA in cooperation with the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement and my company Songpreneurs LLC.

The concerts were attended by 756 people in Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia, and provided a vehicle for interaction and engagement around the issue of creative self-expression and intellectual property rights for a healthy, thriving community.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to other creators, what would it be?

Burn for it. Live it. Make your life dependent on it, because if you’re meant to move others with your artistry, it must be able to move you to action first. Nobody will invite you to the table. You have to walk over and pull up a chair. If they kick you out, you’re not ready yet—but if you run away, that’s on you.

If you’re good and you know it, show it by doing good work, like the Copyright Alliance does. That’s the most important thing. The rest will come when it’s time as long as you’re being respectful—to the work of others, and to your own work.

Ricardo Fleshman, Screenwriter and Author

ricardo fleshman

How has your creative career evolved since we last spoke, and how has copyright helped to fuel your growth?

Since being featured in the creator spotlight blog, I have received numerous requests for writing commissions for both fiction and professional nonfiction. I have completed another full-length, stand-alone novel and I’m working on the follow-up to that. It is currently available for sale. I have also completed writing and production of two episodes for a new docuseries based on faith that has been met with acclaim, as evidenced by the numerous “Official Selections” and three Best Documentary Short awards that it received. The first documentary I wrote and produced is still doing well in sales. Finally, our small production company has ventured into new territory with the addition of two new series we are producing for YouTube. These projects are a departure from anything in our portfolio as they are geared to a much wider, younger audience. One is about exploring places off the beaten path and the other is a graphic novel interpretation of my first book series. I mention these because, given the fact that we are a small production team with limited resources, we have to be creative in how we source some of our supporting content while being mindful of copyright law. We strive to produce content of a certain quality and it is important to me that we pay the same respect to those who have created the music, images, and graphics that we use to produce our shows. We also have a legal and moral responsibility to do so. Therefore, for everything we produce, we give credit to the owner, who has in many cases provided permission to use their copyrighted works for free or with an attribution credit. I want to be certain they receive the recognition deserved for their product. Doing this has allowed us access to music, images, and graphics that we may not have been otherwise able to create, and we can produce the content we want, while growing our brand and portfolio of digital shorts and films.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to other creators, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to create. If you can dream it, you can do it. That might seem a bit cliché, but sometimes we hinder ourselves. It is easier to talk yourself out of doing something than it is to put in the work to create something amazing. I strive every day to create something that people can enjoy, something that will outlast me, and if I’m lucky, something of value. And this is crucial: once created, it has to be shared with the world. Nothing worth its weight ever got discovered or appreciated or loved by sitting in a dark closet or stored away on a hard drive. Critiques and reviews will help you grow as an artist, but sharing your work with the public will make you immortal. 

Want to learn more about the incredible creators we’ve featured in the past? Read part one of this blog and check out our archive of more than 100 previous creator spotlight blogs! To be featured in your own creator spotlight blog, join the Copyright Alliance as an Individual Creator Member and email us at cawebsite@copyrightalliance.org.

Featured Image Photo Credit: iStock/sofiaworld

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