Updated: Feb 28
A few weeks ago, we connected with our latest featured artist, Actor, Writer, Director, and Producer, Jahi Trotter. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Jahi relocated to Mobile, Alabama. Currently, Jahi resides in Atlanta, GA, and is working on a few scripts and a few of his projects.
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you take us on your journey from how you started to where you are now?
Jahi Trotter:"In 2012, while pursuing a degree in Social Science, I fell in love with the camera. I started watching shows like The Sopranos, and although I had always loved film, it was then that I began writing at the age of eight. While in college, I made films and YouTube videos with my friends, and they all turned out well once they were completed.
After graduation, I realized that although my degree was great, it wasn't what I wanted to do. I went back home to Mobile for six months and eventually told my parents that I wanted to move back to Atlanta. I had heard that the film industry in Atlanta was booming, and I wanted to follow my dreams. Fortunately, my parents were very supportive. I moved back to Atlanta and faced a few hurdles before eventually enrolling at SCAD-Atlanta. Between 2018 and 2019, everything started to fall into place as I began making films and meeting other filmmakers."
Atlanta Film and TV: Growing up did your parents recognize your love of the arts? And, if so how did they nourish your gift to facilitate growth?
Jahi Trotter: Acting came about seriously after my father passed, and once my mother passed away, acting came to the forefront of what I loved. I remember being in school and church plays, and my mother would have me do my homework. My mother would have me go over my lines for an hour. She would always tell me, ‘make sure you express yourself. When you say it, mean it! Little did I know - and little did she know where I’d be today.
"I wrote my first book in 2015, and my mother took it to every person she knew at her job! My dad took it to all our family members. My parents were always supportive of my dreams. Even though they were still realistic. My parents would say, ‘hey! You need to get a job. But they always knew I was creative. When I was little, I would paint my wrestling belts and have my own wrestling thing going on with my friends around the neighborhood. We would jump on the trampoline and do wrestling stuff. I would create t-shirts for them. It looked horrible but I would be creative!"
- Jahi Trotter
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you share with us about your production company, Spoiled Mindz?
Jahi Trotter: Spoiled Mindz started as t-shirts I created back in college. Growing up, I was the only child. My mother would always say, ‘You're just a spoiled child! I would joke with her by saying, ‘ I got a spoiled mind!' Spoiled Mindz became an idea I put onto a t-shirt. My older cousin Andre Lang, had a t-shirt company called Scratch in Mobile. I learned from Andre and was supportive of his clothing line. I thought, I’m in college, and I’m making videos. I'm going to add some spice to it and create t-shirts! My friend Kam and I came up with the idea and began designing the t-shirts. Once I created the t-shirts, people in Mobile, AL and at Troy University were supportive - which I appreciated!
After a while, I got into filmmaking, and wanted Spoiled Mindz to be more of a production company. I no longer create the Spoiled Mindz t-shirts, but I love putting Spoiled Mindz productions behind anything that I do that is filmmaking related.
Atlanta Film and TV: You’ve written and directed a few projects. Can you talk about those and share with us what the inspiration behind those projects were?
Jahi Trotter: The Last Job was my thesis project to graduate from SCAD. This film is about a young man trying to get revenge on this big boss, who took advantage of his father by having his father killed. The young man gets revenge by breaking into the boss' office, finding files, and putting them out there to the world.
Creating The Last Job was emotional for me because it was the last job as a student at SCAD. It was also something I promised my parents I would finish. Unfortunately, they both passed away before I started working on the film. But they knew about it and were both supportive. It was like I was doing my last job. It was like the character Isaiah in my film was doing his last job. I was doing this as my last job for my parents!
Click below for our full conversation.
My other film, Knuckle, was created because I wanted to do a short fight movie. A friend of mine, Syd, who attends SCAD came up with the idea. He started writing different scenarios. I also have friends from Kickboxing class who agreed to do stunts. Which, by the way, they all enjoyed themselves! We filmed Knuckle in a day, and it was a five-minute film. Producing Knuckle was a lot of fun, and I was fortunate to have my girlfriend help out.
A lot of people came through just because of the art. It wasn’t a film about pain. But we creatively came up with ideas. It was monumental because the people who worked on the project loved working with one another. Both Knuckle and The Last Job are doing great getting into film festivals. In November, The Last Job was screened at a film festival, which feels good because people are happy and confident with something we created.
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you share about any projects you’re currently working on?
Jahi Trotter: My friend Shelby Irene and I are working on a short film called Ascension. It’s a sci-fi, dark comedy written during the pandemic. Luckily, my friend Syd ended up becoming the director. We shot Ascension in August 2022, and hopefully will be released sometime this year.
I have written at least four scripts and am working with a few directors. All of which I hope to produce and release this year. I am also auditioning and doing all things creative. Now, there are a lot of people who are creatively supportive and want to see these things come to life!
Atlanta Film and TV: If I could travel back in time and interview 18-year old Jahi and tell him all the things he’d become, what would you least likely believe to be true?
Jahi Trotter: I wouldn’t believe I’d be acting. I always looked at myself as more of a director and writer. Acting came out of the blue. I lost my dad in August 2019. I took an acting class only to get my credit. My professor and mentor, Adam Frisco, told me I should take acting seriously. He told me it was something I should do because I was good at it. At first, I didn’t believe him. But, working with other students, being in their films, along with working with independent filmmakers, and hearing the positive feedback, helped. My mother passed in 2021, and I kept going and couldn’t stop. Acting was something which was therapeutic - and still is! It saved my life because I could let out all my emotions. Whether it was happy, or sad. Acting has honestly changed my life!
Atlanta Film and TV: What is it about acting that gets you excited?
Jahi Trotter: Acting gets me excited because I can express myself and the fact that I can represent a character. But also, at the same time, I am able to put my creativity into that character. Ironically, I identify with a lot of the roles I get. I usually get characters who deal with a lot of pain, struggle and have gone through a lot. Those characters are who I can tap into. I took an acting class called Emotional Access at Drama Inc, which helped me deal with using what I’m going through and putting those emotions into the character. It also helped to get out of that moment. When I first began acting, I would keep my emotions inside, and it would be hard for me to get out of it. I did a short film called Daymare, where I played the father who had to deal with his son who came back to earth because earth was dying. The father also had to deal with the death of his wife and cries at her gravesite. The week before filming the r Daymare, I was at my mother's grave. It was those emotions that when the director yelled, ‘cut!’ I was still dealing with the emotions from the loss of my mother. The acting class I took at Drama Inc. helped by learning how to stay in the moment for a while, and when the moment is over, then it’s over!
Atlanta Film and TV: You recently attended our Networking Event at the Vibrary Wine and Bookbar. Why do you think networking is an important factor to being successful in the Atlanta film and tv community?
Jahi Trotter: While in school at SCAD, our professors would say, ‘it’s all about your connections! In the past, I struggled with connecting with people who were not interested in film. The support system of people who want to connect and are interested in the same things, have the same passion, and have the same creativity is special! You can go a long way by interacting and connecting with those who have your back. I have gotten roles from people I never thought would put my name with other directors or people. They would say, I know a guy named Jahi who does this and that, which has been helpful!
Making connections in the film and tv industry are important. And I’m still learning its importance.
Atlanta Film and TV: What piece of advice would you have for a high school student, looking to pursue a career in film and tv?
Jahi Trotter: Just do it! Don’t listen to anybody that will say you can’t do it. My professor Quinn always told me no matter what, the show must go on!’ I apply what he said to what I deal with in life. I would tell anybody If you have a dream, whether it’s filmmaking, writing, directing, producing, or acting, don’t let anybody get in the way! Something always comes up. If you’re struggling as you’re trying to make a film - something always comes up, there will always be hurdles. Every film I’ve ever done, there’s always a hurdle. Make sure you stay consistent, stay positive, and make sure you stay content with the dream because in the end the outcome will be great1
Atlanta Film and TV: Do you have any G.E.M.S. or words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers and viewers?
Jahi Trotter: Try to remain positive. That is something I try to do. If you were to talk to me three years ago, I would’ve been a totally different person. It took me a lot of hurdles to get to where I am, and I’m still going over those hurdles. Live life the best way you can. Try to make sure that at the end of the day you’re happy with what you’ve done and have no regrets, because those regrets will keep you from going forward and reaching goals.
Atlanta Film and TV: How can people connect with you?
Jahi Trotter: You can google Jahi Minkah Trotter. On Instagram @jahi_minkah, and on IMDb at Jahi Minkah Trotter.