TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa native Ashley Wooten created her successful digital series out of curiosity.
"For the first season I wrote one episode and I really didn't think it was going to go far, it was something I wanted to do and put out there and in a week we got 50,000 views," said Wooten.
Inspired by "The L Word" and "Between Women," a lesbian YouTube series. Wooten's series is inspired by true events, including moments of her own life.
"A lot of what you see the characters go through, I went through or know someone who did. My way of dealing with life and tough situations was to write about it," said Wooten.
The title of the series, "My Beautiful Pain," comes from a toxic relationship between Wooten and an ex-girlfriend.
"It was a beautiful but painful experience. It feels good, but it's not good for you. That's what that relationship was like for me." said Wooten.
Wooten said she realized writing was a form of therapy as she dealt with painful life experiences.
"I had pages and pages of content and went back to re-read what I wrote, and it felt like a movie, it was kind of crazy, so I decided to bring the vision to life," said Wooten.
With a career in finance working as a fraud investigator and a degree in business, Wooten admired the entertainment industry from afar.
"I never went to film school, everything I know is all self-taught. A lot of people try to go the studios and to the big producers, but there's a lot you can do yourself for less than $5,000," said Wooten.
Spending hours on YouTube studying video techniques, reading film books, and referring to Google, Wooten consumed all she could before picking up the camera to shoot her series and open her own company, LeJoi Media, in 2015.
Gearing up for season 2, Wooten says her talent and crew are growing.
“My prior actors go to class now and the new cast features professional actors and actresses. I also have two outside writers helping me this time around," said Wooten.
While season 1 highlights the lives of characters in toxic situations who are building a business network together, season 2 goes deeper into the personal lives and pain of the three main characters — Mo, Tori and Casey.
"It's about three friends who go through trials and tribulations of trying to run the first black-owned LGBT TV network," said Wooten.
"My Beautiful Pain" season 2 will be released this fall and featured on Amazon Prime.
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