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Deonte Staats talks TV and the creative process


New show ‘A LA Carte’

Becoming a mogul script writer in Hollywood is not always a linear path for most people. Some go the educational route, attend college, gain internships and use that to springboard them into the writer’s room. Others may go the social media route and create skits and short stories, posting them online in hopes of garnering attention from the masses and catching the eye of an executive. Deonte Staats approached his dream differently; as he wanted to produce and stay behind the scenes, and when the opportunity arrived to be featured as a writer, he did not hesitate. 

“I started producing shorts online, and eventually helped out different companies in New York and North Carolina, in minor producer roles, which then helped me make my way to Los Angeles a few years later to work with writers and TV show producers,” Staats said. “My first big opportunity came when working under director Lena Waithe as a Producer and Writer and I helped mentor young writers. I was able to build up my skills and create relationships.”

Staat’s ability to be a self-starter and work from the ground up propelled him to work on Lena Waithe’s hit show “The Chi,” where he earned his first writing credits on season four, episode nine. 

The timing of everything was an unforgettable moment in Staat’s life. As he was celebrating his first credits, he was also writing an episode with a  personal parallel; a female lead character was being diagnosed with cancer, meanwhile, Staat’s was receiving the news of his mother’s cancer diagnosis. While Staats could write the fictional character to better health, he couldn’t give his mother the same storyline. Unfortunately, shortly after the episode premiered, Staat’s mother passed away. She passed knowing her son was fulfilling his dream of being a writer. 

Staats took that opportunity and propelled it into being the script coordinator for “Bel-Air,” a reboot of the ‘90s comedy “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

“The transition from The Chi to Bel-Air was smooth as some of the staff on Bel-Air I worked with on The Chi, and it helped me working on season two of the show,” Staats explained. “It was a lot of proofreading and editing, but overall, it was an amazing experience working with everybody involved. I also gave one of the characters my last name in the show, which is a moment I will never forget.” The character’s name is Yasmin Staats, the Black student council president at Bel-Air High School. 

While achieving career milestones, Staats was promoted to Co-Executive producer and Head Writer for Breanna's 2nd Season of drama, “A LA Carte.”

Staats says of “A LA Carte”, “The show is centered around modern dating for Black people from the lens of the side-chick or side dude, living in North Hollywood,” he said. The show stars social media personalities Kendall Kyndall, Jenna Nolan, Shani Marq, and R&B star Kandi Burruss. It’s available on AMC and AllBlk Network.