Rodney Barnes—a California-based screenwriter, producer and author with Annapolis roots— knows that it is possible for an individual who was raised in a small town to dream big and achieve phenomenal results. In an interview, Barnes recently told The Baltimore Times that getting up and facing the work every day is not easy in his profession, but he often gets “stuff done.” This is what makes the industry veteran proud of himself. Over time, Barnes’ successful formula has entailed lots of listening, learning, and taking action.
In a previous interview with The Baltimore Times, Barnes explained that he left his hometown of Annapolis, Maryland to pursue a career in screenwriting and production, after meeting and working with comedian, writer and actor Damon Wayans on projects as a production assistant. His early career climb entailed commuting from Md. to Los Angeles by car.
“And we had a frank conversation one day where he said, ‘‘You know, if you really want to write, you have to move here,’” Barnes told The Baltimore Times. “And this was before the Internet was the Internet in the same way it is now. There was no social media. There was no way to communicate the same way you can now.”
Barnes relocated to L.A., lived in his car for approximately eight months, and made a risky sacrifice pay off. According to a press release issued by the City of Annapolis, Barnes “has written and produced The Boondocks, My Wife and Kids, Everybody Hates Chris, Those Who Can’t, Marvel’s Runaways, American Gods, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and is currently an executive producer/writer on HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.”
Barnes is a multidimensional, African American creative who captivates a variety of audiences. Zombie Love Studios is Barnes’ publishing company, and he established Rodney Barnes Productions for film. Barnes also told The Baltimore Times about his work with HBO.
“I have an overall deal with them for three more years. It’d be five years all together,” Barnes said. “I have other shows that I have in development at HBO that haven’t been announced yet.”
Horror is Barnes favorite genre, although he described it as “one that was the hardest to break through in.” Barnes recently finished a monster movie for a production company called New Regency. Other horror projects are in development, including a graphic novel co-created with Snoop Dogg called “Tales From The Crip.”
But Barnes has even kept a hometown flavor in the mix. Crownsville—the old state mental hospital— is on Barnes’ forthcoming project list. The graphic novel, which is a ghost story set outside of Annapolis, blends fact with fiction.
Annapolis is officially recognizing Barnes for his career accomplishments. On Friday, June 24, 2022, the author and producer will be presented with a key to the City of Annapolis, in collaboration with Maryland Hall, from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. The free event will be held at 801 Chase Street in Annapolis, Md. A special screening of HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty will be held, in addition to a Q & A with Barnes, hosted by William Rowel.
“We are so pleased to be honoring Rodney Barnes with a key to the City. He grew up in Eastport and attended local schools, went to Howard and then out west to follow his dreams. Even though he is a successful writer, producer, graphic novel author, and more – his success hasn’t kept him from remembering where he came from,” Mayor Gavin Buckley said in a statement to The Baltimore Times.
Barnes remarked that the acknowledgement is truly an honor.
“I doubt that my grandparents, and the people who knew me growing up, would ever have thought that I would have gotten a key to the City. I certainly didn’t think it, and I do take into consideration that 200 years ago, just because of the mass of what was happening in the world, this would be unheard of. So, it’s an amazing honor,” Barnes said. “I’m really, really appreciative, and I hope it’s the beginning of building an even more substantive relationship with the City, both in civic activity, and business in general.”
On June 25, a comic book signing will be held for Barnes at Third Eye Comics, located at 209 Chinquapin Round Rd, Suite 200, from 11a.m.-1 p.m. Please visit https://www.annapolis.gov/Calendar.aspx?EID=8651 to obtain a ticket and register for Key to the City Presentation.