c21tv, Episode 8: Taye Diggs Survived with Maren


c21tv episode eight – Maren Wilburn

The Writer

Maren: Music – I got started really really early with writing. As a little kid I would just make up songs in my head but I never took it seriously until a couple of years ago I realized ooo I really like what I’m writing and it just doesn’t feel right keeping this in my head or on this piece of paper so I decided, you know what, I’m going to share this with the world. I’m going to take it more seriously and keep writing more and more songs.

With screenplays, I got started – I would say in high school. I was in the creative writing class at Whitney Young – go Dolphins – and my creative writing teacher, he really praised a story I did and at the time I thought, ok it’s just an assignment for class. It doesn’t really mean anything. But his affirmation that it was a good story after I made a little booklet for it and everything – I really needed that and that’s what got me started writing screenplays.

The Career

I did not always know that I wanted to go into PR. My first career choice was to be someone on a CSI team. Crime scene investigator. I used to watch CSI Las Vegas all the time and I loved it. I thought that I could be an FBI agent even. Then it went from that to chef. Then it went from that to magazine editor. Got to college, realized I love editing but a magazine, not so much. Then I figured, ok I’ll stay a journalism major but I’ll try broadcast. Tried broadcast. Realized I would hate the newsroom so that didn’t work either. Then I had a summer internship at the Rainbow Push Coalition which is in my hometown of Chicago, and that internship that summer we just did a lot of event work. A lot of media relations and I realized I like talking to people. I like networking. If I could do that for a living that would be awesome. And then I was like – I think that’s what PR is – and I’ve been in PR ever since.

The Community

My favorite part about working at c21 is just the sense of community. As a freelancer it can get really lonely and working from home was getting really lonely after a while, especially during the pandemic. So just to have people to bounce ideas off of, or to get that extra assurance that I’m doing something right, or that someone else besides the client likes my work, it means the world. So I love that about working here.

The Thrill

This question is so hard every time. My favorite scary movie I guess would have to be – just the only movie that I think scares me the most – which is the 1999 version of House on Haunted Hill with Chris Kattan and Taye Diggs. I love that movie. That movie was awesome from the ensemble cast to the writing, to the scares. It did its job then and still does its job now. I’m still terrified to this day. Plus, spoiler alert, Taye Diggs survives so I love that.

The Publisher

I realized I wanted to get a publishing certificate once I realized that I really wanted to do something with my love of reading. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little girl. I love Harry Potter. Those giant books, I would take in one night and just read the whole thing and then start again the next day. And I realized I really wanted to get people their voices heard – especially young black authors. I know as a writer myself now, how important it is to have that story – just that one piece you’ve been working on and you’ve put your heart and soul into it, and to not get out into the world because you don’t even know where to start. I know how painful that can be so I want to be the person that can help those people get their voices heard.


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