Veteran. Author. Philanthropist. Youth Advocate and so much more talks to HPS about his life and mindset that helps him create the things that others love to be apart of.
You have a lot of titles behind your name. Author, Executive Producer, on the Board of Directors, Husband. How do you find the time to give everything you’re passionate about the right amount of passion it deserves?
Carlos: The short answer is I am a Union Organizer by trade. Most of my adult career has been dedicated to literally organizing the lives of people who count on me to work in their best interests and make sure they are afforded fair and equitable treatment as mandated by labor laws and informed by my best judgement. Whether professionally or personally, I apply the skills I’ve learned to help keep people’s lives (and yes that includes my own) in order. Honestly, I have been this way since I was a kid. Some people joke I am borderline OCD! Everything always had to have its place, every activity perfectly planned. I still balance my checkbooks and keep a daily calendar with reminders so I can make every moment of the day count. If it aligns with my principles and my values, I don’t consider it work; it’s part of my life.
When you can manage your time, and block out unnecessary distractions and mute the “noise” that tends to send you into a state of confusion and disarray, you are better able to give the people, work, and activities the enthusiasm they deserve, to make it every moment of the day count, and to dedicate the time and effort each person deserves. This commitment drives me in ways I can’t really explain, but I can say, given my personality (things need to make sense, or I seriously cannot function) if something does not fit these criteria, I do not take it on.
My toughest but most enjoyable commitment is husband, for a few reasons. I enjoy being a provider, a protector, a friend, and a partner. I love making my wife happy (that is a given) but I derive the greatest satisfaction in being a driving force in her life. Now, she is a huge success in her own right. Smart, ambitious, loving, kind, and an amazing mother. These are some of the other reasons my role of husband is so rewarding. I have met my match (but in a good way). I can be organized, busy, a mentor, executive producer, author, father, mentor, and friend because she is the foundation upon which I can build my life without any fear. Ultimately, she fuels my passion for everything.
Let’s first talk about the author. What books have you written? Do you find yourself going back to read any of them and how often?
Carlos: Of course, quite often. My books are both bestsellers (Thanks to major support) and have been incorporated into the academic curriculums of schools in several cities including Houston’s Lone Star College. I launched a mentorship project with York College in Queens, New York; a plan that used the message in “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are” as its core to encourage young men to never give up.
My wife and I recently produced an award-winning show based on my second book called, “The Other 99 T.Y.M.E.S: Count Your Blessings.” Streaming on Amazon Prime. Season three of the program is in the works. We are very proud of this show and the message: Stop focusing on the one-time things go wrong in your life and appreciate the 99 times it works in your favor.
Can you give more info about More Too Life, Inc?
Carlos: More Too Life, Inc. where I sit on the Board of Directors, was established in 2006. It is also an Open Doors Outreach Network Provider offering programs and resources that educate and empower survivors of human trafficking to become champions along with at-risk youth, community and offenders while contributing of the reduction of the demand for human trafficking with innovative prevention methods.
The More Too Life Foundation has offices in Miami, Sarasota, Hillsborough and St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida in partnership with Glory House of Miami, Children’s Home Network of Tampa, and the Florida Dream Center of St. Petersburg.
My involvement with the organization led me to “VR-Eval”. The groundbreaking technology that revolutionizes the way victims are identified and cared for so they can effectively rejoin society. The virtual lifeline uses a process idea created by Dr. Brook Parker-Bello of More Too Life and the perfect software of Doghead Simulations’ rumii app (a social-virtual reality space), which we now will utilize to link victims and their case managers from anywhere in the world through personal avatars. The process tackles the devastating effects of child enslavement or other trauma with a proven high-tech tool and uses information gathered from first-hand accounts to catch predators and identify victims. The initiative came to life thanks to the brilliant partnership that includes myself, Dr. Brook Parker Bello, and Chance Glasco, co-creator of “Call of Duty” video-game franchise and co-founder of Doghead Simulations, the technical and creative assistance from Full Sail University.
Dr. Bello says the technology is the key to finding more effective ways to combat the effects of sex trafficking and other trauma kids face. She adds, “We must mitigate challenges that can be bridged in today’s digital world in order to provide children and young adults with the best care and innovative opportunities to assist them with the profound trauma they’ve experienced.”
How long have you been a contributor to Goodreads and what was it that got you involved in the beginning?
Carlos: I joined Goodreads when I published “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are.” This actually goes back to the question about how I am able to balance the many roles I play in life. As an author I understood the importance of making my work available to the masses if I wanted to get my book notices and my message across. Some authors think you simply have to publish the book, promote it for a while, and tell a few friends to purchase a copy in order for the work to be successful. There are so many pieces to this process, and making my words relevant, impactful, inspirational, and most importantly available and accessible is extremely important. Goodreads helps make that possible. I know this because I receive countless messages from strangers (not necessarily people that read Life) who write to thank me for the encouraging words they discovered on my Goodreads author page; words they say changed the course of their day or improved their life in some way.
I can’t think of a better example of how valuable this resource it.
What is something that you feel people often have a misconception about you? And why do you think that is?
Carlos: Most people think I am all business. Many believe I am unapproachable. It’s difficult to form that impression because I do not play about my work. There is a time and place for everything. If we are talking about work, I am all about work. However, I love to have fun. People (who take the time to get to know me) often say they did not know I had a sense of humor, or that I was a jokester. You’d think since I manage comedians and help some of my artists punch up their jokes, this aspect of my personality should come as no surprise. I can say, because I know she won’t mind, that I help my wife (who is also a stand-up comic in addition to her other talents) work out, conceptualize and punch up her jokes all the time. We have the same sense of humor, so that help. But where she is EXCELLENT with words and ideas, I am strong in adding layers and developing concepts.
Bottom line, I don’t like wasting time, however, when I’m with those closest to me, we always enjoy ourselves.
Now the Poet in me is Dying for you to give readers more info about the Award-Winning PENS Poetic Energy Needed in Society. What was the driving force to bring Houston’s poetry scene to film?
Carlos: The idea extends over several years. I’ve been a huge fan of the poetry community in Houston for some time. My interest was piqued after I attended some local showcases. When I began producing and promoting poetry shows, I was stunned by the incredible talent that would grace the stage monthly. I started paying close attention to the audience’s reaction, and more importantly, the fact people talked about the performances days after the event! I knew then we had something big. After about 4 years of successful spoken word shows at the Houston Improv, I wanted to take the next step…you know, keep up the momentum. For me, filming a show for television was the obvious platform to showcase the Houston poetry scene. After I spoke with Mikell, we determined that while a small screen presentation would be great, it would be too limited in scope and might not pack too much of a punch outside Houston. We put our heads together, and he broached the idea of producing a documentary. It fit. This would be the deep dive, creative, long-form film we needed to tell the story comprehensively. Not to mention, documentaries have a better chance of becoming a historical landmark when poetry is ever discussed years from now.
Not many people think about poetry and say, “Wow, yes, let’s go see a bunch of men and women spit words that rhyme in a small, dark theater!” It’s not marketed as sexy. At least it had not been for many years. That’s because the beauty, the fire, the skill, the performances, the wordplay, the lyricism was never effectively portrayed to a broad audience. People begin to love spoken word after seeing a show. To get more people to appreciate the art, we must put it on full display. The genre is not new by any stretch. And there have been a few short films made about slam poetry and spoken word over the years. But poetry is still all around us and rarely recognized—especially localized sets. We wanted to help people understand the history, the process, the talent, their motivation, and the relevance poetry holds in society, so eventually, the world can see why the genre is so special. Spoken word speaks to every aspect of the human condition. There is something for everyone. It is like visiting a library, but instead of books, the artist’s voice is the untold story.
That said, I got to work, arranging the artists. Mikell scouted locations and conducted interviews. He edited the piece, we had it mastered and engineered, and the rest, as they say, is history.
How does being a Producer in films balance out your creativity when you have other outlets like being an Author?
Carlos: Both challenge my creativity and compel me to think about issues that matter and that will bring about change.
I pursued writing and producing films for several reasons, but mostly because my circumstances demanded I do something to keep me from giving up and becoming complacent. After losing my job for three years and four days (I was eventually reinstated and worked until retirement), I was reminded nothing is promised. You change your way of thinking drastically when you become aware of how fleeting life can be. I wrote my first book because I never wanted my experiences to go to the grave with me. I believed my story could inspire and encourage and motivate. The book was not easy to write, but it is worth it. Life Is Not Complicated is exceeding my greatest expectations and has touched so many lives. The day a young student shared with me that because of my book, they changed their mind about committing suicide, was the moment I finally understood fully why I do what I do. We have a responsibility to leave this world better than we found it. This is my ongoing mission.
Presently, I am extremely excited about my collaborative film, P.E.N.S. (Poetic Energy Needed in Society), which is a documentary of Houston’s spoken word culture. This is an opportunity for Houston and its poets to shine; for the world to discover what I’ve always known-the cultural revolution in our city is well underway and we are winning on all levels!
I have always appreciated what good storytelling can do. For me (a student and big fan of hip-hop), listening to my favorite artists (Jay Z, Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy, NWA, Slim Thug, etc.) was a lesson in life. The lyrics and flow were exceptional in that they were thought-provoking and impactful; a call to action that challenged people to have a voice and call out injustice. I credit this genre for fueling a desire to share truth, information, quality entertainment. If you are not producing work (whatever the work may be) to move the needle, change the narrative, speak about social justice, and race relations, and bring out the best in people, why bother?
Whatever you do in life, make it matter. Along the way, you will discover that not everyone is on your side. Some may clap, but on the low, they are praying you fail. I learned that the journey to any goal is constant, winding, full of obstacles, costs money, time, energy, and sometimes it can cost you friends and family. If you are not ready and willing to invest in yourself, take on risk, ignore critics, experience some isolation and remain positive and dedicated through ALL that, you will fail.
Ultimately, I am my brand. Everything starts and ends with Carlos Wallace. Businesses, books, films, comedy, and poetry shows, my role as father, husband, friend, loved one… are all under one umbrella: my name. As Carlos Wallace evolves, improves, produces, and innovates, everything I come in contact will benefit. At least that is always what I pray happens. Life is unpredictable, but you can at least control how you handle the good and the bad.
What advice would you give someone who’s showing you they have potential in directing?
Carlos: Call Fetti. Lol No seriously, Mikell “Fetti” Limbrick is, bar none, the best director and filmmaker in the industry. The work that Fetti’s “iRise Filmz” did on the award-winning P.E.N.S. documentary is masterful. Fetti also possesses a level of commitment and passion for film work that underscores every project he produces. I appreciate the ability to exchange ideas and talk about relevant issues that affect our society, all while discussing ways to amplify those messages in productive ways. Everyone needs people around who encourage them to take action, think deeply, and support free, original thinking.
Whether he is editing and producing a major film, music video, original documentary, or a local PSA as part of his dedication to community service, he is all in, 100%. Fetti is being recognized by the industry, finally! The best is yet to come with this Houston native!
One way you give back is with the Alice Wallace Foundation and Scholarship that you’re the CEO and co-founder of. How did this get started and how can people learn more or contribute?
Carlos: I founded the organization in memory of his beloved mother, a respected teacher. From its inception the AWF has been dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of education, God, community service and family values. I have never wavered from these principles, and remain committed to furthering the mission that Miss Alice (As she is still affectionately known by everyone) worked tirelessly to advance.
I’m very proud of our accomplishments so far and sincerely appreciate the support the Alice Wallace Foundation receives. We are however, faced with the reality that despite our best efforts, there are far too many young men and women who are unable to afford a quality education because their families lack the funds to provide for their future. With generous contribution, we can unite to improve so many young lives. A college degree,an opportunity to earn a living and the promise of a meaningful career should be available to all children. We have an amazing opportunity to build the AWF into a powerful resource that fuels the ambition of young budding minds.
For more information please visit http://www.sol-caritas.com
With having your creativity into so many outlets, What do you do to relax?
Carlos: Music is my escape. I love old school hip hop, R&B, and other genres as well. I appreciate the history of the artists I listen to, and I spend a great deal of time watching documentaries about the music business. In fact, that is my other passion: History, documentaries, books, and movies that tell the true story of a person, era, industry, I have an interest in. I learn so I can teach, I learn so I can keep my mind active. I learn so that I can have intelligent relevant conversations. Hard to believe since this sounds so intense, but this is really how I kick back and take it easy!
What’s one project you sometimes think back on and wish you stayed involved with or wonder what happened to it since then?
Carlos: Honestly, there are no projects that fit that mold. I tend to have very few regrets and everything I have been a part of to date, whether I’ve seen it to its completion, or it is just getting started, had led me to this point of my life. I simply do not waste time and if I don’t have the interest, I won’t bother. I learn from everything and everything I learn helps me grow and evolve.
I believe God orders our path. It is not my place to question the journey. I am where I need to be at this moment in life because everything that has led me here had to happen. So, short answer, I would not change a thing.
What advice would you give someone who’s new to the Poetry world but you can see the desire to go to that mic?
Carlos: Follow your heart. Do not be swayed by the negative opinions of others. Know who you are, what you want, what you need to reach your objectives, and plan accordingly. Everything you do must matter. If your thought process, work ethic, ideals, principles, and judgment do not align with your goals, you are wasting time. You are always going to be your greatest brand ambassador. So be the image you want to convey.
Looking at every accomplishment and goals you have set for yourself, What is next on your To-Do list?
Carlos: My wife and I recently relocated back to the Houston area from New York. The pandemic really slowed us down (nearly to a halt). But we survived thank God, and I am grateful for the opportunities so many (too many) people were not afforded. Now it is time to get to work.
First, I want to safely re-establish Sol-Caritas shows at the Houston, Addison and Arlington Improvs after the long COVID-19 layoff. Second, assist my wife in establishing her business in the Texas market, ensuring she is as great a powerhouse here as she is New York.
Lastly, I am amplifying my role with VR-Eval. This activation will require extensive global travel, so I want to prepare my team to be self-sufficient and confident in times I am not directly available.
With every success there’s a team behind it. Who and WHat was the process behind the selection to each individual purpose for each person?
Carlos: Behind every man is a better woman. I mean that sincerely. It is not a catch phrase or a cliche and meaningless platitude. For me that’s definitely the truth. Liz is relentless in making sure I am always at my best. From preparing to speak in front of an audience or getting ready for an interview she makes sure I am ready. She will settle for nothing less than a polished, rested, articulate, informed, and presentation ready version of myself. I literally have to first pass her inspection before anyone else has the opportunity to critique anything I do. From using a throat coat tea, to doing vocal exercises, to making sure I am hydrated, and my bald head is not shining under hot lights in a studio, she is on me relentlessly! What more can I say? I am a blessed man.
Beyond her, I avoid mentioning names because I’m destined to forget someone. As a matter of fact, they’re adamant about me keeping them behind the scenes, and I respect that. Let’s just say, they know who they are and are okay with not seeing their names splashed across an interview, and I’d be the same way with them.
The stage is yours. Please feel free to add or say anything you would like.
Carlos: Choose your battles – small enough to win but big enough to matter.