Say Nothin' But a Word

Say Nothin’ But a Word is set in an urban community in 1986. Jeremih Simmon, a deaf painter, and his best friend Denzel Onai, a slam poet, attend a nightclub that is showcasing and celebrating their artwork. The vibrant club known as Outta Sight is the hottest place to be on a Friday night. Communicating in Black American Sign Language, the two artists observe Jeremih’s new award-winning painting before Denzel performs a slam poem that gets the attendees buzzing.

As the night comes to an end, the artists are stopped by patrolling cops while walking through the nightclub’s parking lot. The two policemen, Officer Henderson and Officer Moore, accuse them of stealing their own car. As Officer Henderson leaves to check their registration, Officer Moore takes advantage of the opportunity to frisk and destroy their belongings, including a personal sketchbook filled with Jeremih's intimate artwork. A physical altercation erupts between the three men. The tussle is brought to a halt when Officer Henderson returns to inform his partner that their registration is clean and the artists’ are indeed innocent.

Beat up and exhausted after the altercation, the two artists reflect on the night at their favorite diner. Jeremih gets a burst of inspiration and begins to sketch on a napkin. We catch a glimpse of what the future holds for Jeremih as he has now found his true voice as an artist.

  • Chantay Taylor
  • Chantay Taylor
  • Jessica Calvin
  • Isaiah Moore
    Key Cast
    "Jeremih Simmons"
  • Casemi Childress
    Key Cast
    "Denzel Onai"
  • Savannah Johnson
    Production Designer
  • Tava Kessler
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 6, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    7,027 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    American Sign Language
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - San Diego State University
  • The Emerging Filmmakers Showcase
    San Diego, CA
    United States
    December 15, 2022
    Best Screenplay
  • The Emerging Filmmakers Showcase
    San Diego
    United States
    December 15, 2022
    Best Production Design
Director Biography - Chantay Taylor

Chantay Taylor is an independent filmmaker, writer, and freelance editor. Born in San Diego, CA, and raised in Kanagawa, Japan, she has a diverse outlook on life and when it comes to visual storytelling. With a strong affinity for films since she was child, she strives to continue her passion for crafting stories that are character-driven, emotionally complex, and socially thought-provoking.

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Director Statement

Back in 2020, I wrote this screenplay to pay homage to Black American Sign Language, it’s beautiful culture and unique history, whilst shedding light on an ASL dialect not many people are familiar with. Say Nothin' But a Word aims to rewrite the narrative of how black men are seen in history (and on-screen) and illustrate how there is more than what meets the eye when it comes to a diverse community and their art.