Oliver W. Ottley III

Name: Oliver W. Ottley III

Moved from: Los Angeles, California

How long in Charlotte: 7 months

Occupation: Filmmaker/Writer/Photographer

Hobbies: Being an artist, spending time with family, watching sports.

Oliver W. Ottley III
Oliver W. Ottley III

What brought you here? My fiancé went to the Art Institute of Charlotte, and it’s been a dream of hers to move back. As for me, I’ve always liked North Carolina, even though I’d only passed through Charlotte as a kid on my way to Raleigh once, and Durham another time. Still, the energy and the abundance of beautiful land in both of those cities left a lasting impression on me, and I always told myself that if I ever had the chance, I would retire here (North Carolina). So when the idea came up while we were making our list, it just felt like destiny.

What do you like best about Charlotte? I LOVE the fact that we live in a big city that functions so rurally. Unlike Atlanta, which was number two on our list, aside from the traffic, Charlotte doesn’t feel like a congested collection of restless people living on top of one another. Atlanta never really quiets down; it feels like a constant head rush. Charlotte, on the other hand, is just as vibrant, but it feels more like easy living. And being that I work in the Hollywood system, more chaos is the last thing I wanted when I fly home. In addition, I sense that the possibilities for building a successful business here were limitless. The untapped potential was definitely a bonus for me. Seeing as how Charlotte lost its film and television tax incentive program a few years back, I liked the idea of joining the fight to get it reestablished and being a part of that growth.

What do you like least about Charlotte? What’s not to love, really? I was in L.A. working at the time of the Keith Lamont Scott killing, so the protesting did send a wave of unsettlement over me out of concern for the community and my family. And I wasn’t particularly fond of the bad light the state was casted in due to voter-suppression efforts during the election. I remember thinking how much it sucked, especially since we were so stoked to be here. So, if I had to point out anything, it would be those two instances. So far.

How do you hope to get involved in the community? I would love to be a mentor to kids who come from the same tough situations I did. Life has taught me a lot — one thing being that it costs you nothing to help someone get a leg up in life simply by sharing the information you’ve been fortunate enough to receive. The work is up to them of course, but to have access to information is invaluable. That’s where it all starts for me. My mother always told me I had a presidential-sounding name, and had I known then half of what I know now, I believe I could’ve made that statement a reality. The promotion of literacy and academics the same way we praise our athletes, economic sustainability, and community communication are all passions I hope to fulfill in my new backyard.

What’s been your most memorable moment since moving here? I think the most memorable moment for me is how getting here took shape. After deciding to jump in head first, we traveled to Charlotte determined to secure housing in a weekend. It sounds silly now, but then, we were excited to be opening a new chapter in our lives. We soon learned the consequences of failing to plan. After a carefully crafted list consisting of our fifteen Zillow dream properties were shredded within the hour, we begin to feel overwhelmed and defeated. But we were determined. So after some thought and by the grace of God, I remembered that my longtime family friend, Brian Calvin, lives here. Though we had not spoken in years, I gave him a call. It turns out Brian is a realtor. Not only did he help us get a fantastic house in a fantastic era, he did it all in less than half an hour after I made the call. True story. So not only did we accomplish our goal of getting a house in a weekend, we exceeded our expectations and did it all in a day.

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