Hollywood writer not ‘Insecure’ about getting his start in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ben Cory Jones is making moves in Hollywood. He's a young man from Memphis, graduate of a Shelby County High School and writing for one of the hottest cable shows out there.

Jones is doing things any seasoned writer would dream of doing. He got his start right here in Memphis and he hasn’t forgotten that.

“I would take my personal laptop to the bank and work and I would go into the bathroom stall and literally write my scripts on my lunch break,” said Jones.

Jones traded a six-figure salary and working on Wall Street for a network television internship in Los Angeles, a hope and a dream. The 34-year-old Memphis native says it’s the best decision he’s ever made.

“I’ve been in L.A. about 10 years now and there’s a funny saying that it takes about 10 years to be an overnight success,” he said.

Jones’ credits include writing for the WGN show "Underground," a story about slavery written for a modern-day audience. Currently, he’s a writer for the HBO series "Insecure." It’s a TV show about the ups and downs of two black women who are best friends. The series just renewed for a third season.

WREG asked him about writing for a show dealing with everything from explicit topics to racial issues.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be squeaky clean positive images. They just have to be real images and I take that responsibility very seriously because we’re on a mission to enhance our lives and enhance the world,” Jones said.

Jones recently added producing to his credits. The Netflix movie "Step-Sisters" started airing in January. The story line is about two sororities, one predominately black and one predominately white.

Jones said, “Our movie is a fun dance comedy, but it also has a very poignant message about sisterhood, about brotherhood about cultural difference and how we can sort of bridge those gaps.”

Jones got the writing bug while a student at Central High School. He wrote for a teen newspaper in the city. It was a teacher who encouraged him to keep writing after graduation. Now, Jones hopes to inspire others in his hometown.

“A lot of the work I do is identifying a lot of young writers who have a story to tell. The fact that I’ve been in L.A. and I have certain relationships, I can sort of help usher in other products by producing them,” said Jones.

One project he’s currently working on would be produced and shot here in the Bluff City.

“I have a TV show called 'Candy.' It’s a one hour show in development at Bravo and it’s basically about a black female mayor set here in my hometown of Memphis, “he said.

Jones says it’s no secret he’s trying to make his way back to Memphis.

“Part of me doing that is to have a production that’s set here in Memphis. That’s filmed here in Memphis. Have a crew that’s here in Memphis. I can hire local Memphis actors, get writers here in Memphis,” said Jones.