NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Sheldon Epps is of the most influential African American theatre leaders of all time, a prolific television director and now an author.

He joined News 8 on Tuesday to discuss his transition from director to author and share the details of his new memoir “My Own Directions.”

Epps started his first professional production at eight years old at Pasadena Playhouse with the great Ethel Waters. He went on to study at Carnegie Mellon University before moving into his preferred profession as a director.

Epps said the path for anyone in the entertainment field is difficult, but as a man of color, he faced greater challenges in the industry.

“I think the path for anybody in the entertainment field is difficult, but there were other greater challenges for me as a person of color, with aspirations and big dreams and wanting to be the leader of the theatre. So a lot of it was about tenacity, about courage, about ambition, and I guess a little bit of arrogance that kept me going. When people said you can’t do that, you can only go so far because you’re a black man, I said, well I think I’m going to go a little further and I’m going to prove to you that I can,” Epps said.

Epps went on to work on several television shows including “Friends,” “Girlfriends,” “Fraiser” and “George Lopez.” Epps also had the chance to direct several musicals on Broadway.

Epps hopes that his book will inspire readers to find their own directions.

“I hope it will be both inspirational and supportive and encourage people to not follow my directions, but find your own directions. Have your own big dreams know what you want, don’t be afraid to be courageous and ambitious. Know that with passion and tenacity and belief and maybe a little of that arrogance that I spoke about..your dreams can come true, as they did for me,” Epps said.

To learn more watch the full interview!