Harlan D. Whatley received his B.A. in English from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where he wrote articles for View magazine and acted in television commercials with Orlando Jones and O'Neal Compton. He lived and worked in New York City and received his MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Recently, Whatley completed his M.A. in English from the University of Texas Permian Basin.
While in New York City, Whatley interned for Ric Burns at Steeplechase Films. Whatley directed and produced The Tartan Apple: the Scots in New York City and Nine by FIve. Whatley's journalism has been published in various print and online publications including The Spinning Image, Reel Reviews and The Epoch Times. Whatley's poetry has been published in the Taj Mahal Review , Birmingham Arts Journal , Kippis! A Literary Journal and Deep South. Currently, Whatley is writing a feature film script called The Open Boat, based on the Stephen Crane short story. Whatley has completed a TV pilot called The Basin, which won the Best Short-Format Original Screenplay at the 2020 Imaginarium Film Festival.
Whatley has taught film, media and mass communication at Hunter College/CUNY, Manhattanville College, Zhejiang University of Media & Communications (China), the American University of Ras al Khaimah (UAE) and Odessa College. From 2016 to 2019, Whatley served as the Director of the West Texas Film Festival. Currently, Whatley teaches Pre-AP English at Midland High School in Midland, Texas while studying art at Midland College.