Monday, March 27, 2006

The Secret To Success.

Got your attention with that title, didn't I?

Welcome to Hollywood.

You know by now that everyonce and awhile I like to talk about the state of Hollywood, media in general. But first, let me give you an update on our current projects..

Its been a crazy last few days. INSIDE MAN opened this past week, and it made good money. I predicted the range it would make at the box-office and I was correct. I optioned (acquired the rights to make it into a movie) the book “MONKOLOGY” by Gary Philips several weeks ago, and now just fine-tuning the deal. It’s a great series. I’m going to workn on fining the screenplay adaptation of Tope Oluwole’s book, B.E.A.N. POLICE its a book that has technology and a good story rolled into one. It’s a great book, which I’m confident would make a good series…

The deal to option another book was dead in the water, at least it was until last week. We sent our first propels back in November of 2005 and we sent the proposal again and heard nothing. Recently the publisher of the book contacted me and I sent him another proposal which he will present to the writer. We’ll see where it goes. It’s a great project, a powerful story. Angela Basset would be good for it, Kimberly Elise would be good for it. But I would really like to use an unknown actress, I’d like to give someone the break that they’ve been working hard to get in this business. Once the book deal is closed, I’ll tell you the name of the project.

I don’t like dealing with third party members. It like negotiating sex with your wife/husband through one of their friends. Then again, the way Hollywood is, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. People can be freaky you know.

If you wrote the project I want to talk to you, and you, if you want to do the project, tell your representatives that you want to do it and to make the deal happen. Too many people in this business want an agent or manager just so they can say, “talk to my representation.”

Its like you see one of our casting notice, the role matches your qualifications. So you put your headshot into an envelope, walk to the post office, buy a stamp, place the stamp on the envelope and mail it to our Casting Director.

We receive the envelope, we open it, pull out you headshot and on the back we see a note that says, “I’m applying for the role of Susan. Please call my agent/manager.”

Call her agent?

Why do you want us to call your agent? Your agent/manager didn’t submit you. Your agent didn’t walk to the post office. Your agent (if they saw the role listed) didn't think that you weren’t good enough for the role (or thatthey weren't paying enough). You do all the work and you want us to call your agent /manager so that they can get 15% of the money we pay you for work that they didn’t get for you? That is crazy. I wouldn’t. I understand why agent/manager are needed, but they need to earn their percentage. Don't allow your agent or manager to sit in the big house overseeing the plantation doing nothing while you sweat to death in the field picking cotton and grapes.

A friend in Florida described to me the scenario of the moment on Ophra’s show the day after the Oscars when she was interviewing Morgan Freeman. They were soon joined by, Terrence Howard, Don Cheadle, Denzal Washington, Will Smith, and Jamie Fox , all wanting to show appreciation to Morgan freeman. I said to my friend to imagine this picture; George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Francis Copolla, James Cameron, and David Geffen sitting together on the otherside of the red carpet.

Which group would you want to be a part of? Lets put it like this; which group has the Oscars real power, and a Billionaire and which group has the Oscars adn perceived power? That’s the power balance in Hollywood, and its something we can change if we pool our resources.

When told of the Morgan Freeman gathering, my first words were, “They won’t work together.” And that’s the microcosm of Hollywood.

Its not a “black thing” either. Its not like Jennifer Lopez has been (currently lobbying to work with Eva Longoria for a project aside) galvanizing the Latino talent pool either. Its funny that the only time Jennifer Lopez got the chance to play a Latino since SELENA, is when she played a maid in MAID IN MANHATTAN.

Imagine if you will if Morgan Freeman’s crew decided to pool their resources like George Lucas and his friends do, and produce serious work?

Imagine if Morgan’s crew decided to support Tim Reid’s New Millennium Studios by filming parts if not all of their movies there. Tim Reid has been having a hard time getting people to film as his studio. Tim Reid owns a studio lot, c’mon now.

Imagine if Morgan’s crew decided to release their film for a one week run at the Chicago-based, black-owned movie theater chain owned and run by a black couple?

Won’t happen anytime soon. There’s a few reasons, a few theories, but I would say its this: too many people have the “look for work” and not enough of the “create the work” mentality…

Which leads me to another part about Hollywood. Its run by fear. Why do you think all these acting classes and “How to break into Hollywood” classes take place so often? Because everyone is willing (if not desperate) to pay money to hear words that are already here for free on an everyday basis. They are looking for that secret to make it in this business, to strike it rich. They’ll pay $200.00 to sit in a room with 300 other people who are there to find out “the secret”.

Well shoot, I’ll tell you what the secret is and it won’t cost you a thing. Next time its going to cost you. Okay, are you ready? This is the secret to being successful in the entertainment industry: there is no secret.

You need to work smart, work with commitment, work with a vision, work with desire, and work with respect, and work for no money to make your dreams come true in whatever field you operate in.

There. How much did it cost you in money? That’s what you hear everyday. Why are you going to pay $200 dollars to hear that? You lost $200.00 to hear something that you hear for free? You can find the advice your looking for on the Internet. Why are you paying all that money?!?!?!?

Okay, let me calm down. Breathe, breathe.

Now the next time a “talent agent” from “John Robert Powers” “Casablanca Models” walks up to you in a parking lot and says, “For x amount of dollars”…I want you to remember this equation:

Looking for Work” mentality = $200.00 taken out of your pocket to attend "Secrets to break into Hollywood" conference..

Creating Your Own Work” mentality = $60,000.00 put into the pocket of the person that you and 300 other people paid to hear someone tell you the secret of breaking into the entertainment industry.

You are now $200 short on your rent. The producer just paid his $1000.00 monthly home mortgage for the next five years.

Get the picture? Which mentality do you have? I'm gone, Said


Anonymous Al'maz said...

U R so correct...I am an actor who has been running from one talk to another..although I won't pay the series money!! And Vin Diesel said it best, "Why R U waiting for someone to hand you the job...U need to be doing your own work!

4/24/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger labona said...

Dear Mr. Dibinga,

I am a friend of Tim Reid's. I do understand the general concept of your analysis as to the need of Black folks working together. However, I do take issue with your assertion that the reason why it " Won't happen anytime soon."... is because " too many people have the “look for work” and not enough of the “create the work” mentality…"

Tim Reid is an honorable and well-respected actor who has worked in Hollywood for over 30 years.

The reason why Mr. Reid built his own studio is precisely to "create work". This is the mission of New Millennium Studios. Of all people, Tim Reid went beyond your message of 'create the work'. He actually executed the mission by building a true movie studio for $6 Million so he can create his own independent work. I believe credit is due here.

The problem with Hollywood is that there are too many 'imposters', pretending to be rich and don’t need work, while in reality, they're dying to find their next film.

Tim Reid has done well for himself. Unlike most actors looking for work, he owns a movie studio and creates work for himself and his company.

If you are sincere about your message of working together, I look forward to seeing you at New Millennium Studios, shooting “MONKOLOGY” and “B.E.A.N. POLICE”.

7/26/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tope Oluwole said...

Hey Said,

Great stuff as usual. Especially the graphs on Black and brown Hollywood needing to work together, and on "Creating Your Own Work."

Timed out trying to view your current Blog on myspace, but that's probably just network traffic.

Stay cool.


8/28/2006 11:26:00 AM  

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