The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, February 21, 2005

Notes from a filmmaker

Just got back from the Arizona Black Film Showcase, held in Phoenix.  Tananarive and I were presenting a workshop on Hollywood, and an award for best Short film.  Great fun, nice people.  Also saw some of my relatives while I was there--that was great, for different reasons.
One of the best things that happened there was the ability to meet and speak with Reginald Hudlin, the director of "House Party" and one of Eddie Murphy's best films, "Boomerang."  Boomerang, which 100% meets my requirements for the "black leading man" films we've been talking about ("Hitch" only gets 80% there...but close enough), was probably the last gasp of Eddie's career, the last time we saw, or will see, the dangerous, sexy, sleek, predator we fell in love with.  Sigh.  That's another column.  What was great, however, was a talk that Hudlin gave about working in the industry, and his three principles for success;
1) Don't Suck.   In other words, become excellent in your craft.  This is vital, because if you keep knocking on doors, eventually, you will get the chance to show  your stuff.  When this happens, you'd better have done your homework!
2)  Pick up the Twenty.  The story is this: there are some people so focused on the hundred dollar bill across the street that they don't notice the twenty laying at their feet.  Opportunities are all around you.  Sometimes they don't look like that Grand Slam you dream of, but bunting gets the bases loaded, guys. 
3)  Trouble is opportunity in work clothes.  My 1st wife's brother, Patric, is one of the world's great guys.  His response to trouble is:  "Thank you, God, for another opportunity to find out who I am."  With an attitude like that, you cannot fail in life!