At the shoot for our film BADFELLAZ, yesterday, our good friend Martial arts legend Louis Banks said that it seemed the people who had “issues” working with me on MY PREVIOUS film sets were people who just didn’t listen. I had to agree with him. Yes, listening works. Instead of coming to my set and telling me how you “See it” playing out, how about helping me, by realizing that it is my vision and you can’t see it.
Oh, it has been a glorious 40 years filled with “film experts” who said I didn’t know how to do a fight scene. Said I had no idea how to write a script. Said I didn’t understand cameras. Said my concepts for promoting MY films were off base. Said I didn’t give them enough dialog or action. Said Black films do not sell. Said I make people work for free. Said I stole their idea. Said they shouldn’t have to wait around to shoot their scene because they had shit to do. Said they thought joining a bowling league was more important than working on my film. Said they were not coming to the shoot, because they had to get ready to go to Hollywood and work on a real film. Said I should read some books on filmmaking and maybe I’d do better next time. Said I should never act in my films again. Said they were and because that other “girl” was getting more lines than she was. Said I promised them rental fees for the cars and homes the offered to us for free. Said I purposely posted unflattering pictures of them to ruin their non-existent career. Said I’d never make that one film that I eventually made–and the other 30 that I eventually made too. Said they’d never work with me again.
People do a lot of talking. Very little listening.
There is a reason I am directing. And acting. And shooting. And editing. I don’t have time to rehash my education, experience and IMDB credits every freaking time I meet someone. At some point, the Producer/ Director / Writer thing has to register in the minds of people who come to your set. Are you listening?
New on set? Listen, take cues and do your thing. Listening will also help you determine if indeed, the guy running things has no clue what he’s doing. But allow me to say this:
I ain’t that guy.
To be honest, most people who no longer work with me or have issues with me simply did not listen, and they thought I didn’t know what I was doing. Everyone has an opinion. On my set, one opinion counts.