Monday, April 20, 2009


This week’s Business Question is part 2 of the answer to Marcus Bailey’s question about black novels and film. And the question read:

I have read several of your books and loved them. And I realize that you have 18 books total. I have also read several other African-American authors, including Eric Jerome Dickey, Sister Souljah, Carl Weber, Noire, and many others. But how come you all have not had movie deal developments like white American authors and their books?

Omar Tyree Answers:

Okay, enough already about the difficulties of black book authors attempting to break into the feature film game. Someone may begin to think that there is no need in even trying if all of the odds are that stacked against us. So, for this week, what I would like to do is pick back up on the very timely question concerning the production of African-American books into film by creating a doable game plan from which to execute.

#1) UNDERSTAND THE TYLER PERRY MODEL of filmmaking. Instead of running out to Hollywood with a book or a script, black authors must find ways to secure financial backers FIRST. So I have now developed a full business package and presentation to explain the execution of the African-American film industry. It is a very exclusive industry of only a dozen or so shot-callers who can get films made. So, whenever you have an industry that is THAT SMALL there is always a tremendous upside for gain. That’s Business 101, the smaller the competition in the market, the larger the opportunity for exclusive success. Investors must be lead to understand that.

#2) You must map out a PLAN FOR LONGEVITY. One of the many mistakes that I see aspiring filmmakers make is planning to produce 1 big film for success, without having any idea about the development of the next project to maintain your business as a filmmaker! Each film is a struggle to make, so you must create your own model of longevity before you even produce the first film, that way you can maintain within the industry. However, some authors and writers do not have enough film content, or their next project conceived or thought out, where Tyler Perry and several authors like myself already have a built-in slate of product from which to keep the Business going. So, as I have always advised other authors, keep creating your product regardless.

#3) STAY ACTIVE IN THE GAME. Now, I have not been running around out in Hollywood, California myself, but my partner Arthur Wylie has, and he continues to keep our business endeavors hot. So I would advise other authors and writers to link up with folks who can continue to talk to the Hollywood players about your projects while you continue to work on new creativity. None of us can do it all, so we need to find partner’s who are willing to do their share of the workload.

#4) PRAY FOR SUCCESS! The reality is, for those who are fortunate enough to be able to break into the film game, it is indeed a BLESSING! So, if you ever have a chance to acquire that blessing, make sure that you appreciate it and take full advantage of every moment, every dollar, every interview, and every ounce of national popularity that the opportunity affords you. And trust me, after more than a decade now of flying back and forth to LAX airport, and driving around California to meet and greet and speak to the Hollywood players, who I still have not moved any project forward with, I know full well how much of a blessing it will be to finally break my way in. But that blessing won’t come without the execution. Business investors rarely give money away for filmmaking. So it all has to be TIGHT! And that’s what we are presently working to create, a tight package that cannot be refused.

And The Equation for this week becomes a wing and prayer to entice the right Purple Business People to the table to write the checks that will launch the next African-American film brand into Business. That, my friends, remains the task for ALL OF US WRITERS! The film projects will not happen any other way.

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