I'm An Actress: Burn Hollywood Burn?

There’s a revolution going on in film. A mass exodus from

Hollywood of sorts, a movement that’s catching on like wildfire. I, for one, am

grateful for it.

Tyler Perry, Ice Cube, Kadeem Hardison, Malik Yoba, and most

recently, the lovely Meagan Good are all actors and entertainers who are taking

charge behind the scenes, building opportunities for themselves and others

(like me!).

By becoming producers of their own film products, they are

becoming creators of quality roles that are currently far too lacking for

minorities in mainstream Hollywood.

This concept is not new. Spike Lee and others began the

movement long ago, determined to depict us as more than just the stereotypical

comedic homeboy, neck rolling around-the-way girl, angry victims of society, or

associates pitted against each-other hyper-sexed gender wars.

We’ve also long been aware that of the 80 years of Academy

Awards ceremonies, 80 opportunities for actors and actresses to vie for the

distinction of being the best in a leading role – well really 160 opportunities

since the actor and actress categories are split - that African-Americans have

only collectively gone home with 5 of those in total. Five. Yeah, that’s old news.

In fact, many have come forward in the past 80 years

determined to “do something about it.” But to create a quality film, with

cinematography and effects fit for a silver screen or DVD

release, one needed monumental financial backing and an inside track into

Hollywood’s technological resources.

This usually meant you got one shot, and one shot only, to

make an impact. Maybe two, if your “inside track” really liked you, and your

first shot made that certain someone sitting in a plush Burbank office some major cash.

Not anymore.

What’s different about today is that, much like the advent

of home music production in the last decade, the availability of technology

that has until recently only been available to Hollywood studios has also

become obtainable by the average consumer. Everything has gone digital, and

therefore, has enabled new and affordable distribution options for the

independent filmmaker, just as it has for independent musicians.

If you can refinance your home and access its equity,

chances are you can obtain the resources needed to make a quality film product,

and get it to a wide enough audience to make some noise. A little over-simplified,

but essentially, if you can get your hands on some quality talent, paired with

a quality script, rent an HD camera and some lights, and get a copy of final

cut pro, you’ve got your movie.

You no longer need a budget of tens of millions for a

production. Hustle and Flow, Napoleon Dynamite and Open Water were all made for under a

couple million, but made exponential profits in return. And the reality is,

while many still frown upon the straight-to-DVD

market, that’s where the bulk of the money is made in film, even in Hollywood.

Of the thousands of films created every year, only a handful

ever see the silver screen, yet there are thousands of independent filmmakers

that are making comfortable livings off of DVD

sales alone. Even after a film goes to theatrical release, major studios depend

on the after-market DVD sales to

boost profits.

What’s even more exciting is that filmmakers like Tyler

Perry and Will Packer of Rainforest have taken their successes into the next

realm by building their own studios. Rainforest Studios and Tyler Perry

Studios, both located in Atlanta, are now forces to reckoned with; and trust

that Paramount, Warner Brothers, and the like are taking note, as the actors

are following. Why do you think I

relocated to the “A”? *wink*

So here’s to all my independent filmmakers. Keep doing what

you do. Actors like myself are counting on you. And the good news is that

there’s still plenty of room in the market. We need quality content.

If you have the passion to create and the desire to make an

impact on an industry that has both the power to heal and entertain, go pick up a camera, give me a call, and let’s make

some money.

Love, Hip-Hop and Film,

Noree Victoria

Visit Noree anytime at