I’ve had the privilege of experiencing Tyler Perry’s work directly, on a couple of different levels. As a talent agent, I have provided talent for his projects, and as an on camera actor, I’ve worked with him directly and participated in his creative process.
While much is said and many opinions had about the merit, value, and values of his work…I can really only speak to my personal experiences, to what he’s done for the film and television industry in Georgia, and what he has provided for me, creatively.
The accompanying clip features a rehearsal of Meet the Browns. I’ve literally been there, and while the clip seems chaotic and frantic, I can tell you that being involved in a Tyler Perry production is anything but. It’s organized, streamlined, and systematic.
Some say it’s a factory, and I’d say yes…in the way that the early studios, the pioneer filmmakers, were factories. So it’s an old school studio ‘factory system’. Does this mean they turn out ‘drivel’? Isn’t that always a subjective question? Ask Mr. Perry’s millions and millions of fans.
Working with him over a span of time, I feel that the caliber of his productions continually improves. That the product, in my estimation, improved as he learned, honed, and defined his craft in film and television production.
As someone in the business of Entertainment, I can tell you that Tyler Perry was a pioneer in Georgia. He opened his studio before the introduction of the tax incentive that brought the current avalanche of business, and created a precedent for local studio development. Tyler Perry was an early contributor to what has now become known as “Hollywood South”.
The business that he has provided to local economies, the work he has provided actors who would probably never have had the chance to step foot on a sitcom stage and be featured nationally is significant.
Is Tyler Perry guarded, or just practical? How important is the approval of his peers? Has part of his mystique become the fact that he is an outsider? Is a content provider for Oprah’s network really an outsider? Is Tyler Perry a factory churning out product for the sake of product, or is he a man, and now an entity, truly growing as a creative artist who has something to say and is fortunate enough to have a platform to say it?