With so much attention being paid to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the Academy Awards, Roland Martin and NewsOne Now shifted the focus of the conversation from acting nominations to a broader look at the entire movie industry.
On Friday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Martin sat down with director/producer Bill Duke, who understands not just what happens in front of the camera, but has a unique understanding of what happens behind the camera as it relates to distribution, financing, and all of the other aspects of the business side of Hollywood that make a major motion picture possible.
Martin highlighted that the problem in Tinseltown is not the final product of the movie, but the “infrastructure” and “the system.” He explained the real “fundamental problem” lies within the talent agencies, law firms, accounting firms, and studios in Hollywood.
In response to Martin’s assertion, Duke said, “If you look at it statistically, just in terms of movies that are made annually … the research says approximately 550 and 600 movies are made a year. In terms of minority themed — out of that if you’re lucky, six or seven.”
In addressing the original premise of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of nominations and awards, Duke said, “Most people if they had a choice between an Oscar and employment, I think they would take employment.”
Later Duke said, “I’m not saying the Oscars are irrelevant, because it would be good to be recognized, but you have to have a job before you get that recognition.”
When the conversation shifted to the business side of Hollywood, Duke said, “It’s called show business, it should be called business show, and the thing is, you can’t be playing checkers in a chess game.”
“And we are playing checkers in a chess game.”
He added, “We want to be in front of the camera, but the camera has changed. We’re talking about a game called Grand Theft Auto last year made $1 billion in three days.”
“My concern is our young people cannot make an informed decision if they don’t have the information to make it with,” Duke said.
In order to help young people who are interested in the business of Hollywood, Duke has created a media foundation that focuses on teens from the ages of fourteen to eighteen.
The Duke Media Foundation prepares “our youth for the future by exposing them to specific new media tools and financial literacy tools that will enable them to compete, survive and thrive.”
Duke explained that his foundation teaches young people about “the paradigm shift from film and TV to media, cell phone apps, games, virtual reality, etcetera. Not only in front, but all those jobs of coding and art, etcetera. “
He expounded on purpose, saying the organization also teaches youth financial literacy because, “We are taught how to spend money, but now how to use it.”
Part of the curriculum properly defines debt, credit, the FDIC, the federal reserve, stock market, what is credit, and what is compound interest.
Duke expressed this is vital “so that when they get the money, they don’t just spend it, they use it so that they are able to stay in business longer.”
Duke’s foundation is looking for individuals who are interested in not just learning the business in front of the camera, but also “want to know how this business runs.”
Watch Roland Martin and Bill Duke discuss the business side of Hollywood in the video clip above.
If you are interested in learning more about the Duke Media Foundation, visit www.DukeMediaFoundation.org
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