Kevin Michael Smith

Guest: Kevin Michael Smith (Writer)

Project: “Pride”
Starring: Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise, Tom Arnold.

Production Company:

“Pride” is being distributed by Lionsgate. Its theatrical release has recently passed but look out for it on DVD soon.

Even though this was our 14th show it had unlucky 13 in the number and I apologize for the technical difficulties some of you may have experienced. Before I forget, the instant message question of the night had to do with Tom Arnold and the craft service table. Kevin had some very nice things to say about Tom. He was also impressed by Bernie Mac’s dramatic acting, and Kevin and I had a good back and forth about a comedic actor playing it straight (in other words, not playing for laughs) and accomplishing the best of both comedy and drama. And for writers out there, we hit on the importance of a Mentor. Kevin had a few that have been instrumental in his success.

Kevin collaborated on this project, both with a writing partner, two additional writers once Lionsgate was involved, with the director, and eventually the actors. As you can see, the further up the food chain you travel, the notes, feedback, and rewrites can become more involved. So not only is it important for creative purposes to be able to take notes and feedback, but while on the independent level it’s a good skill to develop as well! For example, lets say you are writing a no-budget script that you plan on producing. Well then, you are King of the World, and you don’t have to listen to anyone criticizing your masterpiece! What I’m suggesting is first, definitely get feedback from people and or a professional service, second make at least some changes based on feedback even if you don’t agree with any of it. Several things can happen, A- You might like some of the changes and keep them. B- When you’re open to other’s notes when doing a rewrite, it can spark other ideas in you that you might not have thought of otherwise that you like. C- You like your original version better. No harm done then, stick with that. D- Either way, you’re developing your ability to take notes and direction. This is very important as it will be required when you reach the next level and start to work with production companies, distributors etc.

You want to develop that skill. If you do, it’ll be less stressful when presented with that task because you’ll be used to it. My personal theory is some writers get defensive about changes because they’re not sure they can deliver what the person is asking for and or they’re just not use to working/writing that way.

I have known writers who have a bit of an ego and really do not respond well to feedback and notes. They think they’re the writer and they know best (or see what I just said above). There are actors who have this attitude when it comes to their performance as well. I’ve seen this attitude work to the detriment of people’s career. Even at the star level where you can get away with, to a point, it still can be counter to career advancement.

And then there are those like Kevin Michael Smith, who seem to have the ideal combination of artistic talent, professional attitude and appreciation for what he does and what others do (i.e., director and producer) and knowing how to work with the team.

When collaborating with another writer, choose your partner carefully and checkout what Kevin and I have to say about that on the show.

As is becoming the norm, I didn’t get to all the things I wanted to hit but Kevin has a lot going on. Through his company Inspired by Films, you can figure out the kind of films he wants to focus on. He and his partner Nicole T. Renna have a slue of projects in development and I anticipate you’ll be hearing a lot about them in the immediate future.

Thanks for tuning in! Let me know what you think!


Jeff Schubert

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