Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spike Lee

Rarely are there two events in one night that I can't decide which to attend. Well, last night was one of those nights, as I passed up a Mary Oliver reading to hear Spike Lee at Babson College. (I sat in the front row, as you can see by this grainy iPhone photo.)

Lee spoke to our students about the film industry and entrepreneurship. He talked for an hour on his life and career, how he became a director and actor. Coming from a family that encouraged art and creativity, he discovered his passion for filmmaking after someone game him a super 8 camera while he attended Clark Atlanta University.

Lee’s NYU thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, got him noticed. But it wasn’t until his first film, She's Gotta Have It was released that his career took off. With a meager budget of $175,000, the movie grossed $8 million worldwide. The rest is cinema history: School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Malcolm X, Inside Man--to name a few. (My personal favorite is He Got Game.)

Lee encouraged the audience of young entrepreneurs to find work that they're passionate about, and not just look for the biggest paychecks. Although, he also thought going to grad school and waiting out the recession is not a bad idea, either. Lee was as funny and thoughtful and engaging as you might imagine. More than that, he was real--I wouldn't have expected otherwise.

So for those of you wondering if I gave Lee a copy of Underlife, the answer is no. Didn't bring an extra copy. He made it clear early on that he wasn't excepting movie scripts, head shots, etc. But I was in a group photo with my department. Can't wait to see how it turned out.


Rethabile said...

Jungle Fever does it for me.

Hey, you've been painting the walls in here! It's nice.

January said...

I like the movie Jungle Fever, too.

Yes, I've been redecorating. A girl needs a new look every now and then!

Jessie Carty said...

I'd say you made the right decision when choosing events :)

January said...

I've seen Mary Oliver read before. And, she's local (in Massachusetts). But Spike Lee? No contest!

dylan said...

To me, passing up a Mary Oliver reading in favor of a speech by Spike Lee is a bit like spurning a triple-bill of the Pope, Jill Scott, and the ghost of Dylan Thomas, in order to stay at home and watch C-SPAN! But I'm willing to concede that my perspective is somewhat limited. And Mr Lee is a very compelling filmmaker.


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