Alumnus and filmmaker discusses path to success
by Hadiya Weaver
On Wednesday, February 21, alumnus Benny Douglas, professionally known as Benny Boom visited Temple University to screen the film he directed: All Eyez on Me, a biopic on the legendary rapper, actor and poet Tupac Shakur.
The event was held at the Temple Performing Arts Center, and included the screening, Q&A session, and a reception.
All Eyez on Me was originally released on June 15, 2017; which would have been Tupac’s 46th birthday. The film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr, Kat Graham, and Marvel’s Black Panther breakout star, Danai Gurira.
The Q&A session, moderated by fellow alumnus Professor Aaron X. Smith after the film, was filled with aspiring filmmakers, Tupac fans, and fascinated students.
Philadelphia native, Boom attended Temple’s film school and began directing music videos in 2000. His role as a director has helped him influence popular culture through each music video, film or television show he directs.
Boom’s portfolio is too large to count as it expands from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Keyshia Cole and Robin Thicke. He’s also directed episodes of Black Lightning, The Quad and Tales, Empire and Mike Epps and Donald Faison film Next Day Air.
Questions about Boom’s transition from being a college student to a highly acclaimed director sparked the audience gracefully answered the questions from the inquisitive questionnaires.
Boom’s advice to young, college students wishing to pursue the filmmaking industry include many words of wisdom.
“Know the goal that you want, and don’t waiver from it. There’s always going to be someone telling you that you can’t do it, or ‘that’s impossible.’ Boom said. “You just can’t believe that. If you believe in yourself there’s always going to be people that tell you, ‘You can’t do it’ ,and they’re placed in your life to push you further not to stop you.”
Hollywood producer and preacher Devon Franklin, very own book, the Hollywood Commandments was also cited for the students inquiring for the information. “You have to carry your crown before you can wear a crown, and I thought that was so prophetic. I thought about my journey in that.” Boom said.
Boom has worked for a lot of different directors, usually as the production assistant or assistant director; he says that taught him humility, and he learned from those experiences.
“Be prepared to pay your dues.” Boom said.
Boom also says he never really believed in backup plans, “I know it sounds crazy, but I never was like, ‘Oh man, what’s plan B?’" Boom said, "I just have to reshift plan A; it may not be the right thing to say but it kind of worked for me. I don’t know what a plan B is.”
Boom’s expertise on the industry includes how rejection is just apart of the industry, and that does not mean to quit.
“There’s a lot of rejection that happens in the business,” Boom said. “And that comes with the territory, and I think the thing with rejection makes you go back and reset. Most times, rejection isn’t personal.”
Boom stressed how important it is to have belief in one’s self.
“There’s always going to be somebody telling you that ‘You can’t do it,’ or ‘That’s impossible’ or ‘We’ve never heard of anything like that’ or ‘That will never happen.,'" Boom said. "You just can’t believe that. If you believe in yourself, there’s always going to be people that tell you you can’t do it, and they’re placed in your life to push you further; not to stop you.”