What I Learned Hanging Out On Set With Will Smith And His Family Last Week
So big homie's back in town. He's producing a film starring his son, Jaden Smith, Cara DeLevigne & Cuba Gooding Jr.
One of my best buddies is his brother-in-law, Caleb...Jada's younger brother. Who also happens to be the President of Overbrook Entertainment, Will's production company.
We connected a couple years ago when they were shooting Suicide Squad and have remained friends ever since.
The mind has a funny way of playing with your emotions. I would consider that entire 6 months of filming Suicide Squad as life changing. I was beyond inspired. I went from watching Will Smith on my broken black and white TV in my foster home to working for the man himself, making sure his family was well taken care of at all of our different bars, restaurants and nightclubs and producing the wrap party for the Suicide Squad on a 20,000 sq ft sound stage on set.
Fast forward two years later and they're coming back in town...and I was feeling down. Here I am, I thought, still pretty much in the same position as I was when they left.
But that's not true. When they were here I was wrapped up in two totally horrible relationships that drained me emotionally, mentally and financially. One was personal and one was professional.
I had given all my power and care to people outside of myself...and being, well...people...they dropped the ball hard on me. I had no control of my personal life or my business. The relationships that I had were superficial at best, downright fake at worst.
I decided to take myself away from those relationships and I've spent the past two years rebuilding my life and reclaiming myself. It's very easy to get lost in the doldrums of life, but I can also say, I am happier, healthier, more focused and most of all more appreciative of life now than I've ever been at any point in my life.
Far from "spinning my wheels", I've done what I think is the most important thing anyone can do when faced with great trials in life...I learned to love myself, believe in myself and forgive myself for being human.
Everytime I connect with Will the convo always gets deep. I brought a friend of mine, whose experiences with homelessness (the death of her father), inspired her to create a clothing brand that was all about love. Her reasoning was simple: if there were more love in the world, we wouldn't have as much problems. I agree. I bought some of the shirts for my man, Caleb. He wore them on set and now they're buying a few hundred and co-branding them with the movie.
Jaden was so taken with her story, that he volunteered to help with the brand as well.
While we were sitting in the production room watching the filming, I felt myself falling in love. The combination of artistry in acting, plus the necessary discipline on the production / business end, the process actors go through of "centering" themselves in the moment to bring out a good performance...I loved it all.
"Man, I think I missed my calling, I would kill this. I love it!" I kinda said to myself.
"Missed your calling how?" Will replied..."It's never too late to start, Joy Behar was in her 40's when she started".
Here was my childhood idol telling me how great I'm capable of being. So I'm taking him at his word: If I could do / be anything, I would go back and get my law degree. I spend way too much time yelling at people on Twitter about the injustices of this world and way too little time actually applying myself to make the world a more just place. So I'm going to do my LSAT, then I'm going to Osgoode Hall and I'm gonna focus on civil rights law and business ethics. I'm going to change this world one court challenge at a time.
I'm also opening up my own bar again, because that's when I'm happiest (plus the cash flow is gonna be needed bigly as I pursue my law degree) and I'm seriously considering following Will and them down to Miami for 5 months while they shoot Bad Boys 3.
I don't care if I'm just holding microphones off camera, I want to learn this business inside and out and start producing films. Highly entertaining, impactful films that will change people's lives the same way certain films have changed mine.
Wanna know what I learned from hanging out with Will Smith last week? That I've been afraid and limiting myself. That it's never too late to become the best version of you...and that the best things you want in life are on the other side of fear.