REVOLT Summit x AT&T’s “Summit Saturdays” is coming down to its last few batches of forums as we approach the main event later this month on Oct. 23 – Oct. 25. This weekend’s featured lessons were on industry etiquettes and the art of hustling from CEO and co-founder of Q&A Troy Carter.
Film director Morgan Cooper and producer Deniese Davis gave viewers a crash course on how to deliver the perfect pitch in the television and feature film arena in a workshop called “Packaging the Pitch,” while comedians DC Young Fly and Affion Crockett discussed the science behind making your fans laugh and dropped gems on how to maintain longevity in an ever-changing industry.
Lastly, “Be Heard” sent one more lucky contestant on the path to the finale and one step closer to $10,000. Trailblazer Ryan Destiny, and sisters Coco and Breezy talked experiential currency, and rapper Raja Kumari shared how she blends her cultures into art that uniquely represents her.
Host Rodney Rikai returned with another round of “Executive Chats” with two more industry greats: CEO and co-founder of Q&A’s Troy, and Capitol Music Group SVP of Global Creative Amber Grimes. During their chat, Troy reflected on his time working as an intern for Bad Boy Records and what he learned most about himself during that era. The Philly native realized that his work ethic was influenced by his upbringing, and observing his fellow peers like Will Smith and how he conducted himself in his workspace. “I just wanted to be the first to get there, the last to leave. You know, keep my head down and work, and not get caught up and going to the club or anything like that,” Troy explained. He added, “And watching Puff work was great because Puff could go to the club and stay out all night. He’d go from the office to Daddy’s House for court and studio, go from the recording studio to the club and still be in the office in the morning. There’s not a lot of people who do that and be sustainable. I learn a lot from that. It’s was a masterclass of hustle with Puff.”
The music manager also shared a story on how a job firing from James Lassiter not only humbled him but was a lesson in disguise. As the CEO put it, “sometimes it takes the rug being pulled up from underneath you, and it takes that tough love to drive you forward.” And when it comes to asking for favors from people you haven’t spoken to in a while, it happens. Troy said: “you can’t be transactional.” “I used to have to listen to James’ phone calls, and one of the surprising things for me was hearing the conversations that executives would have with each other, and it would be mostly about family, life, but then they would talk about business. But, for me, it was more about how to establish long term relationships,” he explained. He added, “As I’ve built my career as a manager, I wasn’t as reliant on my client’s relationship equity as much as it was my own relationship equity. When you treat people good, and you’ve done good business, within those gaps, even if you may not have spoken with that person, they’ll understand what that repertoire was throughout that relationship.” It’s like he tells his team, “always make more deposits than withdrawals.”
Next up, film director Morgan and producer Deniese took audiences through an in-depth process of how to package your pitch ideas for television or film industry. The pair discussed differentiating the two, while Deniese revealed that one of the first questions that she asks any writer or creative that she’s working with is, “Does this story have the ability to told over the course of 60, 80, 100 hours?” She added, “because that’s how you have to think of television in the span of five, six seasons and in a feature film, it’s a beginning, middle, and end.” The producer said once you’ve figured that part out, now’s the time to zone in and create around that criteria. Morgan made note that your ideas should always be “sticky, specific, timely, innovative, creative, kenotic,” and if your ideas fall under all those categories, you’ll most likely get a yes to move forward.
Morgan and Deniese also spoke on what’s most important in any workspace, which is being resilient. Obstacles rooted in gender and race is a huge issue in Hollywood, and as cliché as it may sound, you have stay motivated and keep pushing. “I walk into these rooms and very rarely to do I see someone that looks like me on the other side. There’s a real inclusivity issue in Hollywood when it comes to execs and on the buying side. And for me, I’ve always made sure that, that has never swayed me in anyway,” Deniese explained. She went on to say that she’s fully aware that will always, mostly likely, be the case when she walks into certain rooms, but it’s also the thing that reminds her that “I belong to be here.”
“Wild ‘N Out” alumni DC Young Fly and Affion Crockett chopped it up about breaking into the comedy scene and sustaining your brand in a workshop titled “The Writer’s Block: Comedy Writing.” Both comedians admitted that comedy was not their first choice as career options. DC thought he’d find success through music while Affion started as a dancer. But, what both guys had in common is that they used the power of the internet to make a name for themselves. Both men stressed moving with the times, expanding your brand, and how standup comedy put their comedic skills to the test. Affion dropped some critical pointers on creating a joke and gave a lesson on listening. Meanwhile, DC stressed learning your different audiences — a key component of success in the comedy world.
The “Be Heard” competition is gearing toward the end of the road — that was quick. This week, a new group of musical hopefuls got their chance to shine in hopes of securing a spot in the finale and that lovely $10,000 payment. Host Amanda Booz was joined by guest judges Big Tigger, Bryan-Michael Cox, and Jennifer Drake. They listened to six different contestants from around the country, and gave their thoughts and critics. As usual, only one person got the chance to move forward to the semifinals. After a tough decision, Brooklyn born producer singer-songwriter Lono Bristol eventually took home the win for his track “Can’t Sleep” and is one step closer to potentially taking it all.
Lastly, singer-actress Ryan Destiny spoke about her first break in the entertainment world. After appearing in the show “Low Winter Sun,” she later landed a lead role in Fox’s musical-drama series “STAR.” The actress shared the many lessons she learned during her time on the series and how her experience helped her excel. Ryan talked how she had to overcome her insecurities and accept rejection as a normal part of life. Coco and Breezy revealed how they used their iconic sunglasses as currency to get into the hottest clubs and into exclusive circles with celebrities like Nicky Minaj to Demi Lovato to Prince. And Raja reflected on she uniquely blends aspects of her Indian culture and hip hop culture into her art.