Rather than trying to conquer Hollywood, Tyler Perry set up his own operation 2,000 miles away in Atlanta. A true independent, the veritable one-man show (Perry writes, directs, produces, acts and composes) has built up not only a successful brand but also a facility dedicated to his signature films and series (to date, his eight features have earned more than half a billion dollars).Tip sheet
What: NAACP Image Awards
Where: Shrine Auditorium, L.A.
5 p.m. PT at site; 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox TV
Actor Adam Rodriguez, Image Award-nominated for his role in Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” spent five weeks working in Atlanta. “It’s nothing short of mind-blowing to see what he’s done,” he says. “He’s got this full-fledged backlot — complete with stages, editing, wardrobe departments and city streets — at the old Delta facility, and it’s so inspiring. He shoots two TV shows and a movie simultaneously, and now he’s also on the road with his play. His work ethic is just amazing.”
Keshia Knight Pulliam, nominated a second time for her role as Miranda in “House of Payne,” has worked with Perry for three years and reports the secret of his success is his innovative TV business plan and schedule. “He sold the show upfront to TBS, he does it all inhouse and then just delivers the finished product,” she explains. “We just shot the new season of 46 episodes in three months, whereas normally it’d take two years. We do an episode a day, while on ‘Cosby’ we did the traditional one-show-a-week.”
How does Perry accomplish all this? “Sheer hard work,” she says. “I don’t know when Tyler sleeps.”
Despite his studio-boss role and punishing schedule, Perry is no dictator, Rodriguez says. “He’s kind and gives the whole place this great sense of family. Many of the people there have been with him for years, and everyone really respects him and what’s he done.”