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Tyler Perry Talks Calling the Shots and Leaving a Legacy

Tyler Perry has never played by Hollywood’s rules.

That’s what the prolific writer, director, producer, chairman and actor, known for works such as “If Loving You Is Wrong,” the “Madea” movies and more told the audience is the secret to his success at the 7th annual Produced By L.A. conference Sunday at Paramount Studios.

Perry spoke to moderator Ava DuVernay, who directed the Oscar-nominated “Selma,” about how he approaches film, emphasizing how he feels the need to stay true to his own vision.

“Will I stay true to my own voice? Will I stay true to what I feel? Will I follow my heart in my decisions of: ‘This is how this has to be done for me,'” Perry said.

When Perry’s career was first getting off the ground in the late ’90s, doing stage shows in Georgia, he quit more than 17 jobs to follow his dream.

Perry continued to call the shots when he moved to Hollywood. When his TV series “House of Payne” was being shopped around by studios, Perry refused to do just a pilot, he said at the conference. He refused to do just a season. He demanded 90 episodes, and got it.

DuVernay asked him how he makes decisions, decisions such as taking on a 400-employee staff or building his own studio.

“What’s my instinct, what’s my gut? I don’t turn away from it,” Perry said. “I don’t talk myself out of it.”

Perry also touched the legacy he hopes to leave.

“As I’m talking about building and leaving a legacy, especially being a person of color, for my son, and for my grandchildren, it’s all about leaving something that they can be proud of,” Perry said. “To let them know … that no matter what is in the air about race, there is a way to make your own work.”

DuVernay joked that Perry knows a thing or two about branding.

“Branding’s good,” Perry responded. “I think I know it too much; ‘Tyler Perry’s this, Tyler Perry’s that.'”

The Producers Guild of America produced the event.

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