Daniels credits include acclaimed films such as Monster’s Ball, Precious and The Butler. In an hour long discussion hosted by Boston-based broadcast personality Butch Stearns, Daniels engaged and entertained more than 200 corporate marketers with anecdotes about his life, his sources of inspiration and the creative process.
Here are a few highlights:
What are the brand attributes of his films? America…truth…family…race relations and healing. Daniels tells stories about overcoming adversity because of how it inspires him and his audiences.
During audience Q&A, I asked Daniels about how he has managed the egos of the talented actors who have appeared in his films (Oprah Winfrey, Forrest Whitaker, Helen Mirren, etc.). His directorial approach focuses on the “honesty of the story” which creates a shared cause among everyone working on the film. Talent tends to buy into this and, as a result, he’s yet to face a significant problem with his actors.
Does he read critic reviews of his movies? No…he creates films for audiences, rather than critics. He is more tuned in to audience reaction and feedback, and how his stories inspire people.
What has inspired him in life? The eldest of six children, Daniels’ dysfunctional relationship with his father and (now) his close bond with his children motivates his passion. He learned his craft on set, rather than a more formal education in film school.
Advice for someone who wants to break into the entertainment business? Daniels said you have to be “in it” with a desire for the art that exceeds everything else in life. Few have that level of blind commitment.