Childhood Friends Help Each Succeed in Creative Careers
The making of The Help has a backstory of how two friends helped each other break into two competitive fields: publishing and filmmaking.
The same two people worked together to produce the movie based on the book. Director and screenwriter Tate Taylor and author Kathryn Stockett were childhood friends in the 1970s. They grew up together in Mississippi, and their friendship lasted into their adult years when they collaborated on a box office success about social standing in the 1960s South movie - - The Help.
Friend Helping a Friend
Stockett took five years to write the novel and over 60 rejections from literary agents. She approached Taylor with her dilemma. Taylor, being a close friend, was sympathetic and decided to read her manuscript. He was "blown away" and very moved by the truth within the story because he grew up in the same culture as Stockett.
Taylor supported Stockett, saying that her manuscript was fantastic and not to give up. He promised he'd make it into a movie if it didn't get published.
Black vs. White
The story concerns unlikely women coming together to make a change in Mississippi in 1963. One woman is a writer researching about Black women raising children in White households. The Black women and the writer become friends as they try to change the terrible conditions of Black women working for White families in Mississippi.
Taylor and Stockett were both raised by single mothers. Their mothers worked full time. Similar to the women in the story, they needed help raising their children. Taylor and Stockett called the women who help raise them "co-mothers."
"I didn't think so, honey. Every day you're not dead in the ground, when you wake up in the morning, you're gonna have to make some decisions. Got to ask yourself this question: 'Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?' You hear me? 'Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?' You hear me today? All right? As for your mama, she didn't pick her life. It picked her. But you, you're gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see."— Constantine Jefferson in the movie
Promise Pays Off
So, Stockett's career took off with her bestseller and Taylor wrote the adaptation of the book for the silver screen and directed the movie with a great cast.
The Help was published and became an ultimate bestseller. But, Taylor remembered the story because of its authenticity. It continued to resonate with him from the moment he opened the book. He thought the story reflected his childhood friendship with Stockett, although their lives were very different from the characters in the story.
Their story offers a solution for those who would like to break into writing or filmmaking to remember their childhood friends as a source of inspiration or help. Either way, collaborating on a project with a childhood friend is a rewarding way to keep the friendship growing and lasting forever.
Having friends that help you is meaningful and gives value to life. The story of Stockett and Taylor helping each other, working their way to success in their chosen careers tells us who they are as individuals.
Tate Taylor continues to write and direct. He directed the movie called MA. Starring Juliette Lewis, Octavia Spenser, and Luke Evans, Taylor and Blumhouse produced the movie. Psychological horror-thriller is about a lonely woman who becomes friends with a group of teenagers. She allows them to party at her house.
The teenagers think they've got it made partying like adults. The woman begins acting strangely in a horrific way, and it turns out she is not as friendly as they thought.
In a couple of interviews with producers for MA, they reveal that Taylor is one of the kindest directors and makes friends with everyone. Taylor and Spencer were roommates for seven years. It turns out they are the best of friends. Because they were roommates and friends, he knew Spencer would want to play the role of Ma because she loves true crimes stories.
So again, friendship in the film business helps build careers. Keep that in mind as you develop your film career -- create relationships.
© 2011 Kenna McHugh