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Tyrese Gibson on the Challenges and Joys of Writing a Short Film

Tyrese Gibson on the Challenges and Joys of Writing a Short Film

In the short film “Shame,” Tyrese Gibson plays an up-and-coming soul singer who is married to his background singer, played by Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson. Produced by Denzel Washington, the film, which premiered last month at the 19th annual Urbanworld Film Festival, recently had its international premiere at the Aruba International Film Festival. In a guest post for Indiewire, Gibson writes about his inspiration for “Shame” and how the project came to life.

To be honest I have a great appreciation for art, words, and intentions around creativity. But it takes work to bring those words to life.

I felt really blessed that the words and the creativity and the characters, names, world, time and everything that happened in this short film ended up being in my mind and I was able to get it out as well as to have the vision to know that I wanted to do it with Jennifer Hudson and [director] Paul Hunter and Denzel Washington.

The overall vision played out in my head and I just worked really really hard to put all the right people in place to execute this.

I’ve written about seven movies, but this is the first short film. I love writing, I love being able to tap into a different voice; that’s the challenge. A lot of times you’ll read a screenplay and a writer doesn’t know how to tap into individual characters and nuances and voices, because they don’t act. I really believe that preparation meets opportunity and we worked hard on the preparation of the “Shame” short. The director Paul Hunter and I did 11 different setups in two days. We mapped out the day and night for both days and I think even the actors were surprised at how everything flowed and how we were able to get everything done so fast within 48 hours.

Denzel got involved because he loves the song [“Shame”] and he loves Jennifer Hudson. Denzel was also very supportive of me doing something dark, a more dimensional character that was different and felt uncomfortable.

I started off as an actor in the dramatic space, with movies like “Baby Boy” and “Brothers,” “Waist Deep” and “Annapolis,” which I did with James Franco (it was also the first time I ever worked with Justin Lin). As much as the world knows me from “Fast and Furious” and “Transformers” with all the charm and personality and big action, I’m actually way more of a dramatic actor.  

Having Denzel on board the projected helped me accept the challenge of the role. Having Denzel and Jennifer Hudson take this journey with me has been a confirmation that this was an idea that need to be taken very seriously.

The motivation for this short film and the focus was on doing the work and doing the best we could to to create something beautiful that’s going to last a lifetime.  When we screened “Shame” in Aruba, it sold out the first showing and the festival had to add more screenings; people are really excited to see this movie.

We feel blessed and now it’s just about following up and seeing where we can take this. I’ve been approached by three different studios already expressing interest in turning the “Shame” short into a TV show in the spirit of “Empire.” We love all of this energy. We appreciate it. We are very grateful and God willing, we’re just gonna be able to see that all of these opportunities see the light of day.

READ MORE: A Workshop Helps Aruban Filmmakers Get Their Work Out into the World

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