On Jimmy Fallon last night, President Barack Obama admitted to enjoying one particular spoof of his personality. That spoof is the sketch “Obama’s Anger Translator” by Key and Peele on Comedy Central. In the sketch, Obama speaks calmly while his “Anger Translator” Luther yells and keeps it real about he really feels to the audience. Here is the sketch:
And here is Obama talking about it (forward to 2:20)
What many people don’t know is that the sketch was directed by Pete Atencio, a self made filmmaker and a former neighbor of mine. (As a testament for what is required to “network” in the film world, I met Pete while doing laundry in our building while living in Hollywood. No degree required).
Pete has to be one of the most talented working directors in the TV/film industry that you haven’t heard of yet. He directed a feature film with William Forsythe. He’s been paid by TBS and Superdeluxe to shoot sketches, shot celebrity and Oscar interviews, and even did the “Twilight with Cheeseburgers” spoof vid that has millions of views on Youtube. Pete’s directed the first season of “Key and Peele”, which has been a hit on Comedy Central. The two stars of the show are hysterical and very talented, and with Pete behind the camera it is a home run.
And Pete dropped out of film school.
When I met him in 2006, he was already being paid by TBS and production companies to make shorts with his own DVX100 camera, work lights, and Mac based editing system. I asked him if I he went to film school and he said “for less than a week”.
Basically he enrolled in a film school in Colorado, sat through a few classes, realized “this is bullshit” and dropped out. He used his tuition money to buy equipment, taught himself how to shoot and has been working every sense.
And just this week one of his shorts got acknowledged by the leader of the free world.
Not bad for someone who never went to school for his current profession.
Pete’s a great example, and you can do the exact same thing. If you have talent and drive, don’t waste it in a classroom. Get your own equipment, or hook up with people who have it, and make your own movies. For a detailed plan of attack on how to do this in detail, inspiration, insight, and plans for world domination make sure to check out Film School Secrets.