Entertainment Industry 101 with Executive Producer, Writer, Akbar Cojoe

| November 25, 2009 | 0 Comments

Actress-_business_owner_Kaira_Akita_and_Writer-_Producer-_Akbar_CojoeActress, Kaira Akita and Writer, Producer, Akbar Cojoe

I had an opportunity to sit down with executive producer, writer, Akbar Cojoe.  With over 20 extensive years in the entertainment industry including a history as an A&R for MCA, Columbia & Sony Music Group, artist management, expertise in brand management, working with networks like E!, programs like CBS’ “King of Queens” and currently as the Southeastern Production Manager of the popular TMZ, he shares his pearls of wisdom about the importance of educating oneself in the business, the honesty about the darker sides of fame & fortune and answers the age old question: Is this business really divided by sex & color.

HHE:  How did you get your start in the entertainment business?

My father was a producer for Columbia Records in the 70s and 80s.  He produced for Earth Wind & Fire, Emotions, and the Cavallo/Ruffalo/Fargnoli camp.  He and my mother bought me a drum kit when I was 3 and it kind of started from there.

HHE:  How long have you been in the business?

Going on 24 years professionally.  I started getting paid playing as a session worker for Atlantic Records in different recording studios in New Orleans when I was 15.  I would compose the tracks for artist who needed music for their songs.

HHE:  What facets of entertainment do you work in?

Whatever I find interesting, but it all encompasses marketing and branding.  Taking something and breathing life into it.  You can narrow it down to project management.  I’ll guide a project and take it to the resources needed to make it a success.  Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Project management is no doubt the least satisfying aspect of my work.

HHE:  What is the benefit of doing what you do? The difficulty?

The benefit of doing what I do is having the opportunity to take an idea and see it to fruition; making something out of nothing.  Meeting people who I admire and traveling places I may not have seen otherwise.  The difficulty is encountering people who are new to the industry and having to explain how busines works.  For instance, I believe no one should get involved in this business unless they have educated themselves first.  It’s about respecting the business.  For example, I wouldn’t wake up tomorrow and say, “Hey, I’m a dentist.”  Could you imagine me taking a drill to someone’s mouth without knowing the craft?  Inexperienced people would be my Achilles heel; my ax to grind.

HHE:  What advice can you give to up and coming people in the entertainment industry?

Pursue a college degree.  Educate yourself about copyrights, publishing, and royalties.  Work nonstop on perfecting your skill.

HHE:  You have several clients that depend on you, movies, writing, and most importantly i know you are a family man, how do you balance?

 It’s simple, if I’m not working, I’m a horrible person to be around.  The people who really know me understand that.  They’d much rather see me working than being horrible to deal with.

 HHE:  Haha!  Understood.  Is the industry fair racially and sexually in your eyes?

Not in the music industry, it’s never fair.  Regardless of race or gender, you’re sure to get screwed.  In my opinion, the film industry is very discriminating.  The industry’s blatant prejudice is ridiculous.

HHE:  What illusion do people have about the entertainment industry for those who want to be in it? The REAL truth.

I have a friend who explains it this way: Have you seen the Wizard of Oz?  You go down this long “magical” road, all to realize that there’s no Wizard.  You now understand that the great and powerful wizard as a fraud; you find an ordinary man hiding behind a curtain operating a giant machine fueled by the heart’s desire.  It’s not just the entertainment business, it’s overall commercialism.

HHE:  I know you are always on the move so thank you for sitting down with me and Hip Hop Enquirer.  One last thing, i understand you have an interesting project you are currently producing. Tell us more.

It’s a reality show project called, “Marlon Mayhem” (working title) about screen writer, film director Marlon Campbell.  It’s a very close and intimate look at his life which can be considered somewhat chaotic considering his full career and his intense personal family issues he has to balance.  The viewers will get to see all that on the screen.  Nothing will be held back.  There are going to be many surprises that will stun people.  It’s going to be pretty interesting; you’ll have to tune in.

Mimi Star- Senior Writer, Hip Hop Enquirer

*We’ will make sure to update everyone with air dates, times and networks for the exciting reality show, “Marlon Mayhem” !  Hip Hop Enquirer has THE scoop!

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Hip Hop Historian and accomplished photo journalist

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