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012: From Making Movies To Making An Impact with Darryl Roberts

Darryl Roberts has had one of the most varied careers of any guest yet on Do Well & Do Good, having hosted parties for Chicago Bulls stars, ventured into fiction and documentary filmmaking, and even arranging peaceful protests against the policies of large corporations. Now with the Be Me Be Free Campaign, he’s hoping to ignite a conversation about the anxiety affecting many young people today and help them seek treatment.

In this episode, Darryl discusses the rough-and-tumble beginning to his career as a party promoter, how he transitioned into filmmaking and even furniture design, and the ways he’s helping America’s youth address beauty standards, bullying and anxiety.

 

Show Notes:

  • What beliefs about money did Darryl’s family instill in him growing up, and did they impact him positively or negatively?
    • Didn’t grow up with many beliefs specifically regarding money; his parents focused more on fostering his sense of love and humanity.
    • Consequently he didn’t really have solid concept of money, leading to daring and reckless expenses in spite of a scarcity mindset; saw money as a means of escaping his surroundings.
  • How did Darryl initially find success?
    • Became a promoter on the side in his early 20s while working at a gas station.
  • How did he get his promotion business going?
    • Knew another promoter who would throw very successful parties where hundreds and thousands of peoples would show up.
    • Tried throwing parties himself, but in the beginning very few people attended and he was losing money organizing them.
    • Stepfather thought Darryl should give up his dream, but he pressed forward just to prove him wrong.
    • Convinced then-Chicago Bulls player Reggie Theus to attend one of his parties for a fee, and his presence encouraged over 2,300 people to attend. Eventually even Michael Jordan attended his parties.
  • How did Darryl’s party promotion venture come to an end?
    • Because he didn’t have a solid concept of money, he overspent and found himself broke in spite of his significant promotion income.
  • How did he end up breaking into the Los Angeles film industry?
    • The entire vibe of L.A. inspired him to get into filmmaking, so he visited the Samuel French book store and bought comprehensive guides on the subject.
    • His girlfriend’s brother was able to raise investment money for his first movie, The Perfect Model.
    • This movie was neither a critical nor financial success, but that only pushed him further. The follow-up, How U Like Me Now, did well through an independent distributor and later in the burgeoning home video market.
  • What inspired Darryl to keep going in spite of these early stumbles, and how was he able to find investors for his projects?
    • Was trying to court a woman who was a successful financial advisor. While they ultimately didn’t date, she was willing to back his second film?
    • “No” wasn’t a possibility for him.
  • What did he do after releasing his first two movies?
    • Didn’t make a lot of money from How U Like Me Now in spite of its financial success thanks to the distributor’s “creative accounting.”
    • Reporter friend asked Darryl if he wanted to do entertainment commentary and reporting for the local NBC affiliate. Worked in that position for two years, where he got over his fascination with being a movie star as he preferred recognition as a TV reporter.
    • In New York, visited the Paramount Hotel where he was inspired by its beautiful and stylish interiors designed by Philippe Starck. This led him to a stint in making furniture in the style of other designers.
  • What does Darryl think is the key to his success in breaking into such varied fields?
    • Used to think it was because he was fearless and wasn’t worried about the consequences of failure.
    • Has been told he’s able to manifest spirit and sheer will in an almost shamanistic fashion.
  • Why did he move toward documentary filmmaking?
    • His first doc, America the Beautiful, was inspired by his own fascination with beauty along with America’s own obsession with the subject.
    • The follow-up, America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments, calls into question the validity of the Body Mass Index (BMI) as the go-to standard for physical health.
  • How did Darryl get involved in the controversy the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO’s remarks about their line of clothes not being designed for overweight people
    • Spoke with a teenage girl who was offended by that statement and encouraged her to stage a peaceful protest; he also called up various members of the media to cover it.
    • Also taught the girl how to put together a proper presentation, leading the company to walk back their earlier statements and foster an anti-bullying campaign.
  • What is the Be Me Be Free campaign all about?
    • Helping people find a sense of purpose in their work and daily life, as well as teaching them to deal with chronic and acute anxiety.
    • Students are emailing in their own anecdotes about anxiety, and the story chosen will have a film made about it.
  • What can we as individuals do to destigmatize anxiety in our society and help young people dealing with these issues to find help?
    • Darryl says a lot of people don’t realize their issues are actually anxiety to begin with, so the trick is helping people identify their symptoms.
    • There also needs to be a greater push to provide less expensive mental healthcare to people in lower-income and minority communities.
  • How can people contribute to Be Me Be Free?
    • The campaign accepts a variety of media, including stories, songs, videos, poems, etc.

 

Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nomination:

Instead of the usual non-profit donation link, this episode’s challenge is tied into the Be Me Be Free Campaign. Contact challenge@dowellanddogood.co to see how you can contribute to the campaign!

Submit Your Story to Be Me Be Free!

Vist Do Well and Do Good’s free Facebook community here and arrange a one-on-one with Dorothy herself!

About the author, Dorothy

Dorothy Illson is the founder of Needle's Eye Media, a full-service Facebook advertising agency. She's also the host of Do Well & Do Good, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who have created financial success and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.

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