Movie Director David E. Talbert Speaks To His Alma Mater On Baggage Claim

The MSU Spokesman

Baggage ClaimBaggage Claim director and proud Morgan alum David E. Talbert came to talk to the students in a meet and greet session Monday afternoon in the University Student Center Theatre. With a lot of information, advice and hilarious antics, what was supposed to be a meet and greet session turned into a picture op, an acting workshop and more. Jeremy Collins was able to do an interview with him afterwards.

JC: What would you say to a young aspiring filmmaker?

DT: Use everything that is at your disposal. The iPhone, the editing software on your computer – you know, make shorts, write them,  and then shoot these shorts so that you can be proficient with framing  and camera movement so that when it’s time for somebody to put a big camera and a big budget in your hands you’ve already worked out the kinks on your own.

JC: What was the hardest part of filming the movie?

DT: The hardest part of filming “Baggage Claim” was that we only had thirty days. Then we had all these people in the movie so scheduling was tough because Paula [Patton] was in every scene so she knew she had to be there everyday, but then you had to get Rickey Smiley in for a day, and Nephew Tommy in for a day, and Lala in for a day, and Affion for a day, and Jill Scott around her touring schedule and Trey Songz around his touring schedule. So trying to make all the parts it was like a puzzle that the producer Steven Wolf had to make.

JC: I want to commend you for using a variety of skin colors in your film. What would you say for a dark skinned girl looking to make it?

DT: I’d say to a dark-skinned girl the same that I’d say to a light-skinned girl. Just be good. Skin tone isn’t the most important thing. A skill set is the most important thing. Being proficient  at your craft is the most important thing. The other thing is just the taste of the director or what the role may be.There are beautiful brown skinned women just like there are beautiful fair-skinned women. What matters the most is are you good. Are you right for the role?

JC: I noticed the event staff are dressed as stewardesses and people on the airplanes. How involved are you in the marketing? That’s pretty creative.

DT: Fortunately for me, I have some really smart marketing people, Liquid Soul. They’re graduates of FAMU, so [ there is] an HBCU connection too. We thought it was important to come and visit a few of the colleges, share what we know, what we experienced and hopefully inspire the next generation.

JC: Do you think you could direct the next Friday?

DT: I don’t know if there’s anything else that needs to be done in that franchise. You could bring Chris Tucker back, but I don’t know what that story would be. I love Ice Cube. Friday is a classic movie, but I only direct things that I’m passionate about in telling that story. I got a complete meal out of that Friday series. 

A sidenote  from the interview, I would like to note something very special about the four hours I had to witness the whole event. The connect that Talbert shared with the students of Morgan has to be recognized somewhere. I, personally, felt very warmed by the attention that he gave the students. As if my short interview didn’t take up enough time, he talked and recognized each individual student who got a signed poster and there were plenty of them. Even then, totally unplanned, he actually had a few students rehearse a monologue and sing. Let me not forget that every student who attended the event left with a chance to see a screening of the movie at White Marsh Mall. Baggage Claim will be in theaters on September 27, 2013.