The result: Chocolate City, a film that cost $20,000 and netted about $100,000, including the proceeds from hawking T-shirts, hats, the soundtrack and posters.
“That was really a lot of money for college students,” Packer remembers, “and I said, ‘You know what? This is my business right here.’”
The pair raised more cash and stretched it for three or four years while making their second movie, Trois, which they distributed themselves. It grossed more than $1 million and the two finally got Hollywood’s attention.
This is Packer’s most memorable advice, from movie producer Warrington Hudlin, after a young and inexperienced Packer had blathered on about the filmmaker he wanted to be:
“You know, brother, a lot of people are talking about what they’re going to do and what they want to do. Go out and do it. Do something. Be one of those that’s doing and not one of those that’s talking.”
—Adapted from “Hollywood Hustle,” Will Packer interview by Lottie Joiner, The Crisis.