Cool Jobs: Former Tyler Perry Exec Talks Branching Out
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Roger Bobb, founder, Bobbcat Films (Image: File)

We have good news for you. You can have a cool career and make a good living. No need to choose between loving your job and paying your mortgage. The following profile, part of the Cool Jobs series, offers a peek into the nuts and bolts, perks and salaries behind enjoyable careers.

With three hit shows on the air and 11 blockbuster films released over the past six years, Roger Bobb is one of the most successful producers working in the film and television industry today. A former EVP at Tyler Perry Studios, Bobb is now at the helm of his own company, Bobbcat Films, responsible for The Rickey Smiley Show on TV One and the recent made-for-TV film, Raising Izzie. recently spoke to the industry wunderkind on the fast-paced industry and how black filmmakers and producers can create their own niche in the market.

Black Enterprise: What is your day-to-day like as a film and television producer?

Roger Bobb: I create, write, budget and schedule films and television shows. I also read and develop scripts with writers, meet with film & television studio executives to get distribution & financing, hire talent including writers, directors and actors. Basically, I am responsible for the day-to-day management of the filming process from concept to completion.

What lead you to a career in television behind the scenes?

I’ve always had a love for film and television ever since I was a young child living in Brooklyn, N.Y. My brother [who is an entertainment attorney] and I would walk around our house quoting lines from famous films.

After college, I worked as a paralegal and my company moved me to Los Angeles. While I was there, I saw a film being shot in front of my apartment and watched the entire process for five hours. I instantly knew it was what I wanted to do, so I took film classes at The School of Visual Arts and worked my way up.

What kind of challenges have you faced in reaching your professional goals?

It’s always difficult to obtain financing for projects. This is show business and filmmaking is an expensive process that takes a lot of experience, confidence and begging to convince a company to give you millions of dollars to create a product.

What have been some of your career high points?

Being able to give people (writers, actors & directors) the opportunity to achieve their dream is very fulfilling, as well as being able to employ hundreds of technicians, especially in a down economy, all while creating images that hopefully resonate with audiences in a meaningful way.

What kind of advice would you give to emerging filmmakers?

The 2 P’s, passion and planning, are key. You have to have a passion for this industry to succeed in it. It’s very unpredictable, the hours are long and the personalities are “interesting.” People often ask me how you know if you truly have a passion for something. I often tell them that there will be times when you just want to quit, but something inside of you won’t let you do it, that’s passion.

Planning: If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Always have a plan A, B, C & D. The thing about this industry is that there are so many different paths to success; there is not just one way to achieve your goal. Research how people who have succeeded in your particular industry and incorporate that it into your journey. I’m living proof that passion, planning and hard work can result in success.

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Gil Robertson

Gil Robertson IV is a noted A&E and African American lifestyle journalist. During his 20 year career he has written for the Los Angeles Times and Atlanta Journal Constitution, over 50 national magazine cover and for some of the leading sites on the web. He is also the editor of the nationally syndicated lifestyle column, Robertson Treatment that appears in 30 markets nationwide. A co-founder and President of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), Robertson is the producer of the AAFCA Awards, which has grown into a premiere event on the Hollywood Awards calendar. As an author, Robertson is the editor of the best -selling 2009 anthologies Family Affair: What it Means to be African American Today, (selected as “Pick of the Week” by Publisher’s Weekly), and the 2006 release, Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community, both nominated for NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Nonfiction. He is also the author of Writing as a Tool of Empowerment, a resource book for aspiring journalists, and is a regular contributor to The African American Almanac (Gale Press). He recently completed his first Children’s book, 21st Century Great African American Political Leaders (Just Us Books), and a new anthology, Where Did Our Love Go: Personal Essays on Love & Relationships in the African American Community. Robertson earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Cal State Los Angeles