Together, Roxanne and Deon have produced and directed Black and Blue, Fatale, Meet the Blacks, Meet the Blacks 2, The Intruder, Supremacy, and several others.

Roxanne and Deon co-founded the film company Hidden Empire Film Group, a multidimensional independent film company that has produced a strong slate of movies and TV shows. Through Hidden Empire Film Group, Roxanne and Deon find their projects, find the financing for the projects, create the marketing campaigns, and then distribute their own films.

Underrepresentation in Hollywood

Roxanne and Deon discuss how they got their start in Hollywood. They both loved movies and wanted to make the kind of movies they wanted to see. One of their goals was to give opportunities to underrepresented communities in Hollywood, namely the African American community. Kevin Goetz touches on a project that he is bringing to historically black colleges and universities that aims to expose students in these communities to the business of market research in film and television.

The Cheat Code and making movies for a diverse audience

Deon talks about audience testing and how he has come to believe it is like a cheat code for making a better movie. The discussion shifts to “the culture” and how Hollywood underserved the African American community in the past. The trio discusses how cultural shifts and trends cross racial barriers and how this affects filmmaking and audience testing in the wake of the MeToo Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The importance of allies

Roxanne and Deon discuss the vision of Hidden Empire Film Group and their goal of making movies for everyone. They talk about the importance of allies and how striving to work with everyone allows them to create more opportunities for underrepresented people in Hollywood, and makes good business sense.

But we’re doing it. And that’s why I’m saying look at this. And look, it would be very easy for us to be like, man, we just go make our own movies and we’re going to be black and we’re going to make sure everything is black. And no, our job is to create allies. Get in the sandbox with everybody else. Work with everyone else to create more opportunity. And then inside those great opportunities bring up more people. Because I can’t make a movie with just…oh, it’s got to be just everybody.

– Deon Taylor

The highs and lows of audience screen testing

Deon tells the story of the audience test screening for The Intruder and touches on the range of emotions that filmmakers go through in the audience testing process. The trio discusses other audience testing experiences, including a film that tested great and one that didn’t test well.

Sage Advice

Kevin asks Roxanne to offer a piece of sage advice to a young person who wants to get their start in film. Roxanne discusses the benefits of education and film school, but also how education differs from the real-life experience on a movie set.

…this business is very unique, and you have to have thick skin and you have to constantly motivate yourself, you know? And so if you go to school and learn these fundamentals, it does not prepare you for being on set. It’s a totally different beast. And so it could either make you or it could break you.

– Roxanne Taylor

Join Kevin and his guests, the visionary producer and director team of Roxanne and Deon Taylor, and listen in on this wide-ranging discussion of race and representation in Hollywood. Learn how the pair created a film company with the goal of creating opportunities and bringing people up while appealing to diverse audiences across multiple genres. Listen in on this fascinating discussion, and enjoy some insider stories on Kevin’s podcast, Don’t Kill the Messenger!

Don’t Kill the Messenger, hosted by movie and entertainment research expert Kevin Goetz, brings his book Audienceology to life. This bi-monthly podcast takes a peek behind the filmmaking curtain as Kevin talks with famous filmmakers, studio executives, stars, and other creatives about movies, filmmaking, audience test screenings, and much more.

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