In a much-anticipated new memoir, Melvin Childs, former executive producer for Tyler Perry, details the incredible true story of the struggles, determination, friendship, and innovation that rocketed Tyler Perry to Hollywood domination and forever altered the course of Childs’s life. Available wherever books are sold February 17, 2012, Never Would Have Made It: The Rise of Tyler Perry, The Most Powerful Entertainer in Black America (And What It Really Took to Get Him There) is a must-read not only for Perry fans but also for hopefuls seeking to break into the entertainment industry. By recounting their journey within the industry, Childs has crafted an inspirational memoir that is part true-life story and part instructional text for aspiring entertainment entrepreneurs.
From early struggles and missteps to helping launch one of the most successful black entertainment moguls of the twenty-first century, Childs offers a fresh and honest description of the journey he and Perry embarked upon as young men. Acknowledged by Perry himself, Childs met Perry when the man the world would come to know and love as Madea was still an unknown writer searching for ways to make ends meet. Childs instantly recognized the unique talent Perry possessed and foresaw the success the playwright would have. The pair, along with another friend, soon joined forces in an effort to bring Perry’s work to the stage, with Childs providing the encouragement Perry needed to remain true to his artistic dreams and, just as importantly, taking risky chances to ensure that the business partnership had the financial backing needed to advertise and stage Perry’s work.
What resulted was the selling-out of Perry’s play, I Know I’ve Been Changed, at Atlanta’s House of Blues in 1998. Serving as executive producer of the play, Childs then went on to establish the first successful national tour of the play and, in the process, helped revolutionize modern black theater with his marketing techniques. Now, through his provocative new memoir, Childs is able to give readers a firsthand account of those days with the writer-director audiences have come to admire during a time when he still struggled for success and acceptance within his community.
Likewise, through his own highs and lows, Childs learned the ins and outs of the entertainment industry and offers advice to novices entering the business. From detailing the hardships of promoting a large production by an unknown artist to explaining the importance of controlling your projects on every level, monitoring production finances (in order to limit the possibility of misunderstandings and discord over money), and keeping an impartial and critical eye on projects, Childs recounts his misfortunes and lessons learned so that others can hopefully find a smoother path on the road to success in entertainment.
Perhaps most importantly, Childs warns of the risk one takes when the line between friendship and business is crossed. His own experiences have taught him that when a producer is forced to make an unpopular decision for business reasons, that decision can have disastrous and long-lasting repercussions on personal relationships.
“Tyler is the single most talented person I’ve ever met,” asserts Childs. “He worked hard to get where he is today, but he didn’t do it alone. He had an amazing team working with him from the beginning, and being one of the driving forces behind that original team in Atlanta, I know that I have a fascinating story to tell that can help others succeed in life by focusing on what is truly important.”
All of this and more are detailed in Never Would Have Made It. Both a critical look at the challenges one faces trying to make it in the business of entertainment and a how-to guide for newcomers, the book is already garnering praise from early readers on Amazon.com, who have called it “a revelation” for starving artists and “an excellent read” that offers the “true story of the rags to riches” behind the early days of the Tyler Perry empire.
Childs’s personal story will walk readers through each step of bringing new talent to the forefront, including what it takes — the good and the bad — to serve as mentor, friend, and financier for an unknown name in entertainment. The thrills and the pitfalls of life as a promoter and producer are revealed as Childs outlines the marketing blueprint that helped him overcome initial failure and bring Perry’s I Know I’ve Been Changed to a multimillion-dollar national tour. Moreover, Childs describes exactly what it takes to overcome adversity and disappointment and rebuild and reimagine one’s own dreams and start anew with forgiveness, compassion, and faith.
Never Would Have Made It: The Rise of Tyler Perry, The Most Powerful Entertainer in Black America (And What It Really Took to Get Him There) is available in hardcover and e-book format for $24.99 and $9.99, respectively.