We here at Felon always keep our ears to the street. So when we heard that one of today’s young, up and coming movie directors Lawrence Page, otherwise known as LP, wanted to speak his mind, we got on our grind and made it happen.
F: You’re in the film industry, you’ve done a bunch of music videos as well as feature films.
LP: Not a bunch, a few of them. Special requests and shit. I normally won’t do them, you know what I mean? F: Is it normally, you have to do videos?
LP: Fuck that. Hollywood [will] just look at you and fucking laugh when you tell them that you done two thousand videos. How you going to shoot your first feature? Some guys get away with it and make it work and some guys don’t. F: What got you into film? What made you want to be a director?
LP: I didn’t like where film was going when I was younger. I was watching it in theaters. When I watched “Menace II Society,” it was cool but “Straight Outta Brooklyn,” I seen that. That really changed my life, know what I mean? I watched that movie, I’m like what I seen, that shit a little bit better than , I can do something on a better tip know what I mean, that was one that broke my life, broke my career, that was the starting point right there. F: Who are your inspirations as far as directors?
LP: A few of them, yeah. I like Spike, you know what I mean, he’s cool. F: So what do you think about Spike, he kinda gone into a new direction right now, like with this new movie that came out. Are you going to check it out?
LP: Of course yeah. First things first, gotta see that, for sure.
F: Do you think that writing gives you an edge as a director?
LP: Yeah, ‘cause I write. So when I write, I create characters itself, so I really know exactly who I want and how I would be able to pull it off. F: How’d you learn how to direct? Is it something you learn or do you have to be born with it?
LP: The motherfucking street taught me how to do this. Growing up with the production system, watching cats do their thing at film fests. I worked with Screen Gems for many years in the production system, so the cable guy always had to hold the cable. Ever since I held that cable, I always got my eye on the camera and watching the director and watching his moves. That’s how I pretty much learned, from that. I had it in me, but I think you have to have it in you before you just go out there. Especially street, the street is mine when it comes to the film shape. I was born with this shit in me, so put a script in front of me [and] that’s it. The streets is mine, especially New York. The cats had to put it down here who was filming a long time is really nobody. I think it’s the west coast that is really putting it down. “Menace” is one of the biggest films over there, you got all the big directors over there in the west coast, ain’t nothing really happening over here. Despite on a whole other genre, we really haven’t had no body to put down street film except for LP.
F: Why do you think that we don’t get a lot of urban films in the movie theaters? I mean, straight to DVD is fine but a lot of these movies really deserve to be on the big screen.
LP: Of course I think they’re meant to be on the big screen, but a lot of times it’s the actors in the movies putting the movies on break. We really have to convince Hollywood that we go out there and watch films. I think if [an urban] film does go to the theater, everybody really needs to go see it that first weekend, so we can prove to Hollywood that we have staying power in theaters just as well as DVD. That’s probably the biggest problem, to put a bankable actor starring in a role so we can get more people to come see it. If we put somebody small they not going to really back their shit, so you go to DVD and see if you make a bunch of money. And if you make a bunch of money on DVD eventually they gonna tell you! You got the streets, you got the credibility, and they throw them dope budgets. F: How important is, ‘cause I see that this movie was scored by the RZA and you also had your hand in the music, how important is the music?
LP: To me the music is very important. To me music is something that goes hand in hand [with film]. I got to be able to feel that shit, I got to be able to visualize when I write. I write [with] music in my head. Before I put a scene down, I put on music. I’ll try to get that feel, like the jazzy blues feel. I rock to some jazz for a while, I have all my cribs lined up ‘cause it bring more ideas to my head and that same way I attack it when I edit it. Go get that same music, and lay it right back in there and watch it come together like a marriage and that’s what I was dealing with RZA. I was telling him the same thing, we bumped heads a few times because he was doing something different and I wanted it to be
more like, I wanted to be more of a street type. He was a little bit off but we had to bring nice back, so we was doing his thing, I told him we have to get a little bit more street on this one and [he] came back with some shit and blazed the hell out of it.
F: So “Confessions of a Call Girl” is still in production right now?
LP: Yeah we starting that right now. F: Who’s starring in it?
LP: We haven’t even cast yet. We’re casting right now, we’re in the process of casting, we have a few people in mind. It’s deep, it’s different. I want to be able to show women that I can make films for them just as well, besides street films, put something big and broad out there we don’t have those types of films that shows professional blacks having problems behind closed doors. Everybody thinks professional blacks is like the Cosby’s, ain’t supposed to see no problems. Bill Cosby even got accused of hitting that, you know what I’m saying? ‘Cause there always problems and not just levels in life. “Confessions of a Call Girl” is about a doctor who is married to a lawyer, she was sleeping with clients for 10 to 20 thousands dollars a night she had an addictive problem with sleeping with these men. It came from her mom, I don’t wanna give the story away but it comes back from when she was a child, so I just really wanna bring that out and show the world like the problems that we can have and [that] an addiction can happen in every form. It starts crack, starts coke, starts drinking it starts whatever, “Confessions of a Call Girl,” that’s gonna be the biggest one of the year. F: One of the things that we try to do here at Felon is help out our friends in the hood, like our boys with their past history. They really can’t get a job anywhere. How open are you to hiring people to help out around the film crew, or even like taking one under your wing, showing them about
the industry? Did anyone reach out to you and try to teach you some of the industry?
LP: They never reached out to me. Like I said, my first job was on a A+ video and, shit, I walked on set and starting picking up cans and papers and putting it in the garbage and shit. I was just cleaning up the set, they thought I was the P.A. They thought I belonged there. That was like my first job, that’s how I really got in the game and from that, the guy said your pretty good, I like that and from there I started doing a lot of other things but sometimes you gotta step up to the plate and take it. A cat gotta come up to me and say “Yo, you know, what I really wanna do is this.” And the most important thing is to be able to stand on your feet for a lot of hours, ‘cause a lot of times they want to do it, then they get tired, they don’t want to take directions, they don’t want to block traffic for fucking eight hours. So it’s a dirty business and they gotta be willing to put that work in, run and get caught for 35 takes, it’s just a bunch of shit. Yeah, a lot of people look at films as mad niggas has done that different, a lot of “he do that” and a lot of “she do that”, and making a film you have to always remember there’s a budget, and when you have a budget there’s certain things you can’t shoot. Like if I wanted to show someone jumping off the roof, and I couldn’t use a stunt double and cable to hold that person from jumping off the roof, I gotta track that shot. And especially independent film making, you got to give us a break because is so much work put into it to make a decent film, and not to the point where it’s independent where it was shot with like bullshit cameras. We try to make sure that we shoot with the best cameras that Hollywood uses, to give us that best look. Like we shot
Felon Magazine Issue #12 p.36-37