Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Hollywood writer, director, filmmaker and musician, Bo Starks who has transitioned from the hip hop music industry into the television and film industry.
Bo began his career hosting the Hood Trekker which was a lifestyle, travel, and semi reality show that aired in Philadelphia. After several seasons of starring in the series the show was offered an opportunity for national syndication. The producers of the new series wanted Bo to start rapping as an extra feature in the series. At first Bo refused and the opportunity soon fizzled away but the spark of the musical flame had been ignited.
After returning to his local series, Bo begin to record songs and fell in love with recording as a creative outlet. As a musician Bo had nominal success with several mix tapes that influenced the current music scene and even crossover and recorded an international hit with European rock stars Republic OF Loose called 99, which featured Bo. T single and the album reached the top ten charts in several countries. Bo connected with multi-platinum producers X Man, Black Nemo of Loon E Bin entertainment, and E Smitty who secured Bo a record deal with distribution through Universal, but Bo decided to go full steam into the TV and film industry and has yet to record his album.
2012 saw Bo join with several Hollywood executives to form Box Star Films. Since its inception Box Star Films have created and produced a new reality show entitled City Of Dreams: LA, they created, wrote, and produced several sitcoms Dating In Real Life and She’s The Devil to name a few, both written by Bo. These shows and other shows are being shopped to several major networks for broadcast fall 2015. Bo has also written and directed his first full length feature film Love or Laughs which is an action packed comedy adventure about several sexy friends that meet on a group date and the drama and comedy that ensues. It will be released late 2015
Norm: Good day Bo and thanks for participating in our interview.
What was your training and how did you learn to become a writer and producer of sitcoms?
Bo: I actually learned how to write by mistake. I was producing the pilot for a sitcom and couldn't find a director because the script was so bad. I told a potential director to give me 24 hours and I would give him another draft. I wrote a new draft in 22 hours and everybody loved it. I became a producer because I know how to bring people together and how to gain access. I attended college but the closest training to being a producer I had was promoting a couple parties and events. The producer and the promoter have similar jobs, they both turn ideas into realities.
Norm: Why did you transition from the hip hop music industry to the television and film industry and what motivated you to make this change?
Bo: I was actually living in a mansion and driving a fancy car but I wasn't doing what I loved. I think I was only able to see the luxury side of life so that I would be fully motivated for the grind. I like music because it allows me to express my self directly from my heart but films and television allow me to be as creative as I can imagine. Also I get to work with a lot of talented people that are all passionated about story telling.
Norm: Why have you been drawn to sitcoms? As a follow up, are there aesthetic advantages and disadvantages peculiar to the sitcom? Does it have a particular form and how much research do you do before writing your sitcoms?
Bo: I love sitcoms, and there are so many good ones that I grew up watching. Of course I love the comedy aspect as well. Silly is funny, boring is funny and sexy can be more funny. Also I like working with good actors, good actors inspire you to write better.
Aesthetically the women are all beautiful but in scripted formats actress can be silly, slip and fall, or take the pie in the face. The disadvantages are when the actors became the characters and start asking people to call them only by their characters name. I don't mind but some people get freaked out by it.
Sitcoms definitely have a unique style or form. Television is not film and a writer should not approach them the same. I like to research so I'm always checking up on other directors and writers but for my stories I have only written what I liked so far. So once I have the brilliant idea then I start to work out the characters and how they interact with each other. After I have my characters I work out the drama, then its time to write. Films its totally different though, I have to research names, jobs, and locations to make an in depth plot with lots of layers and characters that are unique but genuine.
Norm: What's your average working day like? Do you have any unusual habits/rituals?
Bo: It could be an extremely busy day of castings, followed by producers meeting, followed by script revisions, and playbacks of edited footage drafts. My unusual habits would be mediating, making sure my 7th chakra stays open, and $6 smoothies from Whole Foods.
Norm: What are your ambitions as a television and movie writer? How do you see yourself developing?
Bo: As a writer I hope to be able to engage my audience with unique and fantastical story lines. My goal in television and film is to inspire the viewers to make the world a perfect place. I've only been writing for less than a year so I hope I continue to develop into one of the premiere writers and story tellers in the industry. In this short time I've been able to have my screenplays read by some of the top actors in Hollywood and they like what I'm doing so far so hopefully when their fans get to see the projects they will love them.
The only way to develop as a writer is to keep writing. They tell writers that "writing is rewriting" and "to be a good reader you have to be a great reader." Read as many screenplays as you can, not for the ideas but to get familiar with the writing style and the formats in use.
Norm: What is Box Star Films all about and how did it get started?
Bo: Box Star Films is a television and film production company located in Hollywood, Ca. I convinced some really great guys, Federico Kurnchinski, Sadeeq Harvey, and some others to start our own company and we've been shooting ever since. At first we begin production on our reality television series City Of Dreams: LA, then we start to produce our sitcom pilots and then we got the money to shoot our first film, Love Or Laughs.
Norm: What motivated you to write your first full length film Love or Laughs and could you tell us a little about the film? As a follow up, what purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?
Bo: Love or Laughs to me is a movie that the world needs. I wanted to make something fun and adventures but yet keep it sexy and trendy. It is about a cute girl who meets a cool guy online, the guy tells her to brings some friends and it turns into one big group date. So the entire movie takes place in one night with 7 friends as they spread out and look for love. I also wanted to make a big Hollywood film with lots of high end scenes. There are several characters that are uniquely outrageous and its sure to be an instant classic.
The purpose of the movie is to bring back fun and excitement. After the audience watches this movie It will make them want to have fun for the rest of the night.
Norm: Could you briefly tell us about City of Dreams: LA and Dating In Real Life? What motivated you to write these two?
Bo:City of Dreams: LA and Dating In Real Life is a reality style docu-series about 6 women that movie to Hollywood to pursue careers in entertainment. The show follows the women on their journey and documents the drama and success that follows.
Dating In Real Life is a scripted sitcom about a failing Hollywood music executive that breaks up with his girlfriend in order to date the freaky girls he sees on TV.
I just make the best stories that I can. My motivation for every project is to make the best product. I have a lot of show ideas, even game shows and dating shows. They'll all be coming out. OK I'm motivated by having the best series in each genre.
Norm: Do you believe that the movie and theater industry promotes certain myths about African-American actors and if so, what are these myths?
Bo: I don't think so. Its all silly, good movies only deal in extreme characters. We wanted want to watch average people we want to watch the worst bad guys. I like my villains evil.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Norm: What is next for Bo Starks?
Bo: I am planning on writing a couple more features this year and also flooding the air waves with television programs.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Bo: Why do you think you have been able to do all of these things?
Because I never quit. When someone says no I get excited because know that something better is waiting for me so I look at the no place and go to a better place and get my yes. It maybe several no's but I keep going until I'm having lunch with the owner.
Thanks Norm, lets do this again.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.