Antoine Allen, Filmmaker: Master P did it (he’s a rapper), Cash Money they did it, 50 Cent did it, Jay-Z did it because they built their own table…
Film Courage: Antoine, when you were in the music industry how often was the most successful artist the most talented?
Antoine: Not so much because a lot of times it’s politics, sometimes politics override talent. Nowadays I tell people being talented is not enough. You can’t be a one-trick-pony. You’ve got to do different things. When I was in the music business there were so many talented people but they didn’t get their shot because they didn’t know this person. This is a little politics game so a lot of times the people didn’t get a shot. It really came down to them not knowing someone. You have some people that actually made it but they fade out. Now it’s a business of politics. If you’re talented it’s a bonus, but it’s a lot of politics in any type of organization.
Film Courage: Can we break down what politics means to the music industry?
Antoine: Yes, with any industry sometimes an individual is really talented (like really talented artists) but they don’t play the politics game. It could be you don’t have a lot of money to pay a DJ, you don’t know the certain producer, you’re not willing to sacrifice your morals to get to the next level. This is in all fields. This is in a regular job sometimes, you have a boss that wants to take advantage of you to get to the next level. That’s back to my point about knowing yourself because there are a lot of leeches out there, a lot of predators out there in all industries and in life (that’s the politics)…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Award-winning filmmaker Antoine Allen had dreams like any other kid growing up, and it was those same dreams that allowed him to break through every obstacle in his path. Despite growing up poor in Jamaica, Queens, Allen was already rich with potential. Refusing to let this define his future, he moved forward with a passion, drive, and tireless dedication that has now become synonymous with the Antoine Allen brand.
Allen began his career in the music industry, successfully managing hip-hop artists for many years. During that time, he had several experiences that opened his eyes to the fact that he had more to offer. It was at this time that the phrase “dream big or don’t dream at all” really hit hard.
Forgoing the traditional film school route, he began educating himself on all creative, technical, and business aspects of the process and never looked back. Allen transformed himself into a successful writer, director, filmmaker and producer. He sold his first screenplay,
No Where Land an animated feature film in 2008. As an award-winning director, Allen has gone on to be involved in a variety of film and music video projects.
In the summer of 2010, Allen made his directorial debut with Split Decision a narrative short film exploring love, rejection and motivation, which he also wrote and produced. He took promotions into his own hands, launching a highly successful social media campaign. The trailer alone received over twenty-one thousand views on YouTube and countless ‘Likes’ on Facebook, all culminating in the Split Decision world premiere. The opening screening in New York City sold out. This should have come as no surprise since Allen sold out a premiere to a 3-minute music video that he had previously directed. On a personal level, the film allowed him to draw from his own experiences of beating the odds when life got tough, and was an experience that brought Allen full circle.
His most recent project, a full-length feature film Life Is Too Short (2015) premiered to another crop of sold out audiences and has been honored with multiple awards and film festivals selections.
Aside from pursuing his creative projects, Allen has devoted a great deal of his time inspiring, mentoring and giving back to his community by helping young entrepreneurs and artists achieve the bigger dreams that they have for themselves. This is a reflection of the extent and impact that one person can have within their surroundings.
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