Kellie R. Griffin: 'My time with Tyler was difficult!'
LAPACAZO SANDOVAL Special to the AmNews | 3/21/2013, 1:22 p.m.
Every time I thought the ride was over, something incredible has happened, sometimes in the final hour, to keep it going and make it even more exciting. So I don't know what's next, but I'm just enjoying the ride. That's faith.
AmNews: How did you deal with negative people?
KG: As crazy as it might sound, even with the success I've had, I'm still working through not feeling like I'm enough ... funny enough, smart enough, creative enough. And it's not necessarily because of my peers; it's more something that I put on myself.
Not settling--for lack of a better word--to simply be a Black writer on BET or TV One, but striving to just be a writer who can compete at the level of major networks. And at times, I do feel like I'm on the wrong path. But then something or someone confirms for me that I'm right where I'm supposed to be right now.
AmNews: Perry, in my opinion, is an excellent role model because he has tenacity. What pearls [of wisdom] did you learn working with him in the beginning of his growing television empire?
KG: Fortunately avnd unfortunately, my time with Tyler was difficult. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
Initially, it was the blind leading the blind. He had never had a TV show before--or even worked in TV--and I had never been a head writer before.
He knew what he wanted, but not how to execute it properly. And his focus was more on quantity, as opposed to quality, so we weren't always on the same page as far as how to tell a good story. But at the same time, especially since we shot three episodes a week, I learned how to write exceptionally fast, and I can literally make something out of nothing. Because of his high demands and sometimes outrageous expectations, I was forced to think of new ways to do things, but within a certain budget and other limited resources.
He wanted to keep things "old school" like "Good Times," "Sanford and Son," "The Jeffersons," etc., where entire episodes took place within one set. I hated that at first, but now I know I'm a better writer today because that forced me to not rely on sets to tell my stories, but rather the characters ... Although I don't think he set out to intentionally teach me that lesson. He was just trying to save a few bucks.
AmNews: Wow. Thank you for your honesty. So what did you enjoy about creating "Reed Between the Lines"? How do you keep it fresh?
KG: At this time I'm no longer involved with the day-to-day of "RBTL." I'm still the creator and still get checks, but I have no input on the show, so keeping it fresh isn't up to me. But with Tracee Ellis Ross not returning either, the second season will definitely have a new look.
As for what I enjoy most about creating a show, it's growing and evolving with the characters. In film, you have a beginning, middle and end all within two hours. But in TV, the development is endless ... until you get cancelled. But you know what I mean. You can go in any direction as fast or as slow as you'd like because you don't have to have it all figured out up front--like life.
AmNews: Do you have any film plans? If so, can you share?
KG: I keep trying to write features, but they always end up as pilots because I don't want them to end. But soon I will write one and make sure it remains a feature.
KG: You're welcome. And thank you for even wanting me to do this.