Supervising Producer, The Tyler Perry Co.
Atlanta. Age: 39
When Roger Bobb saw Spike Lee’s movie, She’s Gotta Have It, in 1986, it crystallized his career goals. “I credit Spike Lee with motivating me to pursue a career in film,” explains Bobb, supervising producer with The Tyler Perry Co. in Atlanta. “I realized that an African-American can and does make successful movies. The film, and [Lee’s] struggles to make it, sort of demystified the whole filmmaking process for me.”
Bobb, who was born in London and raised in Brooklyn, tried the traditional educational path, studying film at Brooklyn College and the School of Visual Arts. But he abandoned that path in 1996 when he was accepted into the Directors Guild of America’s Assistant Director Trainee Program. The year-long program trains applicants not only to help directors achieve their vision for a film, but also to ensure that the film is made on time and on budget. Bobb had the opportunity to work with top-notch directors, including Woody Allen, Robert Altman, and James Mangold.
A decade later, Bobb has been the producer or assistant director on more than 40 feature films, TV programs and music videos. Opportunity came knocking in 2004, when Tyler Perry approached Bobb to be the assistant director on his film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which was based on the popular stage play.
“Meeting Tyler came at a perfect time for me,” Bobb explains. “After working on several ‘Black’ films that I was not very proud of, I wanted to work on a project that I could feel good about and that my community could embrace.”
The collaboration was so successful that Bobb produced Perry’s next film, Madea’s Family Reunion, in 2005. It broke box office records during its opening weekend, grossing $30 million. Bobb, who is determined to make Atlanta “Hollywood South,” is also producing Perry’s new sitcom, House of Payne, and an independent film, Preaching to the Choir, scheduled to be released this spring. Another personal career goal for Bobb is to direct a documentary about the legacy of the African-American family.