Tim Reid keeps it real at film screening

A self-admitted product of his community, actor, producer and filmmaker Tim Reid believes that his motivation to produce his own films comes from the neighborhoods of his youth.

“It was bred in me,” said the star of the television sitcom “Sister-Sister.” He was speaking of his childhood in segregated Norfolk, Va. “I grew up in a very independent community.”

Reid said because the community of his youth had its own self-sustaining economy, it wasn’t hard for him to decide to make his own product.

The product, New Millennium Studios, is a full-service film venue that Reid founded with his wife Daphne Maxwell-Reid.

While Reid is commonly remembered for his roles in shows such as “Venus Fly-trap,” “WKRP in Cincinnati” and “Frank’s Place.” He has been a writer, producer and director throughout his 30-year career.

Reid’s latest film “For Real” is an attempt to explore the dynamics of the old school/new school cultural clash.

“Each film has built into it my own propaganda,” Reid said. He wants to make clear that his propaganda is a positive one. “I try to use the characters in my story to get my message across.”

Since he feels that young people confuse the purpose of filmmaking and get into the movie making business for the wrong reasons, Reid is wary of giving advice to an aspiring filmmaker.

“The drive is not to make as much money as you can. The purpose is to tell a story,” Reid said. ” If a young person comes to me and says ‘I want to make a movie’ I usually tell them, don’t. But if they come to me and say ‘I want to tell a story,’ then I’ll help them.”

Reid also feels strongly about the state of the black college experience, judging from the campuses he has visited.

“I feel that the black college experience is being homogenized,” said the Norfolk State University graduate. “When I was in college, there was an energy; that energy is missing now.”

Reid, along with his wife Daphne, will screen his film “For Real” on Friday at Lee Hall Auditorium; show time is at 6:30 p.m. He will also host a symposium, titled “Tim Reid & the Business of Show,” on Saturday at 11 a.m., also in Lee Hall.

Reid explained that in his seminar he confronts the issues of old school versus new school culture, new filmmakers who are in the business for the wrong reason and the lack of passion on modern college campuses today.

“(In my symposium) there are no Sacred Cows,” he asserts.

Concerned about what he feels is a tremendous change to the character of historically black college and universities, as well as other traditional colleges and universities, Reid challenges the students he visits to be free thinkers by confronting them.

“Today’s college campuses are some of the most politically correct, conservative and passionless establishments in the community.”

Reid desires to use works such as “For Real” to bridge the gap between different generations, so he hopes that people of all backgrounds will come to the film screening and the symposium.

“Tell everyone to come out. We’ll really mix things up.”

Garrison L. Vereen II can be reached at garrisonvereen2@hotmail.com