After visiting the Fox Lot for the LA advance screening of The Darkest Minds we were able to join an exclusive Q & A Panel with none other than Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Actor Skylan Brooks, which was put on for the students of Ghetto Film School. The film is now playing.
The Knockturnal: Now Jennifer, what is one thing that you want the audience to take with them after watching ‘The Darkest Minds’?
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): I think it’s really important, that sense of uplifting empowerment, that finding your voice, finding the control you have over your own destiny. I think it’s very important for the younger generation, face of the world that we’re in now, this is now the world that you’re going to inherit and that sense of empowerment that it’s all up to you to decide what your world is going to be like.
The Knockturnal: Why did you decide to direct a live-action instead of continuing with animation?”
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): Well I’ve always thought in live action. And I think it’ll surprise people to know that, considering I’ve worked in animation for so long, I’ve never really understood animation. Yeah, it’s kind of weird. I wasn’t trained in animation, I always thought in live action film and I literally would have to put it through a filter in my head to animate it. And live action production doesn’t require that.
“Now there was a really interesting quote that I heard throughout the movie… he [Clancy] had a really dope quote, he said in the movie ‘you can’t control what scares you, the fear will always get in the way’, so I wanna know from both of you guys; has there ever been something that scared you but now you’re like in control of?”
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): Public speaking.
Skylan Brooks (Chubs): The fear of not really knowing what’s next. Especially, just being an actor in the industry like you just don’t know what’s coming next. A big thing was I knew I couldn’t control it in the first place, so I knew that whatever’s gonna happen you just give it your best and that’s all you can do when you leave the room.
The Knockturnal: Do you like film versus tv, I know it’s hard for an actor to respond to that but what do you prefer?
Skylan Brooks (Chubs): My heart is always with film because that’s where I started, and I love tv… but I know that in film there’s a sense of gathering yourself and being really focused and in depth with your character and relationship which I like to transform and really go there with it. That’s just personally my opinion. I’m a film guy.
The Knockturnal: What was the hardest artistic choice?
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): You’re talking about every single day. Everyday. There’s just constant compromises. What can you afford to do? What you have time to do? What you can physically do…without killing someone? Like for instance, there are so many great action scenes in the book that I couldn’t fit into the movie.
The Knockturnal: As a director are there some other milestones you’re looking to achieve?
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): I would like to go full hard-core action at some point, like REALLY.
The Knockturnal: What’s some common good practices you would give to young content creator trying to create and put projects out into the world?
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): I think one of the things that’s interesting about this industry, because it is an industry, is how to sort of keep that passion and the thing that makes you unique in the face of all this industry. And I think the important thing is; always have your hobby so that you don’t bend that hobby to the needs of the job and also don’t take anything positive or negative too seriously. Because that’ll help you keep your path so that you don’t veer away from what your original passion and intent was.”
The Knockturnal: What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to a fresher actor?
Skylan Brooks (Chubs): I would say the biggest, or just the best advice is there’s, I hear this a lot, and there’s a lot of ‘No’s, a lot of ‘No’s, always ‘No’s, I get ‘No’s to this day, but I had people who reminded me that ‘No’s lead to ‘Yes’s. There’s always something for you, and a lot of times you have to make it yourself.
The Knockturnal: I know it’s pretty soon to ask but just the way the movie ended do you think we can expect a sequel?
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): You have to talk to Fox…
The Knockturnal: If you had the opportunity, would you go forward with it?
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Director): Absolutely, because one of the things that I loved about making this film was the people that I made it with. One thing that I loved seeing was how the four kids in the van; Skylan, Amandla, Harris and Miya, those four created a friendship that was real, and I would love to see the four of them get back together.