In a recent gathering led by Kibi, a space was created for the insightful perspectives of Kemp, shedding light on the intricacies of Hollywood, creativity, and the journey to success. Jasmine, LA events coordinator, kicked off the discussion, introducing Kemp as the first black director at Pixar, celebrated for his work on the mesmerizing film, “Soul,” and the groundbreaking “Into the Spider-Verse” series.
The conversation delved into Kemp’s creative process and the inspiration behind his work. He shared a desire to tell the story of Sam Cooke, a musical legend whose influence predated Motown. Kemp admired Cooke’s Afro during a time of rocking perms and noted the impact of Malcolm X on the artist’s journey.
Reflecting on his own experiences, Kemp spoke about navigating different rooms, drawing parallels between his journey as a journalist and Sam Cooke’s slow but impactful growth. He emphasized tearing down barriers and bringing about change from within, even if it meant being the only black face in the room.
One significant turning point for Kemp was his encounter with a Sam Cooke obsessive. This encounter led to a spec script that earned him his first agent, highlighting the importance of seizing unexpected opportunities.
The discussion shifted to Kemp’s approach to the next level in one’s career. Kemp emphasized the need to be honest about one’s goals and highlighted the inevitable role of failure in the journey to success. He shared personal experiences of being fired and the struggle to fit into writers’ rooms, ultimately finding his voice in screenwriting.
Kemp’s authenticity continued as he addressed the concept of the “next level.” He candidly admitted to not taking overall deals, preferring the high-risk, high-reward path. He stressed the importance of being true to oneself and not fearing failure. According to Kemp, the creative life is the healthiest life, and success often comes after embracing numerous failures.
The conversation touched on Kemp’s family life and the impact of his creative career on his children. He admitted to the selfish nature of creative work and the uncertainty it brings. However, he encouraged aspiring creatives to find satisfaction in what moves them rather than seeking perfection.
Insights into Kemp’s writing process were also shared, emphasizing the importance of research and living life to feed creativity. Kemp encouraged writers to step out of their bubbles and experience the world firsthand, as every experience contributes to creative expression.
The session concluded with Kemp addressing questions from the audience, offering advice to young writers, and sharing his hopes for the future. Kemp’s journey serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us all to embrace failures, stay true to ourselves, and find fulfillment in the creative process. The blog post only scratches the surface of the wisdom and insights shared by Kemp, leaving us eager for more conversations that bring us closer to understanding the magic behind the creative journey.