INsite Magazine

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Director Brett Ratner speaks at UF

Last night, we attended a talk by Brett Ratner—acclaimed director of the Rush Hour series, X-Men 3, Money Talks, Red Dragon and Family Man—at the University Auditorium. Ratner, November’s ACCENT speaker, explained to a crowd of about 200 what it's like to lead a lavish rockstar life, and how his ambition and take-charge attitude allowed him to become one of the highest grossing directors in Hollywood.

"I didn’t expect this to happen to me," Brett said in his 45-minute speech. "My dream was to only make movies … I never wanted the expensive house, the supermodel friends, or any of that. I just wanted to make movies and tell a story." To accomplish his dream, Ratner began making short films when he was eight years old; by 10 he gave up doing homework and spent all his time directing. After skipping two grades, Ratner graduated from high school at 16 and applied to NYU to follow in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese. Despite his low grades and young age, Brett used his charm and personality to get into NYU.

"I learned early on that it takes more than just talent," Brett said. "Ninety percent effort and 10 percent talent will get your farther than 90 percent talent and 10 percent effort." Through networking, Ratner met hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who offered him a spot directing music videos. Since then, he has directed more than 100 videos for artists like Madonna, Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Wu Tang Clan, Jay-Z and P.Diddy.

"Throughout the whole ordeal, I learned to never take ‘No’ for an answer. You just have to love what you do and be passionate about it," he said. Ratner also owns Rat Records, Rat Press (a publishing company), Rat Entertainment (a production company), a corporate branding company called Brett Ratner Brandsm, and (a Web site that showcases his music videos, commercials and short films).

"I’m constantly learning," he said. "I use commercials and music videos as an opportunity to use a new piece of equipment or use a technique that I’ve never used. Every time I make a movie, I experiment. Everything I do is a learning experience."

—Attiyya Anthony

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