Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying the fact that Tyler Perry is wildly successful. But have you ever asked yourself why Tyler Perry is successful? Okay, I know that many actually have dissected the reasons behind his rise to uber-success (especially on Facebook), and the reasons they give usually ring of words like “chitlin’ circuit”, “self-hatred”, “cooning” and “homosexual agenda”. I ain’t even about to go there.
Because the fundamental answer is actually so much simpler than any of those things.
Tyler Perry knows his audience.
He knows them inside out. He’s watched them from the stage, from behind the stage, he was raised by them, he lived next door to them, and most importantly he listens to them. And then he delivers what they want. It’s really that simple.
People argue about so many aspects of Tyler. They don’t like how he does this. They think he should do that. Some even think that he should disappear altogether. But the mere fact that he’s here at all is due to the fact that he gives his people what they want.
It’s also why he’s been able to successfully expand outside of “his” people with shows like If Loving You Is Wrong and Too Close to Home. Tyler not only knows what old black church ladies want, he knows what nighttime soap watchers want because in actuality, these audiences often intersect. Mainstream didn’t know it, but Tyler did. That’s why their nighttime soaps ratings floundered while his continue to soar.
Tyler knows Miss Laura and Auntie Sister and Big Mama, and he knows that after came home from the church trip to see “Madea Has A Baby”, they watched shows like Dynasty, Dallas, at least back in the day when those shows came on. And he knows that in the day time, they like to catch Young and Restless and Days of our Lives, or as they called them, their “stories”.
Tyler doesn’t listen to the critics and naysayers. He writes for his tribe.
Tyler knows his audience and he gives them their stories.
Find your audience and give them theirs.
This writing tip was inspired by the Hollywood Reporter’s latest interview with Tyler Perry.