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  • Writer's pictureCorinne Coleman

From Clark Atlanta University to Tyler Perry Studios

Who starts the gig of a lifetime the day after graduating from college? Who makes hit films, goes to the same college twice and graduates into the executive inner circle of Tyler Perry Studios?

Actor, Director, Producer and CAU Alum, Deance Wyatt, who visited Professor Yolanda Thompson’s Philosophy and Ethics classes during Homecoming week shared his career and life experience and how he ended up working at one of the largest film production studios in the nation- Tyler Perry Studios.

The CAU Alum has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. His first gig was when he was 11 years old.

Once he came to CAU, he wanted to keep a low profile and focus on his life as a college student. As fate would have it, during his Sophomore year, he ended up receiving a role in a major motion picture alongside two-time Oscar Award winner, Hilary Swank, in the movie “Freedom Writers.”

Professor Thompson's Philosophy and Ethics Class and Deance Wyatt. Photo Credit: Brandon Washington, CAU

His involvement in the film was supposed to be a six-month break from school but turned into a six-year hiatus. “In that time, I learned a lot about the business. I’ve been doing acting for a while, but never really locked into the business side,” Wyatt explained. After seeing another side of the industry, he shifted from acting to the production side of things, and once he refocused, he returned to CAU to finish what he started.

The day after his graduation, Wyatt immediately began working at Tyler Perry Studios. He started as a long and short form synopsis and treatment writer for Tyler Perry’s television episodes for “The Haves and the Have Nots,” as well as “If Loving You is Wrong.”

The very job he had straight out of CAU mimicked what he learned within the confines of the Mass Media Arts department. He admitted these types of assignments were not always his favorite, but he quickly learned the significance of them once working at the studio. He has since moved on to the casting dynamics for television and film productions and editing scripts and treatments directly from the desk of Tyler Perry himself.

“Mr. Perry is the only man in this nation that owns a movie production studio by himself. When you think of Paramount or Sony, those are partnerships,” the former Mass Media Arts student highlighted as he gave each class insight into the production process at Tyler Perry Studios. He further emphasized how Hollywood has not been able to compete with the studio's rapid mass production of its projects.

Professor Thompson and former student Deance Wyatt. Photo Credit: Brandon Washington, CAU

Wyatt attributed much of his success to many CAU faculty members, three of which are still teaching in the MMA department, Professors Bulloch, Lundy and Thompson.

His imparting of his unique journey only goes to show how important it is for CAU Alum to return to their alma mater and encourage future CAU Alum with their words of wisdom, encouragement and opportunities.

Opportunities, such as interning at Tyler Perry Studios, are currently in the works for CAU students. As the studio's corporate team continues to expand, CAU public relations teams are meeting with studio executives to usher a liaison for future internships. Stay tuned.

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