It’s been a day full of action here at Xerocon Atlanta. We chose Atlanta, Georgia to play host to Xerocon in the Americas this year because of its energy. So it was only fitting that we brought in keynote speaker, Will Packer, to bring his trademark zest to Xerocon.
Will welcomed attendees to his town in his keynote. A hugely successful producer, Will’s films including Girls’ Trip, Stomp The Yard and more have collectively grossed $1 billion. In sharing stories along his journey to the top, Will had a simple message for his audience: never give up.
A self-professed nerd – at school Will was really good at math and science. And while locally there was a push to get minorities into STEM, Will foresaw a different path for himself. Will and his college friend made a couple of small films, but it wasn’t until he got in the door at a film studio and pitched a film with unrelenting persistence that he was successful. That film was Stomp The Yard.
“I had the intense resolve, ‘I will not accept no’,” Will said. “If I have learned anything in my journey it is to literally never, ever give up.”
Will is a true advocate for the idea that nobody who has accomplished things in life, has done so without failing. His philosophy is that failure is okay, and is part of the road to success.
On Will’s film, Straight Outta Compton, which features Ice Cube’s son playing the role of Ice Cube – technology played an important part. Although Ice Cube wasn’t on set, Will explained that Ice Cube was able to offer his son notes via video conferencing. Will said the film wouldn’t have been what it was without it. He explained why, although he thinks technology makes the impossible possible – there is the one element that is vital in the equation.
“I see where technology is great – it allows us to do things that we wouldn’t have always been able to do,” Will said. “But above everything else is the human element. It all boils down to the human element.”
“Technology unlocks our potential to think about how we can do things better,” Will said. “We’re now better connected and more efficient than ever. At the end of the day how we use technology is what will separate us from our competitors. You put on top of that your drive and combine that with the right talent, the right platform and the right timing. You take that human element and combine it with the right platform.”
Will left audience members with a mantra that everyone can use. He said that the value that we give external people unfairly affects the way we see ourselves.
“Every morning I wake up and tell myself how great I am, that I am enough, I’ve got the skills, I’ve got what it takes and today is going to go great,” Will said. “If you start your day with the most important voice – yours – it will drown out the other negativity. And sometimes that’s all you need.”