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Notebook and Pencil

Did I Tell You about That Time I Wanted to Do a Sabbatical with Tyler Perry? Guess What Happened?

When I earned tenure, I decided I wanted to learn more about media and the power of media.

I drafted and mailed a letter to Tyler Perry Studios in May 2013 (I found the address online), convinced that I was going to be on the set of all the Tyler Perry Studio productions doing my sabbatical and learning the ins and outs of movie production.

I wrote the letter below and called the studio, but I couldn't even talk to anyone beyond the operator. I'm sure that letter ended up in a garbage can.

Although that particular dream didn't manifest, my dreams never died. I found new ways to engage, and I have sought media resources out for myself. Although I never made it to Tyler Perry Studios, I am learning tips that are building a brand that is bigger than I could have imagined at that time.

Never give up on your dreams, even if you don't pass the telephone operator.


Dear Mr. Perry,

My name is Monica F. Cox, and I am an Associate Professor in (Department) at (University). Several weeks ago I called your Studio and talked to someone about the possibility of my taking a six-month sabbatical (at no cost to you) at Tyler Perry Studios (TPS). Unlike a traditional sabbatical in which I might spend my time as a visiting scholar at another university, I have decided to think “out of the box” and to engage with staff at TPS in an effort to learn of ways that I might incorporate real-world media expertise into my world of engineering education.

Inspired by your ability to provide wholesome ent