The Stubborn Love of Producing – A Perspective from FirstTimeFest 2013

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When Martin Scorsese speaks…listen.

Took me a while to get past writing that first line.   Seriously.  What more could I possibly say that is more important, more compelling, or exciting for a first time filmmaker?   What words could form a sentence that drives home what I want to say when Mr. Scorsese steals the show in the first line?   Hell, I’m stumped.  So, let’s just move on.

I can offer you a different story.   It’s not much.  It’s not like that first line.  And it will take more than 5 words.   So, if you don’t want to stick around…I understand.   But I hope you will, because I believe there is something very special in what we do as producers.

The year was 2005.

It was late, very late.  My best friend and I sat up in his living room in Ashburn, VA talking about our lives, our wives, movies, politics, and children.  Two things about that night I will remember forever.  He told me if I ever ran for president of the united states, he would vote for me.   Good to know, right?  Then he asked, “What _is_ the point? What are you going to do when you make these films, and they become successful—because they will, and you’ll do it—‘cause I know you.   So what happens when you get there and finish something so…big?”

I’d love to say I have a good answer for that.   I’d love to steal from those who have inspired me, the coaches and leaders that lift our spirits and say it is the journey, not the destination.  They would be right, of course.   But it’s so much more than that.

It’s not just the journey.  It’s the friends, the family, the setbacks, the miracles, the blessings, the curses, and every little detail of it that give us the choice to move forward, or the choice to give up.   Between all the producers we have probably made a thousand decisions to get to this point.   At every point keeping our eye on the stars.  Keeping to the mission.  And even when there was no clear course, we nudge forward, we chose left, then right, then straight.  Every choice our own.   Every choice getting us one step closer to now.

Choice Films and Theatricals.   That is who we are.   We choose.   And, this time, we chose well.   We choose to make great films, we choose to have a company that becomes our family, not just because we come together for the work, but in how we treat each other.   And it’s only going to get better.   Because this work is a stubborn love.  Is it a love that makes us weep.  It steals our sleep, and it starves body.  And it is as real as day and night.

We made a movie.   We accomplished a tremendous feat.  I sat back in my seat and took it all in, watching it on the big screen, wrapped up in a blanket of surround sound, and I realized that the film continues to grow.  There have been no additional cuts or edits, no tweaks.  But as I watched…I saw the characters growing, the scenes tighten, and all the while I heard the audience begin to respond to what they were experiencing.  First some laughs, then an “Ohhh,” and a “Oh my God!”

The thriller thrilled them.   As a producer, I go to my master checklist and tick the box next to, “Make sure the thriller thrilled them.”  Check.

This is my stubborn love.

Thank you to my new friends and filmmakers who inspire me to do it again, Mandy Ward, Johanna Bennett, Tony Glazer, Summer Crockett Moore, Bob Salerno, Dolly Hall, Amy Nicholson, Max Weisberg, Sophia Coppola, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Martin Scorsese.  Neil Bledsoe earned Best Actor for Junction at FirstTimeFest 2013.    JUNCTION’s Los Angeles Premiere is March 23th.

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