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Journey to the Producers Guild of America – PGA
"There is something, for me, about looking through a camera lens that helps me frame the world and compose it as I choose,” says this boyishly handsome man who is often found moving behind the scenes of major blockbuster films and indies or photographing beautiful people in Hollywood. "I aim that lens, create a frame and narrow my vision to focus on a single subject; from there, I take that vision and illuminate it, put my spin or art on it."
His vision from behind the lens, and his endurance, has paid off. His early films, including The Firm, Vanilla Sky, Jerry Maguire, Interview with the Vampire and the Mission Impossible series saw him in a wide range of assisting roles, learning his craft and the many facets of filmmaking. "Many people do not fully understand what a producer does," he says. "Producing means making a product, causing it to exist; it can encompass anything involved in making that happen.” He adds, “The best producers are highly-motivated problem-solvers who can conceive of and see the big picture and yet handle the minute details when required, all while communicating clearly with and across every tier of personnel involved in the production.”
He has certainly done this during his career. As an assistant to Tom Cruise, he not only learned the intricacies of filmmaking but also industry professionalism as he interacted with many top artists and executives in the film world. As an Associate Producer, he took on increasingly more responsibility and eventually, as producer and executive producer, he was in charge of the entire filmmaking process.
Today, he runs his own production company, United Pictures Group, and is currently in the process of making several new films, including Durant's Never Closes starring Tom Sizemore, which is in post-production, as well as The Out-Of-Town Wedding, Lucky Bastards, Ascension and Stand-Off. When asked how it feels to have his own company and take full responsibility for the entire process of producing his own films, he says, with a smile, "It feels great. I am a fortunate man and excited about the work, the process and the people I get to work with."
This week, he was accepted to the Producers Guild of America, an honor in the film industry. "It is a privilege to be asked to be a part of this auspicious group," he says. "It is incredibly satisfying to be with people who understand what it takes to be a successful producer and those who share that knowledge to help others."
When asked about his plans for the future, he answers, "I plan to continue to produce numerous films and focus on great stories that interest me and photograph as a creative outlet from time to time. I cannot imagine doing anything else. My production company is looking at many projects that are very diverse and, ideally, relevant. The unifying factor is that we all agree they are great scripts and will make memorable, entertaining films that we will be proud to call our own." United Pictures Group is a company to watch and is expected to produce some unique and award-worthy films over the course of the next several years.
In the meantime, he continues not only to produce great films but also to photograph during rare spare moments. "I have to confess, in addition to all the excitement of the film set, there are still times when I just go with my camera and create pictures," he says. "There is something about being behind the camera when the noise stops and you focus on the picture, composition and effect you want to create and cause it to be that is very satisfying.”