February 25, 2010

Definitely Not a Broke Back

The Pohlad family has an entire chapter in the book of Minnesota lore.  Most notably, Carl Pohlad (1915-2009) owned the hometown diamond nine, the Minnesota Twins, since 1984, winning two world series in the process.  Carl’s youngest son, William, produced Oscar dandy, Brokeback Mountain, when other production companies fled in fear.  Now, 54-year-old Bill Pohlad is a significant player in Hollywood while keeping his roots in Minnesota.

This article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune paints Bill Pohlad as a soft-spoken but motivated movie mogul whose most recent venture is destined for success in the new age of movie distribution.

Now if I can just find his coattails and grab on…

February 20, 2010


“Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct” – Thomas Carlyle

Oh the fine line between exhibiting conviction and exhibiting stubbornness.  Those able to persist on the good side of that line are poised for success while those stuck on the wrong side are doomed to alienation.  Anyone building a house of conviction on a foundation of stubbornness will soon find themselves without shelter.  Those are dangerous folks.

“Conviction without experience makes for harshness” – Flannery O’Connor

At times I feel my conviction is translucent when it should be opaque, and other times I wonder if I should just keep my tail between my legs and nod along in agreement.  It’s a balancing act.  I don’t want to be a yes-man, but until I’m a go to man, my self loyalty will have to take a backseat to career-progressing conformity.

Then again, many success stories are built on conviction originally perceived as stubbornness.  The roundtable discussion in the following video from the LA Times features James Cameron, Jason Reitman, Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels, and Quentin Tarantino each discussing a moment in their careers when sticking to their convictions led to success.  The stories are inspiring if not jealousy-inducing, but for every one of these success stories, I imagine there are hundreds of opposite stories where conviction was merely senile stubbornness.

How does one stay true to personal conviction without falling into stubborn opposition to the status quo?  Observe.  Reflect.  Adjust.  And learn from those whose success speaks for itself.


February 15, 2010


Pilar and Aadip mentioned the Movie Bytes website on a recent On the Page podcast.  I remember bookmarking the site no less than an eon ago, but I hadn’t visited since.  Turns out it’s the source for screenwriting contests and it appears to be a useful community for screenwriters to network, consult, opine, and vent.

Maybe see you there…

February 9, 2010

Predict the Oscars – Win Final Draft Software!

StoryLink is sponsoring an Oscar prediction contest.  The winner gets the latest Final Draft software.  I’m ready to upgrade from Final Draft 7, so what the heck…

February 2, 2010


“You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others.  That’s the mark of a true professional.” – Joe Paterno

Each project on which I work has its own highs and lows, pros and cons, ups and downs.  Some have more of the formers, many have more of the latters.  Time on set of my most recent was all up, pro, and high.

I was blessed with the opportunity to shoot a spec pilot for talented child actor, Joseph Castanon.  General free reign over the project was granted to me.  I wrote several sketches for the Saturday Night Live meets The Tonight Show program for kids and we shot the sketches along with some interviews over a perfect-weather weekend at the end of January in Los Angeles.

My DP, Nick Evert, one of my mainstay collaborators, accompanied me.  He and I have done our share of work in the Twin Cities and we were both excited for the new project but still a little concerned about the potential attitudes we’d be facing in Hollywood.  Our worries were completely dismissed as the kids and their parents with whom we worked proved to be more professional, more polite, and more talented than we could even have dreamed they’d be.

I can’t put into words how impressed I was with Joseph, Ryan Ochoa and his brothers Robert and Raymond, and Sammi Hanratty.  They each have more real credits than pretty much everyone else with whom I’ve directly worked.  Funny thing is, I’ve worked with people with a few commercials or student films under their belts and they behave as if they’re King Poop of Turd Island.

Mr. Paterno’s assessment of professionalism is incomplete.  A true professional not only performs at a consistently higher level than others, but the true professional does so while maintaining humility, embracing empathy, and always looking to give more than receive.  These kids get it.