When I first came to Los Angeles in 1995, I had no idea what development was. I had been a successful stage actor and theater producer in Boston but I had always had a fascination with film and dove in headfirst.
My first job was at Summit Entertainment, first as a script reader and then an assistant in the creative department. It was then that I learned the outsized importance of the “gatekeepers,” those hard-working folks on the frontlines who are the first – and often last – audience that a script ever has.
My work at Summit brought me to the attention of two investors who hired me away to help them form a new independent production company, Newmarket Films. I took on the job of creative director and brought in a filmmaker friend as head of production. In our blissful ignorance, the first film we developed and produced together had no stars, half of it was black and white, and the structure was a horse shoe-shaped puzzle box. It was called “Memento,” and it was the second feature of a neophyte auteur named Christopher Nolan. It was bold and daring and I was terrifically proud of it.
And then nobody in the business wanted to distribute it.
Fortunately, Newmarket Films stood behind the film and built a distribution arm to support it. So began Newmarket’s run of indie classics, including “Donnie Darko,” “Monster,” “Whale Rider,” “The Prestige,” “The Mexican,” “Stander,” “The Boondock Saints,” “Hesher,” and “The Passion of the Christ.” I have been a zealous apostle of independent film ever since.
The entertainment industry has changed radically in the 20 years I’ve been working at it, and the changes have been overwhelmingly for the better for new storytellers. Not since the early silent era has the playing field been so fundamentally level. If you love film as I do, if you have always dreamed of telling stories as I have, your time is now. Hit me up. Tell me a story.