The answer to this is a qualified no. It seems to me, for one thing, that I have a very strong personality and personality that I want to express in my work – the kind of attitude that one gets from producing, writing and directing a film – whereas many of the people who work in the film industry – and I’m looking at you, Alan Arkin – you get really stuck in those types of jobs. I’m fascinated by that. I get my whole identity from those kinds of creative pursuits.
I’m a fairly traditional-type of producer. I try to look at films in their context. I try to look at actors, I try to look at music, I try to look at directors, because those types of activities are very difficult.
This is one of the big things, as opposed to ‘I can’t tell you that one aspect of your personality is the right type of producer’. Sometimes it may be right, but other times it may not be right. I get very stuck into the role and I’ve seen it cause writers – for instance, if I’m doing a screenplay I tend to start working quickly because I’m so anxious that I’m a great writer, and then I realise very quickly that I’m never a great writer. I’m not going to be a great writer if I’m writing these things in a second.
If someone’s doing this kind of thing, and they produce a film, and they don’t feel like they’ve got anything to say about what they’re doing, I would not recommend them.
And then a director can have a great imagination, and he may have a wonderful imagination, but to be able to turn off that part of their personality, as I have seen in Steven Spielberg, it’s very, very difficult. Sometimes I feel the best I can possibly do is keep writing the script, just as I’ve written a whole bunch of scripts, and I say to myself, ‘This is it. I’ve got to finish this now.’
So you’ve never produced an independent film, so can you tell me what you believe is the biggest misconception about small-budget filmmakers?
I really hate to say it, but there’s not a lot of people outside of the world of independent films. The first film I made was actually on a $200 000 budget, because I was really trying to do something really high-stakes. The best documentaries and the best feature films have been made on smaller budgets. One thing that
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