Saturday, October 8, 2022


I have been asking myself this question in ever greater frequency as the years go by. I truly enjoy working with independent filmmakers, and for a number of reasons: 1) they're eager to learn; 2) it's highly collaborative; 3) there's a lot of creative freedom; and 4) they often have fresh ideas unencumbered by the politics of the studio system. It's a great space, all things considered.

However, more and more, I find myself disillusioned by the physical production process, particularly as a line producer/UPM. I have been doing that work for over two decades, and it feels like much of it has gotten harder rather than easier with time. This could just be me as I get older (and crankier), or it could be something else. There seems to be a lot of ingratitude among crew members nowadays, and I wonder how much of this stems from the overall sense of entitlement and unearned self-esteem we see pervading younger generations. Respect for on-set experience has diminished rather than increased. Basically, everybody's an expert now. And COVID hasn't made things any easier either.

I always said, "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." And I still subscribe to that position. But it is possible for what you love to change over time. I find myself gravitating away from an interest in day-to-day production management -- a widow-maker if there ever was one -- and more toward creative development, content strategy, packaging, marketing and high-level producing/consulting. I still love post, too, and don't mind shepherding the occasional project through that phase.

Bottom line, I'm wrestling with the idea that a passion I've had all my life is changing and that the love I used to have for the production process is eroding. I am fortunate, though, that there are many areas of entertainment I still do love, so I'm definitely not thinking of walking away from the business anytime soon. In fact, it's independent filmmakers who haven't yet been jaded by Hollywood that help reinvigorate me, so it's nice that I get to work with new ones all the time. But I'm seriously thinking of turning the reins of physical production management over to others moving forward if for no other reason than to preserve my own sanity and love of the business. And if that means less work, then so be it.

Change is okay, Mark. Just own it.