Catching Up With Producer Marvin V. Acuna & BOSI
I thought it was time to catch up with one of the first people in the film industry I met on Twitter, who I actually have had the pleasure of meeting in person, so here is a Filmmakers Notebook Qamp;A with one of my favorite individuals in the entertainment industry Marvin V. Acuna. Aside from producing for movies and television, Marvin is an avid supporter of new and developing talent, especially screenwriters, and to this end he created The Business of Show Institute, which has done an amazing job providing valuable contacts and creating relationships for so many. Read on below to find out what Marvin is currently doing and follow him on Twitter @MarvinVAcuna.
How much has the industry changed for screenwriters since you launched BOSI?
The BOSI launched in 2008. Since that time Social Media has made leaps and bounds. It has given screenwriters, who are truly interested, an opportunity to socialize from the comfort of their own home. They have an opportunity to connect with professionals in away they have not done so before. Numerous resources have developed that allow writers to have market intelligence available so that they have a deeper understanding of the business. In essence, the world of entertainment is flat and opportunities abound for those who are committed to immerse themselves and uncover the treasures that wait them.
What do you consider your greatest achievement with BOSI?
Greatest?! I’ll address proudest. I’m proud of the number of individuals who have evolved from the deer in the headlights to an individual who understands that this is a business. Mary Haarmeyer who has been a BOSI member since we began in 2008 is a shining example of one individual who has applied her own business savvy to the lessons she has gleaned from the multiple programs we offered. While residing in New Mexico, she set a plan, executed and now has a feature film in post production, which is based on her own screenplay. Gary Sanders and Chip Street who chose to exercise their own powers by self-publishing their own material and marketing the material to the community. Producing content that they can distribute to the community and attract the attention they deserve. Justin Bechtold, who discovered that living in Australia did not mean sacrificing his dreams of Hollywood. Using tools the BOSI provided he mapped out a pathway to the producers he wanted to work with. Justin Hedges who utilized Twitter to develop relationships, which led to options on two screenplays. I could go on. And on. It feels great knowing that BOSI community members are applying the tools that we have offered and are finding their own success.
In your opinion how have the emerging methods for film distribution affected work opportunities for independent screenwriters and producers?
Positively. You no longer have to wait for a distribution company to say yes to your picture. You can choose to finance (or raise funding ie kickstarter), produce, and self distribute the picture. Opportunities to create have no boundaries now. However, because the entry point is low your content must be rich otherwise it will get lost in the millions of others who are choosing not to wait.
If you had to select three common traits that you believe successful screenwriters and producers share what would they be?
Relentless. Persistent. Passionate. And, most importantly, they show up.
In view of how the industry has diversified has your advice to newcomers entering the entertainment business changed in any way during the past few years?
Nope. This is a business. It get confusing because it can feel like art, only art. But, it’s called show – BUSINESS for a reason.
Aside from producing films you have been working in the television medium. What are the biggest differences you have found between the two?
Television moves faster. You develop an idea, you take it to market, it sells or it doesn’t. If it sells, it gets made or it doesn’t. TV is a cyclical business. Movies can linger. Sit in development. Eventually get made, maybe. It’s like watching molasses drip down a tree.
Tell us a little about what you are presently working on and the projects you’re in the process of lining up.
Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried just sold in a heated bidding to Harvey Weinstein at Sundance. Chez Upshaw, which stars Kevin Pollak and Illeana Douglas screens at four major festivals beginning in April. Death Everlasting, written by our BOSI community member Mary Haarmeyer is now in post-production.
Too many projects to list. But, any individual that is in this business knows that you absolutely MUST have millions of irons in the fire.
Personally, what is currently your favorite part of the business and what do you find the most challenging aspect of it?
I love producing. I love it when a project comes to life. Everything about producing is challenging. Their numerous masters one must serve and those masters do not always agree.
What motivates you to want to invest the time and effort needed in order to develop a project?
Like every studio and every buyer. I am motivated by projects that have a real opportunity of getting made.
Since you have been actively involved in social media for a few years now, what have you discovered to be the biggest pluses and drawbacks associated with it?
Pluses: The ability to reach so many people. Minuses: The ability to be reached by so many people.
What is your favorite social media site and why?
I like Instagram. I’m a visual creature by nature. And images can really tell a thousand stories.
Before the end of your career is there a dream project you’d like to produce and if so tell us about it.
A beautiful, healthy family with my lady. ~