Producer Marvin V. Acuna Enjoys Helping Screenwriters and Filmmakers with The Business of Show Institute (BOSI)
For quite some time I’ve much admired Producer Marvin V. Acuna’s work, such as “The Great Buck Howard” and have been a frequent visitor to his website The Business of Show Institute (BOSI). In fact, I had the opportunity to meet him over a year ago in Los Angeles and now I have the pleasure of introducing you to him and BOSI as part of this Filmmakers Notebook Q&A.
The BOSI is one of the best resources I’ve found for screenwriters. I’ve heard you say that you enjoy helping writers, but what gave you the idea for the site and all of the subsequent programs and events you’ve sponsored?
Thank you for the kind words and endorsement. Thomas Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat, inspired me to leverage the internet to reach screenwriters all over the world. And the various programs were created to insure screenwriters were afforded various perspectives on the business of show business and success stories as well as unique access to industry professionals from the comfort of their own home.
Since you are a producer, I’ve always been curious as to why you developed the BOSI with a focus on screenwriting and not producing. Did you have a specific reason for wanting to mentor aspiring writers instead of producers?
Having spent nearly two decades working and advising screenwriters it simply felt organic to focus on screenwriters. Additionally, as I investigated the market place it became apparent that screenwriters had numerous options to develop their craft, but no viable option to learn the business of screenwriting.
What have been the biggest surprises for you personally and professionally as a result of creating the BOSI?
Professionally: How quickly The BOSI expanded and was graciously
embraced by screenwriters.
Personally: How addictive reading thank you notes from screenwriters can be.
You addressed a lot of industry changes affecting screenwriters in Death of the Screenwriter, but how do you see this situation affecting people who want to produce and what advice would you offer them?
My advice to producers is and will always be to identify a business model that they can effectively execute before they invest time and energy in making a project.
Tell me how you came up with the latest BOSI contest and whether it’s a challenge to keep topping yourself and what you have to offer?
I was committed to creating a vehicle that would require screenwriters to leverage the power of the internet and mandated that they use all the necessary business skill aside from a great story to win. Additionally, I hoped that this process would inspire screenwriters to step outside their comfort zone. Keary Speer’s blog posting(http://kearyespeer.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/the-contest-not-a-promotion-on-my-video-this-time/) indicates to me it was a success.
As relates to the challenge of continuously producing innovative and
valuable content, I feel very blessed. I have a very passionate business partner, numerous advisers, colleagues, and friends who fully support my mission. Therefore, they make it easier to create, identify, and/or discover resources and opportunities which I can then deliver to screenwriters.
As a producer do you find studio or independent films a better fit for the types of projects you’re interested in?
As a producer I choose material that interests me and serves a business model I can effectively execute. I don’t define my choices by either label.
Since you have interviewed so many people yourself, what have you learned the most from doing so?
Personally, I was genuinely surprised to learn how much energy it requires to focus and concentrate on the conversation with the person I’m interviewing while simultaneously being engaging and entertaining to a live audience.
Having recently read about your plans to go to law school, I was wondering if this is a goal you’ve always had or have events in your life led you to this decision?
Ghandi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” I’ve always had an interest in the Law. Thus,inspired by Ghandi’s words of wisdom I committed to pursuing this interest to expand and strengthen my mind, which undoubtedly do the same for my businesses.
On a totally unrelated note, I know that you enjoy cooking and wondered if you’d ever considered doing a project that would incorporate this passion into your film work?
Funny that you ask because I’m currently developing a reality series entitled, The Naked Caterer. Chef Pieps and Charlie Scola, a Modern Day Odd Couple, own and operate The Naked Caterer. This dysfunctional duo makes dreams come true. Plain and simple. they have been catering the most extravagant, outrageous and often times unusual special events for over 30 years. Viewers will follow their journey as they navigate the challenges and rewards of building a booming catering business. Each half-hour episode goes beyond the special event to capture the behind-the-scenes drama in their fast paced, unrelenting business.
From meeting tight deadlines for discerning clientele, to securing large projects such as coveted fundraisers, the hottest film and TV premier after parties, prestigious Awards shows, and VIP red carpet events there is never a dull moment with this odd couple. Mix in their colorful staff and drop dead gorgeous servers (aka divas), who all play a big part in this impassioned business, introduce their small workspace, the high volume of business, and the result leads to Felix and Oscar like bickering and staff tensions. However, at the end of the night, when the guests leave their care, the Naked Caterers prove once again why they are the Masters of Reception and that it’s really all about making wants and dreams come true.
From Tom Cruise to Brad Pitt, billionaire businessmen to snooty socialites, heads of state to a prince of Saudi Arabia, Elton John to Hugh Hefner, we get to see that this unlikely odd couple are who the elite turn to when they throw a big event and want to create an exceptional and unbelievable experience their guests will never forget.
Finally, what’s the one question you wished you’d been asked during an interview that has never come up and would you please answer it for us?
Q: My favorite drink? A: The next one.
For more information about Marvin and the BOSI visit the website at www.thebusinessofshowinstitute.com.