As vast as the Entertainment and Arts industry is, it takes the super talented and shakers to keep the wheels going. Without those talented minds there would be no creativity and no opportunities for thousands of artists to live their dreams. The world is full of uncertainties but the entertainment and art industry brings in that balance that gives us the much needed excitement that is essential for our wellbeing. London Glossy gets an insight into the creative mind of Alan Greenstein through his work, his aspirations and his thoughts.
Support Our #creatives has worked with talented artists and creatives in the entertainment industry. As the “Supporter-in-Chief” you take on different job roles from producing to on-set crew work and even sometimes standing in as extras. What inspired you into this line of creativity and where to do you see your work in the next 5 years?
I have been fascinated by the entertainment industry as long as I can remember. Many years ago I vacationed in Los Angeles a few times with the primary intention to be in the audience of network comedies and to take studio tours. I was closely watching the technical side – the camera movements, the boom microphones, the lighting, setting up for filming, the physical sets themselves. That’s when I knew I wanted to work behind the scenes of TV and film. I became a producer, because those were the credits I was offered in 2009 for being a funder. I finally got to work behind-the-scenes in 2015.
During the next five years, I would like to turn my passion project Support Our #creatives into an actual business and support myself financially via that. I want to have long term producer relationships with clients. I want to write short films and produce my own projects. I would like to work in “major” productions.
The entertainment and film industry is exciting, requires dedication and hard work from the beginning to the end a project. As a producer that has worked on a variety of short films and TV production, you must have ideas and proposals given to you regularly. What are the main factors that makes you take on a project?!
“I am currently quite liberal in my criteria for taking on projects, because I want to obtain as much experience as possible. Besides responding to creatives literally reaching out to me, I also reach out to creatives asking to work on their projects. I gravitate towards projects run by creatives I have worked with before. As my knowledge increases, I will be more discerning: I have requested the script for quite a while, but more recently, I have started asking about their plans, schedule, and budget. I have to gain the ability to determine if I think a project is well thought out and likely to be successfully completed. I also have to realize I cannot take on everything and I have to learn to prioritize.”
You have quite a good diversified portfolio and mostly short films and new media, is there a particular genre you like to focus on and why?!
I do not focus on any one genre. Every genre is different in what is required of the actors, and working on-set on different genres allows me to learn more about what an actor does to prepare for such roles. A couple of examples – In the comedy-drama, we get to see the actors deal with serious issues, but can flip it and also act comically. In the crime drama we get to see actors portray crooks, cops, and corrupt politicians and officials, and have to react to violent situations.
What are the key factors that make a film successful?
What does “successful” mean? Financial? Artistic? Cultural? A producer’s definition of success would be positive financial results as compare to the cost to produce, including minimal drop-off in revenue week to week from movie theatre exposition. A director’s definition of success would be artistic – they got their message across to the audience. Positive word of mouth – people seeing the film recommends it to others. Sometimes a film has terrible box office results when first released, but over the course of time, it will be regarded as a classic, because it gets embedded in our cultural experience – another sign of success.
I can speak best to the small projects of which I have been a part. Success can be measured by being accepted at film festivals and having ones work seen there, and even winning awards. Success can be measured by scoring a distribution deal at a film festival. Success can be measured by a red carpet premiere where the film is seen on the big screen. Success can be measured by simply completing a project – some projects I have worked on do not get that far. Success can be measured by having a major actor be in the cast of a small project. Success can be measured by the film being seen on a major streamer such as Amazon Prime. Success can be measured by being asked to be on another project based on the exposition of a particular project.
Social media has played a huge factor in the discovering of new talent and has largely opened doors to large audiences that would have been unreachable largely 10 years ago. Where do you see this trend going and on the long run do you think this might affect the hegemony Hollywood has over the entertainment industry?!
I am always talking about this! Social media has changed EVERYTHING. Personally, starting in 2009, it finally allowed me to begin to realize and act on my passion. It allowed me to easily make connections with people in the industry in different disciplines. My social media pages for Support Our #creatives (as well as my website/blog of the same name) has been one avenue for people to reach out to me. Social media gives one a universe of contacts.
Here are some ways social media is changing the entertainment landscape. I envision these changes impacting increasing numbers of people in the years to come.
Social media PLUS the technical advancements – including but not limited to more affordable cameras, sound, editing equipment – has given rise to a new generation of filmmakers that would not have been otherwise possible.
Requests are all over social media looking for talent for projects, albeit looking for actors that meet specific character traits, or skilled videographers, editors, etc.
So, social media is used by people to find a project, or for a project to find people,
Social media is used to get the word out about the availability of a project and getting people to watch.
This next point needs to be emphasized and employed by more creatives: Social media should be used by all participants – actors, crew, producers, etc. – to document all phases of the project. Document the auditioning experience, the on-set/BTS experience, the red carpet experience, and more. Engage with your future and present fans.
But is the power of Hollywood being diminished due to social media? Streaming is a larger threat than social media alone.
The realization of projects made possible by social media (and technical advances) as described earlier, is resulting in a larger percentage of content produced totally outside of the Hollywood system. The proliferation of streaming services means there is a greater need for content. Streaming is a large threat to the power of Hollywood. The streamers buy up films for distribution, or even produce their own films. Streamers continue to back subject matter that the old line studios now largely shun. Currently there is an issue about whether streaming content should be eligible for Academy Award nominations. The barriers between film and TV are being erased, as A-list talent now seamlessly go from film to TV and back again.
What is your advice to that budding actor/actress out there just starting out with a hope to be a film producer in future?
The best advice I can give is “never give up”. You will never be a failure if you keep pushing. Study the works of producers you admire. Attend film festivals. Ask questions when on-set. Write a script and produce it yourself.
What is your latest project and when is it due to be released?
There are multiple projects I have worked on that are currently in the film festival circuit.
There is one project (“Collision Envisage”) that should be released later this year, but I do not have a date. Synopsis: Two guys frame each other for murder. A crime gone wrong and now the cops have to decide who killed a child.
Released earlier this year are two projects I have worked on – “The C-Word” and “Shock Nation”.
The C-Word synopsis: The series follows a celibate man as he struggles through relationships and has to make tough decisions.
Shock Nation synopsis: A series about young adults growing up in the inner city streets of Baltimore and trying to find their way. Their love for dance helps to save their life.
“Waldy Street” is a play that is now in rehearsals and will be performed on September 8, 2019. I am a funder and I will be attending rehearsals so I can learn about the behind-the-scenes of live theatre. Synopsis: A story about a man who gets caught in a spiritual inertia that is debilitating him. He feels that God had turned his back on him. But as he travels through his journey of life, he discovers that God had been with him all along.
I would also like to mention my most recent face-to-face interview where I discuss social media and Support Our #creatives. It is an episode of the internet series “B to the 3rd Power” and can be watched here.”
What are some key points you have learned from working in the entertainment industry?
Having worked on small Indie projects, I have learned some important truths.
Most actors are known as “working actors”, which means they cannot support themselves as creatives and have a regular nine-to-five job. The same goes for crew members such as the videographer, sound engineer, and lighting technician.
Most creatives are not paid in cash but by credit and experience. They might be fed, however.
Professionalism on set is important, from both actors and crew. And there have been some projects where I have found that lacking – for example a person is scheduled to be at a shoot but does not tell the producer or director that they will not be coming.
The planned timeline of a project will rarely go as planned. Something always seems to
come up that delays the schedule, or results in the project being put on hold – major script revisions, personnel moving away, and the unavailability of the actors for a scheduled shoot.
Working on set is HARD and tiring. I think it has to do with the pressure of keeping up with the pace of the shoot – always being ready to do what is required in a timely manner, whether it is dressing a set, slating, running lines with an actor, or feeding an actor a line, to name a few. And I admire the actors so much – they have to learn their lines and physically react.
Do you have some final words?
I have to learn to do better with regards to publicizing projects and getting people to participate – such as with ongoing crowdfunding, and publicizing that a project is available for viewing and getting people to view and share.
I am pleased to see Support Our #creatives turning up in the credits and also being displayed in project materials and on the “step and repeat” wall at red carpet events.