Meet John Paul Rice of No Restrictions Entertainment (formerly with Mandate Pictures/Senator International), producer of Three Stages of Stan in 2002 and One Hour Fantasy Girl in 2008. The latter tells the story of a 20 year old girl who ran away from an abusive alcoholic mother at the age of 15 only to find herself working as a dominatrix in escape of poverty.
Rice has used the internet extensively: from casting via YouTube videos to audience-building via MySpace and IndieGoGo. His endless experimentation with marketing tactics resulted in the discovery of a passionate core audience he would’ve never expected — women fighting against domestic violence. (Loved this intro to John Paul from an interview with him on the IndieGoGo blog, so I’ve reprinted here).
SUSTAINING THE MUSE
A Producing Questionnaire
* Please name all the “hats” you wear as a creative producer.
As a creative producer, from beginning to the end of production and after I wear: Story Editor (for feedback and ideas), Casting Director, Investor, Financier, Line Producer, Deal Broker, Online Marketing Director, Production Manager, Publicist, Post Production Supervisor.
Before pursing a career in producing: Started as a salesman and marketing director for Supreme Chemicals in Atlanta, GA where I successfully sold and promoted the brand of “Krud Kutter” an enviro-friendly multi-purpose cleaner/degreaser. While in Los Angeles, first job lasted two weeks at a failing toy store – a crazy experience, worked in casting for extras on music videos, temped as an administrative assistant for a job rehab service, an extra on a few films.
While pursing a career in producing: Started as a receptionist at Senator International, a feature film finance, sales and production company in Beverly Hills, CA. Read scripts from major agencies, studios and production companies. Senator later became Mandate Pictures where I worked for four years under the leadership of president Joe Drake. After Mandate I worked in IT, troubleshooting computer problems for end users as well as project management.
My career goal as a producer would be to have produced at least one film that has the honor of being nominated for an Academy Award. What inspires me the most and what is most rewarding at this stage of my career is when I read a script that moves me – elicits strong emotions throughout – and see the end product move and affect people in the same way or beyond what I first experienced on the page.
Patience, persistence and perseverance. You must be resourceful, embracing the challenges and limitations of time and money – which will always be the case whether a micro-budget indie or big budget studio feature. A creative producer needs to know and understand story both on a guttural and structural level. Trust in your director and those on the team. Never being afraid to ask for something. Listen to others who don’t agree with you and respect their point of view. A creative producer should be a people person, an entrepreneur that has a passion for what they do and who can connect with others who share that same passion for their work. Troubleshooting skills are an absolute must, keeping a calm and cool demeanor in front of others.
Midnight Cowboy, Training Day, There Will Be Blood, Chinatown, The Talented Mr. Ripley – all uniquely different but have a profound honesty and tragedy to them. I admire Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger whom I met when I first started at Senator International in 2002. It was a memorable meeting for many reasons but among those was when I first heard the words “Little Miss Sunshine” – a film that took years to make because no one wanted to finance it – from the beginning both men believed in Valerie and Jonathan’s talent and vision to execute Michael Arndt’s script.
The enjoyment of producing and becoming a better producer with each project.
* What’s your motto when it comes to raising money for your project(s)?
Never give up because nothing is impossible.
Have yet to achieve but am working toward this.
Edgar Michael Bravo, my producing partner at No Restrictions Entertainment.
I would change my focus at times. Sometimes I get obsessed over details that don’t matter in the larger scope of things both in my personal and professional life.
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