I am going to admit right away so you will read this knowing I am bias. The Nerds/Brains are my favorite clique in the film business. Because I am outgoing and very social, I am drawn to quiet passionate, industrious people. Since I am self-taught film professional, I am in awe of the extensive knowledge this clique has about film, TV, art and music,
When I was running the production company for A list director Carl Franklin (DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, ONE TRUE THING, OUT OF TIME), I had to hire a reader. Readers are paid for writing coverage which is a two page plot synopsis with one page of the reader’s opinion about the project. Coverage is one of the deadliest tools in the business. It can stop a project in its track if a reader gives it a “PASS”. Yet it is a necessary evil because executives/producers are submitted with more material than they can address. On a slow work week I would read 10 scripts and another 15 on the weekend. All of while having agents, managers and producers continually sending material. However, I couldn’t tackle the growing incoming pile when I had to turn my attention to new drafts from projects on the company’s development slate. That is why I had to farm the work to my assistant and a reader. For this exact reason, I choose my assistants and readers with great care. In an ideal world, they would read a script and respond exactly as I would. Otherwise, I risk their recommending a PASS on the potential blockbuster. Trust, no one wants to be the one said “PASS” to HEAT or WORLD WAR Z.
I interviewed this amazing kid, Jeff, who had just graduated from USC Film School and was walking movie encyclopedia. As usual, I went with my gut instinct and hired him on the spot. There was something special about Jeff. One afternoon when he came by to turn in his coverages, I invited him to chat. He told me about a panel he attended where they dissected the dialogue of the original PLANET OF THE APES. I was thrilled. Where else would I get such rich information? I didn’t even know this panel had taken place. So how do you deal with this clique of brilliant, hardworking, often no nonsense group? Be respectful and learn. It’s easy to be drawn to the flashy, sexy cliques…they are adept at attracting people. The Nerds/Brains are often overlooked and underappreciated. In fact, I strongly recommend you to take the time to know as many different kinds of people as you can in the film business. That lowly production accounting clerk on set may end up CFO of Warner Brothers or the editor for a horror short film may become Wes Craven’s longtime muse. Perfect your learning skills by remaining present and absorbing invaluable information. Where is Jeff now? Years ago he directed SPELLBOUND, a documentary which was nominated for an Academy Award (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5n_nMqH7CU). He has since gone on to win an Emmy for directing THE OFFICE. I have reputation for spotting talent and I am proud to say I knew Jeff Blitz was going to be special.