Post a Job Join The Guild
Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
Produced By Feb./March 2018
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   


View all (11) posts »

MENTORING MATTERS - Forging Connections That Last: "Making It" In Hollywood Is A Matter of Perspective

Posted By Brian Girard, Friday, February 9, 2018

I moved to Hollywood to be an actor and I became a producer. While I still do both, I am always looking to do more. Up to this point, I spent most of my producing career working in nonfiction, producing short-form content, branded entertainment and segment producing. But I really wanted to make movies. My good friend and producing partner at the time, Graham Suorsa, kept urging me to apply to the PGA Mentoring Program. Perhaps that would help kickstart the path I was truly after.

I remember the interview process was fairly brief. I went in, stated my case that I was hoping for a mentor who made movies. What seemed like mere moments later, I received an email from the desk of Todd Lieberman, his assistant reaching out to set up an appointment. Realizing who Todd was—i.e. one of the forces behind The Fighter (being from Massachusetts, it was one of my favorite films) and The Muppets (being from planet earth, it has some of my favorite characters)—I became very excited at the chance to meet with him, even if for half an hour. I prepped for my first meeting with Todd with a handful of highly specific questions … none of which we got to.

We hit it off immediately. Frankly, we spoke about almost everything except the industry. We talked about what inspired us, what kinds of movies and TV we loved, why we loved them, what kinds of things drive us to want to make the things we make. It was awesome, and I remember walking out of that meeting feeling inspired and motivated. And I still do, every time I meet Todd.

You see, that meeting happened over five years ago. Since that initial contact, Todd and I have stayed in touch, and we try to catch up a couple times a year. On one occasion, we spoke about an opportunity to work with the legendary Jerry Lewis, whose work I’ve loved my whole life. But … I was working on a TV series at the time and I would have to quit that job, potentially burning a bridge. Was it worth it?

Todd’s words: “What choice would your 15-year-old self make here? It seems like you’ve been manifesting a moment like this your whole life. Follow your heart. Follow that instinct that inspires you toward something.”

That meeting helped clarify things for me. I decided to go for it. The choice to work with Jerry Lewis ended up being one of the most poignant experiences of my career. I struck up a friendship with Jerry that lasted well past production and even up to his final days last August. We became friends, who called each other on birthdays and other occasions.

I will never forget what Todd said about this: “If you were to go back in time and tell your 15-year-old self that you would get to meet Jerry Lewis, and not only meet him but get to work with him, and not only work with him but become friends with him, would you say you would have made it in Hollywood?” My answer was, “Of course! But I feel like I’m just getting started. There’s so much to do!” And there is. So Todd and I continue to talk about what inspires us, what motivates us and what drives us to continue to create.

“We talked about what kinds of things drive us to make the things we make. It was awesome, and I remember walking out of that meeting feeling inspired and motivated.”

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)