Featured Member: Robert Klinger
From Contributing Member Elaine Spooner
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS?
Charlie Chaplin. I was always clowning around as a child and Chaplin was my idol. When I realized that he lived a life of luxury in beautiful mansions, with a string of hot wives. I thought, "The only difference between my clowning and his is that he got paid.”
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY?
I got paid $50 to perform stand-up comedy at a bar in Ft. Lauderdale. The place was filled with bitter middle-aged people lamenting their woes and they were not in the mood for levity.
HOW DID YOU START OUT AS A PRODUCER?
I was working under other producers and often found myself wondering why they were the boss of me and not the other way around.
WHAT LED YOU TO JOIN THE PGA?
I tried to join at one point but didn’t have the credits. So I just kept working and a friend on one job (Chris Thomes, who was my boss on last year’s Oscars) recommended I join. By then I qualified and he even sponsored me.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER/COMMITTEE WORK YOU DO FOR THE GUILD?
The PGA International Committee’s main purpose is to serve as a window to and from our colleagues across national borders. The best way to do that is to increase the visibility of the PGA and Producers Guild Awards worldwide, to facilitate international networking and co-production opportunities for members and to help find and maximize international tax incentives and other production resources. I’ve only been to a few meetings so far, but we’re hoping to release a poll soon to determine what specific areas PGA members would like us to focus on most.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
In addition to producing ABC’s Oscar.com
and other sites, I’m putting together a slate of films with the requirement that any project must be sensibly budgeted and eminently commercial. It just seems silly to me that there’s so much cash – worldwide – that companies and individuals are sitting on. I just need to convince enough of them that making movies is a more sensible thing to do with that money than sitting on it or making investment decisions from a fear position. I’m also producing a short video for Beachwood Canyon’s Hollywood Orchard.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING PROJECTS, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
A Song and a Prayer, the feature film I was involved with. My big take-away from that was to spend the money to have at least one known actor in your film. You can have amazingly talented people in your project (which we did) but you need a cast that will help sell the piece. My other favorite project was Importex, a bi-lingual comedy pilot we shot in Miami. Going back to my hometown to produce a project was an exciting experience. I call L.A. the city of false starts because seemingly perfect opportunities present themselves and then nothing happens. But by the same token, something will come your way that you think nothing of and it turns out to be a really great experience.