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Rediscovered Optimism - From The Presidents

Posted By Gary Lucchesi & Lori McCreary, Friday, February 9, 2018

These are complicated days in our business. It’s been challenging enough to keep up with the rate of technological change, but when it’s matched or even overtaken by the pace of social and cultural change, it’s hard to blame anyone for feeling a little disoriented. Inevitably—even understandably—there are those who want to hang on to the security of the past. If you spend any time with industry veterans, you’re bound to hear a few reflections about how much simpler and easier it was to make a movie or to sell a TV show back in 2007 or 1994 or 1982 or 1971. The stories of “the good old days” will go on for as long as you have the patience to listen.

But it put us in mind of a quote from Robert Rodriguez, which we hope he’ll forgive us for paraphrasing: “I do not believe that an old person’s pessimism is truer than a young person’s optimism.” We remember clearly our sense of optimism when we were just beginning our careers. Just as clearly, we remember the old-timers who never hesitated to tell us how much better it was back in their younger days. Sometimes it turns out ignorance is bliss. As young producers, we weren’t restricted by the knowledge of history. That freedom allowed us to find our own voices and give our ideas and passions free rein.

It’s a special kind of pleasure to see the cycle beginning again, from the other side of our careers. Among the reasons for optimism we found this year was Margot Robbie, who floored and delighted us at the PGA Nominees Breakfast when she acknowledged that after first reading the script of I, Tonya, she was convinced that Tonya Harding was a fictional character.

Producers of our generation thought we knew the story of Tonya Harding. Then we saw it through the eyes of a group of young producers for whom the subject wasn’t yesterday’s tabloid fodder, but a rich and vital story of resilience, social class and aspiration. It’s thrilling to be in the presence of the optimism of rising producers like Margot, Jordan Peele, Ava DuVernay, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Bryan Unkeless, Sean McKittrick and countless others who could be found among the Producers Guild Award nominees and honorees this year.

It only gets us more excited for the movies and series that we’ll be seeing next week, next year and next decade. We haven’t even begun to tap the potential of formats like VR and AR, and we barely have a sense of the immersive kinds of stories that will be possible in 2030. But it’s likely we’ll look back on this time and see it as a thrilling, pivotal moment in our careers. As fast as the industry is changing, there are more creative opportunities than ever before. Embrace the unknown. Discover your own future. We’re optimists, after all.

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