Writers Vault - Industry
- Producer / Director
In our continuing series of interviews with key
industry professionals, we welcome Producer/Director
Paul Gagne' who sat down with our own Scott Manville
for some quick insight of his process and perspective
within the industry.
Mr. Gagne' is prexy of New World Entertainment,
selling directly to Lions Gate Films, Fox and
Scott Manville - Thanks for taking
the time out of your busy schedule to chat. You're
now a well established Producer with a slate of
projects under your belt. How were you introduced
to the industry, and what first got you interested?
Paul Gagne’ - You're welcome and thanks for
having me on. Well, I first was introduced to
the industry as an aspiring actor back in 1999
in my home town of Ft. lauderdale Florida. I got
interested in the industry when I was a young
boy watching the out-takes at the movie theater...
but I never knew how or what to do about getting
involved, so I just put it to the back of my mind
and pursued other careers in life.
Scott Manville -Who have been
your influences in the industry?
Paul Gagne’ - Clint Eastwood, Jim Carey, Michael
(TVWV) - Do you think that
your storytelling ability in
film gives you an edge in television?
Paul Gagne’ - Yes, I think if you can tell
a two and a half hour story, you can tell a half
hour or hour story as well if not easier.
(TVWV) - As a Producer, how
involved in the writing of a project do you get?
Are you more involved in the
- As a Producer, I seek out well
written scripts and yes, I get very involved in
the writing, I believe its all about the writing,
its the blueprint of a movie, without a well written
story, you will have a poorly executed movie...
if a script needs some work, I still leave it
to the writer to do the changes, but I will always
want to improve if anything needs fixing in the
story or characters etc...
Scott Manville (TVWV) - Can you share
an overview of your career strategy? What types
of projects do you see yourself
involved with in the future?
Paul Gagne’ - Well, first thing I always look
for is the market, what's hot, what's not and
I always try to get involved with highly marketable
projects in no particular genre, though I do strive
to seek out good Action, Thriller, Horror and
Sci-fi movies... it seems there's always an audience
for these, though comedies are my favorite, but
unless you have a well known comedian actor starring
in your film, it will be hard to market... and
dramas are about the same, its more about the
name recognition than the genre...
Scott Manville (TVWV) - For a writer
starting out, what advice can you give in terms
of building a career?
Paul Gagne’ - Write something that is highly
commercial. I see so many writers starting out
with that old saying, write what you know, but
its more times than none that what you know is
about your personal life and that usually tends
to become an art house movie which is far from
marketable... but if you have a personal experience
that is highly commercial/marketable, definitely
Scott Manville (TVWV) - If a new writer
has a totally original and compelling story, but
not a completed script, would you consider doing
business with them?
Paul Gagne’ - Yes, I would consider working
with them and sitting down and discussing the
potential of the whole story and see if we can
bring it to completion. I'd never turn down a
good or great idea. Great story's start with just
an idea and sometimes never go farther than that
until someone decides to make it and creates the
Scott Manville (TVWV) - In taking on new projects,
what do you look for? Are you more concerned with
the marketing strategy (knowing it can be produced),
or are you totally immersed in the potential and
development of the project?
Paul Gagne’ - It always comes down to marketing
potential, Producers are in the business to tell
great story's and make money, and its always the
same in the end, its all about the money, if it
was not, there would be no Hollywood. How could
you afford to continue to make movies if you couldn't
make money to pay the creative people? Ask any
Studio Executive and they'll say the same thing,
Who's in it? What genre? and What's the demographical
Scott Manville (TVWV) - What's the ratio of
scripted versus unscripted projects that you're
Paul Gagne’ - I've got a dozen scripts that
are completed and ready to produce but I also
have several scripts that are in the initial stages
of being written... some of these scripts may
never get completed due to changes in the market.
Scott Manville (TVWV) - When pitching a television
project, what are the most important elements.
Paul Gagne’ - Story, Commercial potential,
can it sustain what the current viewers are interested
in, is it something new and fresh? What audience
is it catering to?
Scott Manville (TVWV) - How much
of Hollywood is idea-driven?
Paul Gagne’ - All of it! The studios
spend millions researching and scouting ideas
and what the viewers want... but it seems they
are running out of ideas and reaching into their
libraries and doing remakes of movies...
Scott Manville (TVWV) - For writers
concerned with the protection of their original
material, what advice can you give?
Paul Gagne’ - Definitely always register your
work with the WGA and Library of Congress, but
you cannot copyright just a vague idea. I have
run into this issue myself, trying to be so protective
of my material that I'm afraid to let people read
it in the chance that they will steal the idea,
but if nobody can read your material, how can
you expect it to ever get made?
asked this same question to a credited writer
friend of mine William C. Martell who's had over
17 of his scripts made over the years, basically
says the same thing, you cannot be afraid to send
your scripts out, its that chance you have to
take or your script will never be seen... it sucks-
the thought of someone ripping you off, and it
does sometimes happen, but if they make a movie
too close to your script, there are laws that
will protect the writer.
Scott Manville (TVWV) – Agreed. That’s why
it’s invaluable for our writing members to receive
electronic proof of review for their projects
being marketed in our database. Keeping records,
and fully developing your concepts as written
is also critical.
are you a TV junkie, or a film buff? What are
Paul Gagne’ - I used to be a TV junkie until
about 8 years ago, but now with all the reality
shows and new shows that are poorly written, I
tended to go more to the movie side, but I've
always been a movie buff since I started going
to the theater when I was around 9... I just think
TV today isn't that good, no character development
or distinguishing characteristics of characters...
look at most shows, you can take any character
and throw him in any other show on today and he'll
fit right in, they all seem to be the same, the
way they dress, the way they look, the way they
you take shows from the past such as Magnum, A-Team,
Simon and Simon to name a few, they all had distinguishing
characteristics about them down to the way they
dressed. Now a days, they all seem to wear the
same dark clothes and hair styles, even the cars
they drive are just normal every day cars... but
I'm not speaking on behalf of every show on today,
there are some shows that do stand out like the
Scott Manville (TVWV) - How much of
your time is spent reading new
Paul Gagne’ - I spend about 10 hours a week
reading scripts but sometimes I may read every
day for weeks at a time, depending on if I'm searching
for a script to make immediately...
Scott Manville (TVWV) - If you're reviewing
a spec script, how much time will you give it
to grab your attention?
Paul Gagne’ - The first 15 pages, if a script
cannot grab my interest or have a great bang of
the opening 10 pages, I will probably put it down,
but I have found myself trying to give the script
the benefit of the doubt and read to page 35,
but usually if the opening is not that interesting,
chances are the rest of the script is the same...
Scott Manville (TVWV) - Is Hollywood
a closed door, or open door? Is it who you know,
or who knows your work.
Paul Gagne’ - I feel it can be a closed door,
but if you can get your work noticed, that really
helps open doors, but it still comes down to who
you know... best thing to do if starting out,
is do it yourself, try to find the money and make
a movie yourself, there are so many new avenues
today to get your work seen like the DVD market
and internet, that anyone with an idea and a camera,
can go out, shoot their movie and get it on the
internet or get it to a distribution company that
might take a look at it.
Scott Manville (TVWV) - The same would go
for television projects.
- I know film makers who have
made a movie for almost no money but had a good
commercial idea and sent screeners to distribution
companies who looked at it and bought it, now
their sitting on the shelf at Blockbuster or Hollywood
Video... you have to remember, these stores need
to constantly put new material on the shelf so
they are always open to screening new movies...
doing shorts and getting them into festivals is
also a good way to get your work seen and show
people what you can do...
Scott Manville (TVWV) - Thanks Paul. We
look forward to seeing more of your work.