Paul Gagne | 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've been your influences within
Paul Gagne’ - Clint Eastwood, Jim Carey, Michael
Scott Manville - Do you think that your storytelling
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.
Scott Manville - As a Producer, how involved in the
writing of a project do you get? Are you more
involved in the
Paul Gagne’ - 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
Scott Manville - Can you share an overview of your
career strategy? What types of projects do you see
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
Scott Manville - 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 write it.
Scott Manville - 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 whole story.
Scott Manville - 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 age range?
Scott Manville - What's the ratio of scripted versus
unscripted projects that you're involved in?
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 - 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
Scott Manville - How much of Hollywood is
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
Scott Manville - 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?
I've 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
Scott Manville – 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.
Now, 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 act...
If 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
Scott Manville - How much of your time is spent
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 - If you're reviewing a spec script,
how much time will you give it to grab your
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 - 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
Scott Manville - The same would go for television
Paul Gagne' - 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
Scott Manville - Thanks Paul. We look forward to
seeing more of your work.