Monday, July 28, 2008

The Danny & Darren Mentor Program...


Did we ever tell you about The Danny & Darren Mentor Program? When we first arrived in Los Angeles wide eyed and eager to make movies, we knew absolutely no one. All we knew was that we wanted to write and direct films, so we sought out relationships (mentorships really) from several successful filmmakers with whom we shared something in common.

Because we knew that going through agents and managers would be a waste of time, we risked life and limb to obtain the personal contact information of several notable filmmakers (using methods we cannot share here), and we called to ask them to be the flagship members of our "mentor program". We had an initial call and, in some cases, a follow up letter. What we needed from them was simple: their time. We wanted to ask questions, and beyond that our expectations were nil.


1) To our surprise and delight, our efforts actually proved fruitful. We were able to get terrific support and guidance from Pete Farrelly, who along with his brother has been one of the more successful co-directors in recent Hollywood.

2) As we've mentioned before, we were also extremely fortunate to lunch several times with famed cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, with whom we (and Peter Bogdanovich) shared a magical evening during which we screened an early cut of Humboldt County, having no idea that just a few nights later Laszlo would pass away.

3) Not long after our arrival in Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to meet the man who would become -- without a doubt -- our closest mentor and eventually a dear friend: Larry Bridges. Larry runs Red Car, a commercial editing company with offices around the world, and to be perfectly honest, he deserves his own post which we'll be sure to include soon.

4) But the first member of the Mentor Program was a filmmaker who had done something we intended to emulate: make a feature film in his 20s.

That first Mentor was buying us lunches to help us avoid starvation in our mid-20s, and so it was pretty spectacular to be there with him again today, as we lunched together for the first time in almost 3 years.

That first mentor was Jake Kasdan.

From his first feature (Zero Effect) a decade ago to last year's The TV Set and Walk Hard, Jake has been an excellent mentor and model. One of our first and greatest on-set experiences was when Jake invited us -- the "Two Jews from St. Louis" as he called us -- onto the set of his TV pilot of Zero Effect, starring Alan Cumming (who was excited to meet the "Two Jews" after Jake had hyped us up).

Today, as we sat there at Fred 62 on Vermont, I thought a lot about how far we've come, and how much it meant (and still means) to have someone whose been through all the wars before offering moral support and advice.

Today, we'd like to acknowledge and thank the first member of The Danny & Darren Mentor Program: Mr. Jake Kasdan.


P.S. A quick perusal through our blog and I'm not sure we've shared the latest news here (though it was posted over at the producer's blog, linked at right):

Humboldt County is opening in its initial 5 cites on September 26, 2008.


1 comment:

Deanna said...

Dear d&D,

Can bright-eyed, aspiring Production Designers borrow the Danny & Darren Mentor Program model for their own?

Another "D"