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Film Courage: What keeps you here now?Adam William Ward, Actor/Director: In Los Angeles?
Good question. I love the city and I’ve been lucky enough that I came here when
my brother lived here. But now pretty much my whole family has moved here so
now I have family here, so it’s a little different. My sister’s here (my younger
sister) and my parents are in Palm Desert so it’s not far so family in a way would
keep me here no matter what but I love Los Angeles it’s such a sprawled out
city there’s all these different pockets of cool things to do or hikes or
whatever so and the weather is beautiful so you know I don’t try to promote it I
never I never try to get more people to move here because so many people move
here already so but a lot of people move back back home yeah a lot of people give
up too and move away but because of the weather I feel like a lot of people
moved to Los Angeles in general sure but no I I’m in the mecca of moviemaking in
the United States I mean that’s where Los Angeles is so I don’t know what kind
of trials and tribulations you’d have if you were in Atlanta or somewhere else
maybe there there’s enough people that I wouldn’t you know you have enough film
people but here I mean in my phone I have 10 DPS I can call directors of
photography writing calling they own a camera in a new mean so it’s like here
there’s so many people that are making films there’s so many people to own
cameras it’s really saturated so to get a project off the ground off the ground
it’s a lot easier to get it off the ground as to we’re in the middle of
America do you know anyone that owns a red camera or already Alexa or any of
these kind of cameras it’s probably really hard to find somebody that owned
one owns one in like Nebraska or something so here you’re in a bar you
probably somebody in the bar why don’t your camera I mean it’s just so it’s so
saturated in that way so hopefully they’re sober enough to operate it but
yeah but do you have a goal list like do you have a certain amount of things that
you know by this date I want to have them completed I mean I want to make 30
movies in my life probably its whatever inspires me really I mean I have
in my phone I have ideas for movies that go on and on I mean I must have 20 or 30
ideas for features some are fleshed out and some are really raw just a one or
two sentences but I also have a TV show like I did so I came here and I worked
for DreamWorks and I worked for Todd Phillips and then I realized it’s funny
because I realized that people around me had want to be directors or they want to
be some position in film and they weren’t doing it yet and I was like how
long have you worked here and oh I’ve been doing this 11 years but I want to
be a film director and I was like so I could be you in 11 years I was like yeah
I got a stop so when I left Todd Phillips his office I was like I want to
act interact so I went to acting school and I started acting in every possible
thing I could I did 11 short films in 2009 and then I was a lead in three
independent feature films in 2010 and when I saw the independent feature films
I realized they weren’t good enough and I thought to myself I have to get behind
the camera if I really want to make my dreams come true and I always planned on
getting behind the camera anyway eventually but it just kind of pushed me
to do it sooner so I thought I was just gonna produce an act and so I put I
managed to raise the money together to shoot a TV pilot and I was gonna produce
we had a director and everybody the director pulled out and it was his
script so I told the money people hold on I’ll write something else and we can
shoot that so I ended up writing three guys in a couch which is a TV pilot that
I wrote and and ended up directing because I couldn’t find a director
everybody couldn’t see the vision that I had so I ended up directing it too so I
acted and directed and wrote it and we shot it in 2011 it’s actually on Amazon
Prime you can go watch it on Amazon Prime and it’s for free on there and
it’s a 20 minute pilot it’s a comedy pilot I kind of I love Seinfeld growing
up and so it was kind of my newer version of Seinfeld you know my best
version of it I guess that I can do and it’s just about three guys trying to
rent out their couch for to make rent so I think the whole episode just couch
interviews they’re interviewing people to rent the couch so that was the pilot
episode and I have God I have in my phone like 50 episodes of that show I
just kept writing ideas for that show in that shower gel so hopefully I do
another show and use all those ideas eventually but I did that TV pilot was
the first thing I ever directed and then I ended up from that pilot someone at
Fox saw it and Fox called me and it was like hey it was a subsidiary of Fox but
it’s on the Fox lot called me and it was like hey we’d really like to develop a
new show with you like this was really good for your first thing so let’s let’s
develop something else so I came in every week for like eight or nine months
developing new ideas with them for new shows and eventually settling on a show
called parole officers which is about a guy who gets arrested and he gets to
parole officers that are gonna help him change his life background but he gets
he got falsely arrested for drugs so he really has no problem with drugs and the
two parole officers are completely crazy that take over his life and just totally
destroyed even more so we shot that into that well hold on rewind Fox ended up
scheduling him for me to do a table read they were like we’re gonna give me a
million dollar budget to do the pilot all this kind of stuff and then they
ended up pulling the plug and so the day before the table read they were like we
have something similar now we’re not going to shoot this anymore what they
did not know is every time I would come in with a script or an idea we’re not an
idea but a script I was copy writing it so I are I knew that I owned the
copyright on the show so okay you have something similar but you’re not gonna
steal my idea so I was like heartbroken for a while I mean it’s hard to get over
was eight or nine months you know of me telling my friends and everyone I’m
doing a show with Fox you didn’t read it so for me it was like it was very
heartbroken when it didn’t happen but then I was like you know what I’m gonna
shoot myself so three guys in a couch we shot for five grand at the time
on the red cameras so this I actually ended up shooting for five grand as well
it’s a 27 minute pilot that’s also on Amazon Prime now parole officers and so
I ended up raising the money independently and we shot that TV pilot
as well in 2013 and then from there there was I ended up directing two short
films for friends and then it was like it’s time to do a feature so that’s when
while I got wasted got made so I’m hoping we can go back to when you worked
at Todd Phillips’s office and at what point did you have that like wow I could
be this person here or this person here and they seemed happy with their job
maybe not maybe they are but I don’t want to have that be me how did you like
what can you kind of take us through how long before you left I think in the
beginning I think in the beginning it was just so exciting to be there I mean
like Angelina Jolie would come in the office you know like Angelina Jolie was
in the hallway and I’m like oh there’s a pretty girl in the hallway and then
she’s standing out there for a while I’m like maybe this woman’s lost you know
I’ll go out there she was pregnant at the time this pregnant woman’s in the
hallway like maybe she’s lost so I went in the hallway I’m like hey you okay
like you lost and of course once I get in the hallway I’m like oh I’m talking
to Angelina Jolie she’s like no I’m just waiting I’m gonna go to a meeting
upstairs and I just wanted a moment by myself and I was like okay no problem
you know I walked back in the office she’s right on the other side of the
class to me you know and there’s no one else around
so of course I’m I go you know Angelina Jolie’s here on the computer you know
telling the office and then like the guy played Hellboy at the time he was come
in the office like and I met so many people coming in the office that were
making movies and actors and so in the beginning it was just so exciting to be
there you know on the post side of things I never would meet movie stars or
I mean I met Steven Spielberg in that but I wouldn’t meet like Angelina Jolie
at DreamWorks at post-production they just don’t go there but there was just
so exciting I think it took a while for the excitement to wear off because I was
doing script coverage on like three scripts a day they would expect three
scripts a day for me to read and do coverage on them and and I’m a slow
reader too so it wasn’t easy for me but constantly trying to break it down and
write a you know of one-page synopsis of the
whole movie and and green-lighted or not greenlight like if you didn’t get
through me the people above me never read it so that’s how it would work so
if I don’t like your script the person above me doesn’t like the scripts and
I’m never gonna read the script you know and then on top of that it was just kind
of crazy to me in a way because these people have agents their managers there
but if you don’t get through the guy at the front desk you don’t get to Scott
Budnick at the time or Todd Phillips or anyone else so I’m literally like green
letting someone’s life or not but if I send it up the ladder and it’s not good
my now I’m not considered a very good script coverage guy so your own my own
ass is on the line so it was very interesting at the time I
think it took three months before the excitement of it all war of everything
kind of wore off and I started asking more questions you know and Todd
Phillips assistant at the time was his assistant for like nine years and I
found out he was a film director and I saw some commercials he shot and some
other stuff and he was like yeah I want to be a film director and I was like but
you’ve been his assistant for nine years like clearly he’s not gonna help you
make a film you know so he’s not gonna help me make a film I got to go make a
film out on my own so that’s kind of the epiphany that I had that no one here if
you’re not doing the job that you’re supposed to be doing they can’t see like
something I’ve learned in Hollywood since I’ve been here people don’t see
potential it’s not something that they see it’s either you’ve done it or you
haven’t done it it’s very rare that someone can see potential of what you’ve
done like there’s no excuses it’s like you’ve
even they’re made in a phenomenal movie or you’ve made a mediocre movie and then
they think you’re gonna always make a mediocre movie so or I guess in any
position that you’ve done they could they don’t see potential like oh you had
a really good moment here or there or your budget you didn’t have enough money
they don’t see the excuses it’s either it’s good enough or it’s not why do you
think that is do you think it’s because there’s just everything goes too fast
and there’s too much money on the line they don’t have time to like nurture
something or I think it might have been different
back in the day they might have nurtured people more back in the day I mean like
all the studios now are corporate I mean like Viacom you know like all these big
companies own the studios it’s not really owned by an individual anymore
back in the day paramount was it paramount I think was owned by a guy
that would go to all the premieres with a lion I mean it was one person’s
decision and a few people belong and I think in was that the 90s or something I
mean all the studios got bought up by big corporate companies everything’s
powered by money so since everything is powered by money are you gonna take a
chance on someone who’s already delivered or someone who has potential I
mean if your ass is on the line you’re gonna go with the safe bet so part of me
understands that but I think also it takes a very special person to see
potential you know I I don’t think everyone can see potential it’s about is
it it’s almost a rare skill compared to the talent like only some people are
very very talented some people only have that one gift of seeing talent too
and half the people that I meet that are at the top still they don’t have that
gift like they shove twenty forty million dollars in advertising on a
movie in the movie my bomb well somebody else might have been able to see that it
was gonna bomb but they couldn’t see it but they have the title of the head of
the studio or whatever so it’s just interesting to see how certain things
happen and I know people in positions that tell me all kinds of stories were
you know I’m like really I saw the trailer to that I have no idea what that
movies about and it’s a two minute trailer like if I don’t know what your
movies about at all and it’s a two minute trailer it’s a really bad sign
you know and you’re putting 40 million dollars in advertising that blows my
mind but anyway you

21 thoughts on “Why I Quit Working For A Hollywood Director – Adam William Ward

  1. As I'm listening to this, I think I understand what hes going through cause even I'm a filmmaker beginning to hate people who dont take their jobs seriously

  2. A bad movie done is better than the idea of great movie, never done. So knowing this, you can free yourself and shoot. Just do it.

  3. Didn't really define what a mediocre film is, there has been a lot of trash that for some reason makes a lot of money at the box office. I agree with what Martin Scorsese said, "make your own film industry" in other words, stop trying to copy other people and don't be an egomaniac.

  4. This was an interesting interview. I have heard many of times they don't see talent or potential. For people who have what it takes, the skill and talent, that could be difficult. That's why the only film distribution company I would deal with is Lionsgate. I feel they would give you a chance that Hollywood won't until proven other wise….

  5. Lesson learnt:
    Even on a job , learn all you can, quickly & passionately. Use colleagues, subordinates and superiors as landscape markers.
    If you like the financial comfort of a day job, keep sitting on that cubicle chair.
    If not, plan awhile and ease out slowly.
    But his strategy makes sense : stay in the fraternity context (city of vocation). For ease of networking.

  6. And yet, for some, things do work out. I know a screenwriter who worked for Frank Darabont for a few years, and then wrote "Orphan" and became a consulting producer on "The Walking Dead" and recently wrote "Aquaman." I think a lot depends on whether you continue churning out product and working on what you came to LA to do while you're toiling away for those titans of industry. A lot of people become content with chance run-ins with Angelina Jolie in the hallway and stop being productive. Before you know it, nine years have passed.

  7. The powers that be have so much talent to choose from they don't need to spend the time and energy developing potential.

  8. well, the irony is strong with this interview..
    8:45 – I say green light to good scripts
    10:25 – they think if you made a mediocre movie, then you will always make a mediocre movie
    4.4 / 10 –

  9. Oh my god, I've wasted ten years of my life paying hush money to Weinstein's victims before he fell from grace. I could have been using that time to make the sitcom about a sassy robot that I've always wanted to make.

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