Brian McCulley & John Crockett, Producers - Behind the Scenes
I am happy to kick off 2017 with the opportunity to pick the brains of a couple of producers, Brian McCulley and John Crockett. Based in Denver, they travel to various areas of Colorado and around the U.S., or to any location that works for the film’s needs. Both are multi-talented and crossover into various areas of film.
Brian and John, we would love to have you share a little with our readers about your backgrounds.
Brian McCulley is a producer/director/writer with a career ranging from the genres comedy to horror. He is known for taking on ambitious projects with lower budgets, and turning them into big productions on the screen. He has a vast experience in casting, talent development and many other parts of film making Brian started as an actor and he still continues to act he can be seen in The Creep Behind the Camera.
Brian and his casting partner Annie Hamilton have cast a number of commercials for many directors including Tony Scott and Derek Cianfrance and clients: Coke, Southwest Airlines, Reebok, US Army, America's Most Wanted, Rolling Stone Magazine's Where It's At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union. The EDS Technology commercial they helped cast under Laray Mayfield in 1999 was seen during The Superbowl and won a CLIO award that year.
Brian attended North Platte High School in Nebraska. After graduation he moved to Colorado to attend Colorado State University and pursue a career in film and television per advice from his cousin Jason Van Vleet. Brian attended acting workshops for many years until he undertook a yearlong apprenticeship, opened his own studio and began coaching actors for television and film. In the last several years he has trained many working actors including Audrey Walters, Scott Takeda, Michael Haskins, J.T. Richardson to name only a few, in addition to training these actors Brian also is known for casting actors he has trained in many of his projects including Kyle Howard, Derek Theler, Hanna Hall, Caroline Macey, Adam Trent and many more.
He worked with business partner Nina Axelrod at Sigil Management from 2005 to 2008. Sigil was a boutique management company that was known for new, raw talent mostly from Colorado. He also worked with Nina as a talent searcher for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and Great Expectations and helped cast the ABC mini-series, The Shining.
After selling a video series 'Choices' still in national distribution he opened AEC Studios in Denver, Colorado with his business partner John Crockett. Brian is a true film maker having shot produced and directed his first feature on 16mm film in Colorado, Sign of the Times, starring Hank Harris, and Tomas Herrera. In 2010 he helped produce the films One for the Road based on a story by Stephen King and I Was a Teenage Werebear a short campy horror film that is part of the feature film Chillerama.
His work on larger studio projects include casting on the film Gone Girl directed by David Fincher. He has worked with casting director Laray Mayfield and casting work on Furious 7 and ‘Heaven Sent (2015),’ directed by Michael Landon Jr. and written by Rick Ramage.
He has produced and directed many music videos for such artists as Timo Descamps and international magician Adam Trent to name a few.
His TV experience includes casting on many national shows including 20/20, and producing and directing the zombie episodic series The Locals.
He is the head of development for AEC Studios in Denver and Los Angeles and he continues to produce, direct and cast films, shorts, shows and develop talent.
John Crockett: Born in Colorado Springs, John Crockett moved to Fort Collins in 1989. After discovering his love for the theatre, he moved on to Television and Film work. He currently coaches, acts and produces in Denver, Colorado.
Why and when did you choose the Indie film world as the direction you wanted to take?
It’s not, we work on both indie and network and studios projects. In the indie world we have more control over content and creative choices.
I know you produce, direct and write scripts, so help me here with understanding how the screen world, whether small or large, works. What exactly does a producer do? Why are there so many different producers for projects?
The producer has many jobs and they change as the film moves forward. The producer’s main job is to organize and keep the production moving forward. The producer is the one person putting out fires on the set so the director can get the film made. Some of the other tasks a producer deals with may include, selecting the script, hire the director and crew and finding funding for the project.
Does a director have the final say on how a scene goes or can a producer overrule him?
In some cases the director will have final say, but it needs to be contractual. The producer and or studio can change things in most cases.
I see references on credits for someone called a ‘gofer’ and wondered if they go for coffee or whatever is needed. After talking with you, I understand I’m all wrong. Can you explain to our readers exactly what that title involves?
Well I don’t know about “gofer” but yes if it was used that is what it would be. A person that goes for things. In the film world a PA or production assistant would be the closest thing to a “gofer”
What does a Show Runner do?
In most cases he or she is an Executive producer who also writes the show and or comes up with the general direction flow of the story. They keep the shows integrity and focus as the directors often change week to week.
Once an author options the rights to their book, do they have any say-so about the screenplay?
That depends on the level of involvement the producer and director want the writer to have. In some cases the writer can receive directing credit along with the director and in some cases they are not allowed on set.
Can a producer or director approach an author regarding an option for their work?
Yes. They can seek out stories, or contact and have the writer create something just for them. Anything and everything can happen.
Would you recommend if an author is approached about an option on their work they contact a legal expert in that field?
What is the difference between a Feature film and an Indie film?
Feature film is any film over 71 minutes an indie film is a film made outside the studio system.
You have been involved with various film projects. Would you share some of them with us?
Well some highlights would be working on the film Gone Girl where we cast all the supporting roles in the St Louis portion of the film. It was incredible to meet all the locals and have the open call, and also meet all the actors in that part of the US.
What current projects do you have in the works?
We are currently working on a new feature film project here in CO that will shoot in June. We are still working on the script but the film will be a horror film.
Where can readers reach you? On twitter at @brianmcculley or on Facebook :)
Columnist Lizzie T. Leaf: Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf started life in Kansas, sprung to adulthood in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado.
Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals. When she needs a touch of reality, her Contemporary Erotic Romances come into play. Her most recent release is Nordic Heat, available at http://amzn.to/1owng5k
If she’s not creating mischief for paranormal beings, or getting under the covers with her erotic heroes, she can be found exploring the other genres she wants to write. She is a member of RWA and has served as President for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers and VP of Programs.
Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband.