If you had told me that one day, I’d be asking BJ Taylor about his experience on producing films, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Let me explain - I’ve known this guy for over a decade. We went to college together. Our parents confuse us for each other. He probably knows me better that I know myself!
BJ is the producer that every director needs. He gets stuff done. Period. I know for a fact that if he wasn’t the producer on An Electric Sleep, that movie wouldn’t be made (Also, he wrote it too. told you, he gets stuff done).
Check out his IG here if you want to peek on the projects that he’s working on. He’s the brains behind Commune Productions, so he’s definitely working on something. Or 5 things.
Let’s get to it, BJ! Tell me what you do.
I’m an indie film producer with a specific focus on getting stories made that come from an underrepresented creative voice in genre films (sci-fi, horror, thriller, fantasy, etc). I like to work with directors on their vision from concept, to script, to production on set, and post production, all with the goal of being able to sell the finished product.
What traits do you look for in a indie director that you’re thinking of attaching to your project?
Competence and resilience. If a director has not done a feature film, I would want to see proof that they know how to get a good product made and can keep their head in the process. Whether that means the director has a large body of work in short films, or just one amazing one; I need to know that time and money won't be wasted on an overambitious dream before I join them on their journey.
What mistakes do you commonly see newer directors making, from your viewpoint?
Procrastination is the oldest, most universal demon to plague anyone in any field; film is no exception. When you're directing a feature film, especially one set for a distribution course that yields an ROI, you're battling Murphy's Law on set constantly. Only proper use of time - preparing for that uphill battle - will make sure the product comes out uncompromising to the story and hopefully, still entertaining to the target audience.
Being able to pivot and prioritize on set and in crisis is the only way to overcome lost time and work. As a director, you're just not allowed to fall apart during this process, you have to suck it up and still make the right call when it seems like there is no right call to make.
Any advice for me, er, directors starting to create a body of work in feature films?
1) Find the right producer who will fight for your movie more than you.
2) Find a core team that can wear several hats on set.
You won't be able to have enough energy and passion to get it done on your own, and working against your crew is going to ruin everything. You need to make sure you're not alone, because being alone will not be successful.
Last one for now - give me a movie all new, indie film directors need to see.
I'm going to break the rules on this one. I suggest new directors (and producers) study "bad" films. Two main reasons why: if you saw it you likely paid for it; it made money, and if bad films make money, there's your bar for quality. I think the first thing new directors need to learn once they dive into the professional film realm is no one cares about your art or vision. Audiences and investors only care about entertainment, and entertainment can be bad.