The original team: John McCafferty, Dani Leon, Mark Pirro – making movies together for decades.
Sometimes I lecture at film schools and colleges. Recently I spoke to a bunch of film students at Columbia College. As I looked at the young faces listening to every word I was saying with wide eyes and big dreams, I stressed to them all that no matter how talented you think you might be, the only way you will get people on your team and to stick with your team is for you, the filmmaker, to be a genuine good person.
There is a certain joy in knowing that the people around you, who are putting their time into your project are there because they like you and want to be a part of what you are creating. They’re not there for the paycheck, they’re not there out of obligation, they are there because they legitimately want to be there. It’s like the cat that jumps on your lap when you are sitting at the computer, or the child that takes your hand as you are walking down the street.
Most of the cast of “Rage of Innocence.” Some of the best people in the world…ok, maybe not the world, but in the Pirromount family.
As I was talking to those students at Columbia College, I emphasized over and over again that you need to surround yourself with supportive and positive people. You need people who are not users, but givers. And you need to be that as well. I told them that if you have a skill or talent, you make that talent available to your team if they need it. For example, I can write, edit, do post production, basically anything film and video related. So, I will make those skills available to the people around me. Any actor who has ever appeared in any of my movies gets free editing for life. If they have a project, all they need do is ask me and I’m there for them. If they want to create a demo reel, I give them footage from any of my films without any hassles. Too many filmmakers will not release any footage of their films to the actors, literally making them beg just to get a few moments of their work. That is unacceptable to me. I don’t care if the movie is officially out or not, if an actor wants footage from a film of mine that they worked on, they get it. It’s just that simple.
Most of the cast and crew from “The God Complex” (2009)
This is why actors and crew members keep coming back to Pirromount, picture after picture. It’s because they know that whether we have a budget to make our movies or whether we are flying by the seat of our pants, they will always get a fair shake and will be treated like family. In fact, I would say that most of the people I have worked with in my films are my family. And like a protective father, anyone who messes with my family, messes with me.
Pirro and Darwyn Carson, friends since 1975. Carson has been in three or four Pirromount films and was the inspiration for Pirromount’s 1998 comedy Color-Blinded.
Marky’s Angels: Photographer Nancy Jo Gilchrist, Hiromi Nishiyama from Rectuma and of course Pirromount veteran the lovely Darwyn Carson
The Pirromount family continues to grow, as we keep adding new people to the ensemble. My 2009 film, “The God Complex,” added a handful of new people, and some of them continued on to work on my latest film, “Rage of Innocence.” I embrace the newcomers and hold them in the same esteem as the ones I’ve been working with for over 30 years. This might seem like a bit of a rant, and maybe it is, but if you’re an independent filmmaker working on a very limited budget, let me stress one more time how important it is to insulate yourself with quality people. There aren’t a lot of quality people in this town of users and opportunists, so when you sift through the shit and find one or two…or three people who are trustworthy and as passionate about the creative process as you are, hoard them like gold, because in the indie world of filmmaking, they are.