On this week's episode we have Leanne Melissa Bishop and Michael Mason. They are the co-owners of Penguin Pictures, a Canadian based production company that's ready to make waves in the industry. The married couple sat down with us to talk the business side of film, film finance, and the up and down journey that lead them to where they are today.
Penguin Pictures: www.penguinpictures.ca
Welcome to once upon a film industry. I'm Steven Lloyd Bennett. And I'll now Lopez and we are here today with Leanne, Melissa Bishop and Michael Mason of penguin pictures right guys? Hey, that's right. Very glad to have you guys. You guys are a married couple. Yes. I never actually knew this. I known you guys for at this point almost 10 years now, right? Yeah, I mean, I met you in New York. Yeah. Trying to think but yeah, it was way back with the radio man days. We did that radio man short. Yeah. 15 years now. Yeah, now you're starting to date us. Yeah, it was a Wow. I mean, it was when we were all in New York. You guys from Canada. And I actually never knew this about you guys. But how did you guys meet? Ah, she's from Nova Scotia. I spent years in Nova Scotia, but we never actually met there. I left Nova Scotia to go to Toronto, or to move back to Toronto. I was born there originally and and go to sort of the Canadian version of the AFI called the Canadian film center, CFC. I went to go to school there. And you'll work on projects together. And one of the directors I worked with was a woman named Audrey Cummings, who I became good friends with. And we've collaborated on a number of films. And she said, I met someone who be perfect for you. And I had met her just the week before, because her her husband went to high school with me. And I was I was finished school at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, but didn't have working papers yet. So I went to Toronto because I didn't know where else to go. And my parents were like, Hey, you should look up Steve's wife because she's in the film industry. So I did. And she said, I know the perfect guy for you. And then we were just at like a TIFF event. And we randomly met each other. get around. So the funny thing is, yeah, it was it was a setup that never actually happened. And then we talked for about a half hour and after she walked off Audrey just tournament, so that's who I was trying to set you up with. So, and we still love each other even though we weren't what would you say? gotten started? Or what's your passion in the film industry? I just love like, I'm so interested in just people in general and like, what makes them think and tick just like human human study. And so I started as an actor. And and you know, growing up in Nova Scotia, it was kind of more part time because you can't I was also an accountant. You know, that just the industry wasn't big enough there. But because it was small, I was always making my own work, I wanted to work so bad that I would constantly be writing shorts and, and so that's kind of, I think, where I got my work ethic from but you had to do that to to be able to just be active as an artist. So that's kind of where I got that from. And then I went to this little mini midlife crisis and when decided to go back to school in New York later on in life as an actress, and then just found myself always writing and producing and recently directed, which is super exciting. sort of similar. I started my I'm a second generation film brat. So I grew up around the film industry. My stepfather is a set painter. And the first film set I was on was first blood, the original Rambo movie, which was shot in Vancouver where I grew up. And so I'd always been around the film industry and, and sort of, you know, found my way into different departments. I originally started in the paint department with my father, but I didn't much like it, just because it was, I never felt like I was making a movie. I mean, you're a very small part of a larger thing. But you're so far removed from the actual shooting process and the storytelling part of it. I didn't enjoy that. Then I moved into camera lighting, and I ended up getting a job on a TV show in Vancouver where I met some business partners, who will people who eventually ended up becoming business partners, and I found my way into post but at the time, it's a little different now in Vancouver, but at the time most post production was being done elsewhere. So you would you would shoot it here in Vancouver and there was a ton of big Hollywood movies being shot, but there was not a lot being posted here. They would ship the footage back to Los Angeles or they would ship the footage to Toronto and there'd be an editor they're working and I wanted to get into long form, you know, cutting features and television and so, myself and my three business partners who had similar stories that they wanted To do things that they weren't being given the opportunity to do likely in, we decided to create our own stuff. And somehow we came up with this plan to move clear across the country from Vancouver to Halifax, because they had a very aggressive Film Commission there. And so I spent about seven years in Halifax and produced sketch comedy pilot a number of shorts, a feature film. And, and we had a number of other projects in development at various networks and studios in Canada. And, and then eventually, the partnership kind of fizzled. And, and that's when I went to Toronto to go to the Canadian film center, but, but that whole process of trying to create work for myself to do what I wanted to do, which was just tell stories and make movies and television, you know, I sort of fell into that accidentally, in the process of trying to create work for myself, I became a producer, I will say, Michael Mason is one of the most talented editors, I know, I do consider you, my editing mentor, every time I have a cut, I'm usually like, I'm sending it out to you, when I after I make something I'm personally even with my own work. I'm a big believer in fresh eyes. I mean, most people it's you know, you can get very close to things and you could sometimes, you know, you just get used to something and you think it's working or it is working and you lose that perspective. And so you need that objectivity, somebody who can just sort of look at it from the outside. without all the baggage I've seen, you know, directors almost want to throw away a scene because they have bad memories of what what happened on set or how things didn't turn out the way they had initially planned. So you know, that that feeling is like, oh, I'll just, I'll just get rid of it. And, and so sometimes it's my job to try and show them that actually, it can be saved. And and and it is useful to the film and it. It's an important piece. So yeah, I'm a big believer in fresh eyes. So you know, I'm always happy to look at other people's stuff. Yeah, it's always different in posts. It's always once you start looking at the footage is always different. Yeah. I think I think it's like you said emotionally, when you're on set, someone's an actress or an actor may do something, you're like, Oh, that's a horrible take. And then you look at an imposing, you're just like, Oh, that's a muscle that might that might be the one actually. So you never actually know. You let your emotions take over how you think of the shot. Actually, when you're on set when you see it. You remember that moment of like, the whole crew is like, Oh, I love that one. And yes, I got into that. Yeah, or the opposite. Yeah, vice versa. When it's like, on set, it was like, Oh, that was hilarious. That was great. Everyone thought it was great. And then you get a posting about No, that was not good at all. I've had directors say to me, like Yeah, no, it's the take where they do this. And I'm like, yeah, that's that's the take right there. Yeah. I don't know what it seemed like on set, maybe it felt bigger. But that's what it is. I'm always curious about this, when I see a married couple working together. And I've seen you guys work together and you guys work seamlessly. But how do you make time for each other? It's, it's tough. I mean, it's something that you have to constantly work on. There's there's definitely times and we we try to avoid this. Like if we're out to dinner, for instance, say we're going out on a date night and we're going out to dinner somewhere and we're having a nice meal and you know, you're spending a bunch of money and you're going to you know, a bottle of wine and you're enjoying yourself. The it's so easy to just slide into work talk like, Oh, this happened and this happened are Oh, should we do this? And I mean, there's nothing wrong with that. But you don't want work to be the only way you relate to each other. So it sometimes takes a lot of work to create those lines to say like, no, we're not going to do work talk tonight, we're just going to enjoy each other's company and and talk about other stuff and not you know about the production that we're working on or the thing that we're developing and it may sound kind of silly, but we'll like make meetings, okay, it's three o'clock, we're work we're gonna meet about this 11am we're meeting about this, but then it kind of sets the boundaries of when we can each do our own individual work. And then like sometimes if we have stuff to talk about in the evening, we kind of like, Is it okay if we, you know, work for a bit now? Or are we just hanging out like so it's kind of silly in a way that I feel like you have to set that up and do it. I can tell you now, having a kid that work talk becomes baby talk. It's like time aside to talk just to hang out instead of talking only relating to each other through the baby. So I mean, what what advice would you give what I mean, you guys seem like very well disciplined couple in all smoke and mirrors. What What advice would you give to a young couple, who are both in the film industry want their marriage to succeed? I think definitely try to you know, put yourself in the other person's shoes. I mean, you have to you have to remember that Nobody's produced anything knows it takes a long time for the paychecks to roll in on that kind of stuff. So you end up having to work outside of it, you know, you have to work I work as an editor for a living and, and so oftentimes, you know, you come home from a day of work, and there's stuff that you need to get done. And I think just understanding and putting yourself in the other person's shoes and knowing they may be tired, or, or they may, you know, they may need some time to decompress before you can get into anything. I mean, that's a big part of it, I think is is, is communication and and understand I think just communication again, is like, also trying to create the same boundaries as if you were in an office and you weren't married. So for example, like if I wrote something, and it very well could be crap, and he could be right. Like, he could, with shorthand, just be like, you know what, like, that sucks. But then like, that could create more animosity. So you know, just kind of like really like the direction but this didn't work. Because this I mean, it sounds so Elementary, but it's just, I think it just comes down to respect and, and we're not perfect. So there might be a reason why we figured out how to do this, you know, we had some growing pains, you know, and it's not always perfect. Yeah. So I mean, Michael, you're an editor and a producer, Leanne, you're an actress, writer, producer. And you guys come together for penguin pictures, what are the overall goals of penguin pictures, I feel like the biggest one is we want to create work that's going to inspire others and change the world, whether that's to make someone laugh, or to open their eyes up to something that's going on, that needs to be fixed. And even if it's not, like, we don't necessarily want to make a film that tells someone, Steven, you have to think this way, because we're right. But if we can just open someone up to think of other possibilities. So those are our like, kind of like, that's our company mandate. Overall, that's what we're trying to achieve. I think the idea is to put together stories that are not only entertaining, and, you know, may give somebody some information or teach them something that will help them but also, you know, that that is, is is just going to, you know, matter. And so what do you think are like, I mean, you guys are in Canada, and the penguin pictures is based out of Canada, I'm assuming. What are some of the challenges that you guys face? Being Canadians within the film industry? You know, we have a feature film that we're in very late stage development. We're hoping to go to camera later this year that we're just sort of finalizing fun. Nice. And Congrats. Yeah. It's been a while coming. Yeah. And this is one that Leanne wrote. And will star in as well. And that will be shot in Canada in in the province of Manitoba because they have a great tax credit system. There. We have a partner producer, based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. But then we have other productions like we partnered up with Kelly perine, who, who Steven knows and worked with on on Reservations for Three Steven's the one that started he trilo Shout out shout out to Kelly perine. And episode as well, he badass like other side of the brain and awesome worker, and we had him on our show, and he just brought energy. I mean, Kelly's great, we clicked right away, initially started working with Kelly on Reservations for Three, which Steven directed. But we initially shout out shout out actually Reservations for Three is available on Amazon right now. Go ahead with a few best best comedy shorts and best narrative shorts and a bunch of acting awards. But yeah, we have a project in development now with with Kelly, that we're trying to get a one hour sort of drama series off the ground, kind of starting from the Capitol. Riots moving forward. So it's very topical very now. You know, we're trying to do sort of projects that that interest us, but also we think are going to be you know, better for the greater good. Is it easier for you guys to do films in the US or in Canada? Because I know, especially for the tax breaks in Canada, you get you get a bit more in Canada than you would in the US. So I'm just curious, you know, for our Canadian. I mean, there is a reason that we're shooting our feature in Canada, especially in Manitoba, because the tax credits are, you know, very, very high there. But our short films we've shot and To us, I mean, there's pros and cons to both the advantage to Canada, and you have to use their sort of threshold, you have to be producing something that's above the threshold niche, each province will have its own. And it'll have its own tax credit system with its own sort of numbers, you know, it'll be a percentage based on either labor or, or your total spend in that province. Usually, there's, there's a difference between someone who is a homegrown producer, meaning someone, you know, who's indigenous to that province or state in the case of the US, and someone who is a service producers coming from from outside. And so you sort of look at at the different jurisdictions in Canada in the US and decide where it makes sense to shoot your production based on locations you might need and what kind of tax credits they offer. The advantage to Canada is as Canadians there's also funding both federal and provincial funding available for filmmakers. I mean, you have to apply for it. And you know, it never comes without strings. I mean, you may or may not get it, but it is available to apply for if it's some, you know, if you fulfill what they're looking for, and these are grants yet well, they're not grants, they're they're, in some cases, their equity, like telefilm, which is the sort of national funding agency for Canada, telefilm Canada, basically, you know, again, there's, there's sort of different budget levels, they have a micro budget, sort of a town to watch program, which I believe is budgets, 250,000, and under, and then they have a sort of a regional fund that that deals and to sort of the specific regions. And that's anything with a budget of less than two and a half million, and then over two and a half million is a national thing. So that each each funding level has its own sort of group of people who look at the projects and decide what meets their criteria and what they want to support. But you can get, you know, in some cases, you know, millions of dollars, I mean, the the regional funding for a budget of two and a half million dollars, I think caps out at 500,000. So we did apply for the telephone funding, we we did not get it, it wasn't it just didn't jive with with what they were looking for. But we are still shooting it in Canada, because with all the tax credits and the equity we have we are 60% financed. So we're with that film, we're currently starting our star casting so that we can then use that to leverage getting the rest of the money from the market and the other side. Yeah, yeah, I mean, one of the reasons we chose Manitoba is their tax credit system, it's a very high percentage, it's 60% of your spend in Manitoba. So you get a fair amount of money back, and then you can then borrow against that money with bridge financing to use it in your production, and then they get paid back. Of course, you know, once the tax credits come in, can I can ask you to back up just a little bit, because he said a lot of things I know the rookie filmmakers gonna be like, what did he just say? Yeah, sorry. Bridge financing all those things. So basically, if you if you're making a movie, and you have all the money, you know, you're making it for a studio, if you're lucky enough to have all the money, you just go out and you make your movie, and then afterwards, you try and sell it. And and you apply for your tax credits in whatever jurisdiction you're shooting in, you know, if you're in New York, it's 30%. La, it's a lottery system. And I think it's 25. But it's very, you know, there's only a few productions that get it. So you know, you you can apply for your tax credits. And that can take the form of one of two things, it can either be a, a rebate, where you literally just get like a check back, send them in all your paperwork with your you know, with your audit from your accountants, and you show how much money you spent and how you fit their criteria, and they'll just send you a check back. Now, the other way is a is a tax credit, where it's a, it's usable by a business that is making money in that jurisdiction to use against future profits. So in that case, if you don't have a business that's operating in that jurisdiction, then you could sell that tax credit. It's transferable. In some cases, it's transferable and you could sell it through a broker to someone who does need that and you might not get 100 cents on the dollar, you might get like 75 cents on the dollar or whatever. So your tax credit is for 100,000 you might only get 75. But if you don't have all the money to begin with, so you have half of the money, but you know, you're going to get tax credits, you know, roughly what they're going to be because you can use your budget to kind of calculate that and maybe you have say, a pre sale. You know, somebody in Europe says, Hey, I really want to buy your film, you know, because you've got David Hasselhoff in it and he's big enough. Not, Germans are like, we want this movie with David Hasselhoff in it. And so you, you pre sell your film to them and they say we're going to give you $100,000, but they're not going to give it to you until you deliver the film, and maybe not even then maybe they'll give you half when you deliver it, and then half after a year, but you're like, I want that $100,000 now, or I want, you know, as much of it as I can get now, so I can use it to help make my film, you can go to a bank, or to a financing company that that does finance and do what's called bridge financing, basically, your financing your tax credits, or your pre sales, and you use that contract, to go to them and say, I have this signed contract, as long as I deliver a film, they are going to give me this much money. And you can do the same thing with your tax credits you you go to the bank, and you say, here's our tax credit calculations, we have an accountant that's looked at them and said that they are within a certain percentage of error, that that's what we're going to get back and tax credits, and they will lend you money based on those calculations. And then of course, you pay interest and you know, in a fee and all that kind of stuff, and and that that can get fairly expensive. So then, the only question is, what if you don't finish the film, and that's where film bonds come in. If you if you ever had to bond to film, now, they don't tend to bond lower budget films anymore. But you know, if you've got a$20 million film, or $100 million film or a $200 million film, you borrowed all this money, and then the film never gets made, everybody loses a lot of money. So what they'll do is they'll they'll get a bond company to look at, basically that bond company ensures that the film will get made. And if it doesn't get made, they will cover you know those other monies. So there's all this stuff that's going on in the in the business world, as Alberto I'm sure knows that that sort of goes on behind the scenes, it's not really about the creative part of filmmaking, but the business part of it. One of the struggles with a lot of filmmakers is you may have, you know, a great creative mind and have all these stories you want to tell but but in some ways, you need to either find yourself a business producer or somebody who can handle the business of it, or you have to yourself get good at it. Because it is it is really, you know, and it's not like, you know, a painter can, you know, can put themselves into a room and you know, with just a canvas and some brush and some paint, they can make a work of art, but a filmmaker, you know, it takes many, many people to make a film, you know, you think that's like a really good point, because there's so many talented artists that struggle with their careers, because they don't have the business mindset. I think that every one in the industry should take, you know, either read or some kind of a business course to get the job. And because it's vital, you know, no one else is going to do that for you. Film financed by Michael Mason in the film finance 101 that's just that's just the cover page. Yeah, how to leverage your assets to get your film produced on that could be a podcast in itself. Yeah. And the same thing goes in Canada for the financing. I mean, you know, if you if you're lucky enough to get film, your film financed by telefilm, I mean, they don't just give you all the money all at once you get it through draw downs, and you have to deliver certain things like you'll get some money up front, and then you'll have to deliver, you know, your rough cut, you'll have to deliver a you know, fine. And, and so, as you're delivering those things, you get a little bit of money in a draw down. But But again, you kind of need it all, you know, all at once, because you've got to make your film and doesn't do you any good if you don't have enough money to film the thing, that they're going to give you money in six months. It's like I need it now. So I can make my movie. So a lot of times you end up bridge financing that as well. Mike, you are an editor and you just edited a film that got into Sundance. I did yeah, it was a it was a documentary by a director named Lucy Walker. It's shout out Lucy Walker. First, I should say I'm one of a number of editors. I'm not the main editor on it. The film itself was originally started as a short documentary about California wildfires. I came on in late in 2019. And they had already been editing for about a year. And and you know, other editors had been on and then had to move off on to other projects. So I was lucky enough to come in and work on the thing for about four months, I think until the pandemic started. And then they finished it up just this last couple months and we had our premiere or world premiere at Sundance. Yeah, I mean, I think it's an important film. It's a it's sort of an investigation into why these fires keep happening and why they keep getting bigger. And the obvious thing is climate change, which is a part of it but surprisingly not the major part of it. It's Just a small part of it. And I think the filmmaker herself was a little surprised when she started to realize just how much there is in terms of this problem of why these fires keep getting bigger. I'm sorry, Michael, what's the name of the documentary? I'm sorry, I should have said that poor PR in my part. It's called bring your own Brigade, your short film. We talked about it before, but I do want to talk about it. Now. The what's your film about? Do you have a short film now that you made during quarantine? Oh, yeah, it's called Tell me something. So I, I worked on that heavily with Curtis Webster. It was his nugget idea and his script. And he brought it to me. And because we were both like, there's got to be a way that we can just make something during the quarantine, let's not care about having a budget and this big, we just want him to stay active and do something. Yeah. So for me, what it really taught me was to think outside of the box. And that there are no constraints to making films. And so the film itself, it's about a woman that is quarantined, and is calling into a suicide helpline, because she's, you know, she wants to end her life. It's it's, but but there is a positivity in the movie. And that, you know, I'm you know, it's to our viewers, that the man on the helpline, is also struggling and through the process of they stand on like a zoom call all night. And they actually like really connect and her connection with him, actually helps him to get through what he was going through and struggling with which you learn by the end of the film. So it's to highlight how important human connection is and how hard this quarantine and isolation is on people and how you know how real suicide is. And it's, it's more like now more than ever, I mean, it's just people need to be aware of it, are you in the familia, I am in the film. So it was recorded primarily like over zoom, because they A lot of it takes place over zoom call. That's how she called into the suicide helpline through zoom call. And then we also Curtis's wife, kay was his dp. And then my partner, Mike was my dp. And so you know, we had iPhones to shoot the other angles, but it was basically like zoom footage and two iPhones. So it's very much character driven story. And I shot another film that amazingly beautiful on you know, read and all this, like phenomenally beautiful. And it was an action film and have like a lot of gymnastics in it and all these sequences, so I'm proud of that for a very different reason. But this one goes to prove to me that you don't necessarily have to wait to have all those things to be able to get your art out there as an exercise, and just trying to get something made, I think, for sort of our sanity as well as, as you know, for people to see, but I think it does really highlight, you know, you need some kind of human connection and, and, and just, you know, to be touched, like a feeling of someone touching you. And so I think, you know, that's sort of what we were trying to get across with this is is how important that is. And I felt really proud of it. Because, you know, it's getting to four or five festivals, and it was really no budget, it was just us, but it has screened at a number of festivals in in Southern California. And we will be screening at the brig Oh springs Film Festival, they delayed it because of COVID that will be the next festival at screening. So I'm sure it will be online too. So if if people will put the burgo Springs screening in the show notes. So yeah, for sure. For sure. It sounds like a good story. Well, how was it getting into that role? and diving into that? Did you have to do some research Did you kind of, you know, took some experience that you're kind of going through now through the whole Cabin Fever was really tough. I did pull I pull on some experiences that, you know, I was going through but then obviously it had to be heightened. Because thankfully, I wasn't suicidal in real life. But I think we can all relate to that to that feeling of like staring at the same wall every day over and over and over and it's like Groundhog Day over and over and over and if you have no one to talk to and no one and you know I have some friends that have suffered from you know, mental health and suicide and and so I even though I thankfully don't have it myself, I definitely can relate and had to kind of put myself in that position. It was it was a tough role to play. It was challenge. I know that that's why I asked the question because it sounds like a tough role. And I just wanted to know how did you how did you find your character You know, thanks for sharing that, Michael, what kind of advice would you give to someone who is starting off as an editor in the industry, I always had that kind of attitude of like, I'm going to do it myself and sort of earn while you learn. Like, I once got a job on a show, and I had never used avid before. But I'd used other software and and I just kind of said, Yeah, I know how to do avid and then I just figured it out. Right part of that is my personality. I'm, you know, I'm pretty good at computers. So I could learn the software. But I think the reason it works is because, you know, like, being an editor, I'm not an editor, because I know how to use avid or I know how to use premiere or, you know, Final Cut, or any of those softwares. I'm an editor because I understand how to visually tell a story and to put images together to achieve whatever effect you want. And so that's kind of a long winded way of saying, like, just go out there and be proactive and create things yourself, find people who you like to work with, who you can create things with, and, and build up a body of work. You know, by doing that, as opposed to like, you know, just sitting there and waiting for the phone to ring. I think that's a, that's actually a really strong way to say it as an editor. Because a lot of editors, they know a lot of tools, but they don't know how to tell a story. So technically, they know how to push the buttons, right? And they know how to make premiere work. But it's like, can you tell the story, though? Because an editor is probably the most underappreciated facet of filmmaking. I can't think of anything important yet. Yes. I mean, like, it's so important, if not the most important part of filmmaking. Yet, totally. Everyone just disregards it. So, can you tell the story? I think there has to be extremely. Yeah, first in that as well, for sure. I've had a conversation with many a director before I take a job where I sort of, say to them, you know, and some directors and I have nothing against them have a very strong sense of, of what it is they want to do. And they're not necessarily looking for a collaborator, they're looking for someone to push buttons, they're looking at hands to drive the software. And I usually have that conversation with someone when I'm going to take a job. You know, because I don't want to sit in a chair for five months on a film and be uncomfortable, and they're going to be uncomfortable, and it's just not going to work. Because at the end of the day that I mean, I'm a storyteller, you know, editing is just one way of doing it, but I think of myself as a storyteller. So speaking of stories, storytime What is it this can either be a story between the two of you or one of you tell the story, whatever you decide, but your craziest onset story? Well, can I tell my fire story? Oh, Kelly, I'm just oh yes yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's I don't know it's not really that great of a story. So okay, we we have these films like reservations for three cameras and Peter's smokin hot date is you is shadow Stephen again for starting the way with the first rule. The second one Candice and Peter's smokin hot date. My husband I decided to co direct together which was awesome. So we shot it at Kelly's house we use his kitchen very first shot of the day and this was my very first directing call on it. We were you know there is cooking of pork chops involved in the film. So the frying pan is sizzling and and i awesome shot that I just needed to discuss a little bit more. Hey, Kelly, Kelly, just like put a little bit of water on that. So oil and water do not mix anybody added gas fire. No. The last thing to do is add water literally like all of a sudden like it goes up in flames. The ceiling Kelly is trying to put it out. I my instinct was to run. Sure it's we're gonna burn down Kelly's house. But Kelly put it out but um, so Leanne was behind the monitor. I was actually standing next to Ryan who Steven knows these he's shot Ryan shot that well. Ryan Ryan amazing DeepMind Griswold shout out shout out. Got out a great deal of them like four of my shorts at this point. You've done Yes. Yeah, Ryan was shooting that and so he was shooting at handheld on his shoulder and I was sort of beside him, you know, looking at the monitor and then the end was behind the you know, video village monitor. And and then of course Kelly was standing in front of the stove and and I think what the end meant was like a flick of water just to get sizzle. We dumped water and it just went it went up and and so Kelly's not clear direction on my part or a miscommunication anyway, Kelly Kelly, very smartly, I immediately grabbed the lid and put a lid on top of it. And I, at the same time quite proud of the fact that I didn't bolt and I went forward and that I bolted. It was a potential disaster. It's funny now it wasn't what wasn't what it happened. So in the end, Michael, what are some of the goals were 2021? For you guys, or for penguin pictures? I think number one priority is to get that film made this year. And, and certainly, you know, at least get it in the cannon and start post on it. So yeah, and then also, I mean, it's, it's too early to say get it shot. I mean, you never know. But that the ghost story I was telling you about that I wrote, it's very, very important film to me. And it's gonna, it's a little bit of a higher budget, but it's going to be a co production between the UK and Canada, because a lot of it's a feature, a lot of it takes place around a monument in London called Cleopatra's Needle. So it's very much part of it does need to be shot there. But I'm the one of our goals is to get that all of like the pre production ready. So it can be shot in 2022. And then of course, we're still pitching our TV shows, and where can we find all your gifts? you're pitching them? So you're not? Are they online? Those two shorts, is you is and smoking is you is is is also playing if it's it's the third in the canvas and Peter, Sega, we're just trying to get the word out there. And and the three films together are sort of we're using them as as a tool to help pitch a TV series version of those two characters anyway. All right, here goes the last one. Hold on, okay. 40 years from now, your old people looking back at Old 60 years from now, old people. 60 year should be 29. Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna start counting backwards next year. So when you're, you're old, you're looking back on your career? What is making you most proud, I would definitely say the stuff that we created ourselves. I mean, I like working. I like working, you know, for other people or with other people. You know, where it's just sort of a job for hire, you know, and I have a number of filmmakers that I've worked with repeatedly who I, you know, now call friends. But I think the stuff that you do yourself, always just feels, you know, a little more special, just feels a little more, like you're putting a piece of you into it or a bigger piece of you into it. Yeah. And I just, like feel like, like all the magic that we create together. You know, you know, like, it's because filmmaking so collaborative, and to be able to share that journey with, you know, someone that you love, I think it's pretty phenomenal. And just, I think also, if I could predict 60 years, because this is the way I feel now, all the people I meet along the way, like I'm so like, happy to have you in my corner. Steven and and, you know, just like, all of those relationships of the people you need. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, one of the great things about the film industry is that you, you know, you have the opportunity to meet and work with so many people, and sometimes travel, I mean, I did a film two and a half years ago, where I got to go to South Africa for eight weeks. Amazing, one of my, you know, one of the greatest experiences I've had, I got to meet some great people, it's, it's, it's pretty special to get to meet, you know, some amazing people and, and, you know, form bonds with them. And usually, because, you know, it's, it's almost like those battlefield bonds, you imagine that, you know, that, you know, soldiers have, you know, you're sort of under fire together in a different way. And so you break bonds with people like you, you know, you just connect, you're there for long periods of time, and you're, you know, dealing with stressful situations. So, you know, you bond with people, you know, work hard, play hard. And so some of those, some of those relationships are ones that I think they're gonna last for a long time. So, absolutely. It's funny every time I mean, I'll talk about this every single time. Every time I asked. Almost every time I asked someone that question. I ask everyone the same question. It always comes down to relationships in some kind of way. So everyone always says at some point, in some kind of way, in their own way, the people I've made the people I influence and the people who have influenced me in some kind of way, it's always interesting to me how we as much as you know We admire awards and big money and all those things we all want those things, when it comes down to his relationships to is the family that you create through those, you know, like you say in those wartime situations, when you're on set, it feels like you're in battle with someone on a team and you're getting this job done. Like that night when we were doing reservations we did in one night, nine hours. 15 What, 13 pages, 13 pages or whatever it was. pages of pages, nine hours and IBM and Beverly Hills when we talk about story, I can throw a quick story in here. Yeah. We were we were shooting this this short 13 pages, nine hours and construction started happening. What four in the morning, something like that, where 5am and 5am. Beverly Hills are shooting in Beverly Hills. Construction starts and we're like, oh, we're shooting outside of this restaurant. Okay, just like oh my god, they can't we can't shoot with them with like doing this. So everything like we're losing like he was getting outside. Yeah, it was just like we have, they have to stop. We can't, we can't go on. And I forget whose idea it was. But we're just like, I first was like, Steven, you got to go over and talk to them. I'm like, I'm a big black guy. I think it was a good learning opportunity for any young producer out there. If you ever find yourself in that situation where you've got someone with construction going on, send over the pretty girl in a slightly low cut top with a whole plate of free food. We had a bunch of food and lamps dressed in a nice dress with cleavage. I said, Leanne, take off the jacket and bring food over to the guy. They were so nice. They just like are like they're like, oh, we're just doing our job. It's like, Is there any way like just like 1520 minutes just to get a couple more shots. Pasta, have some food. It's a reminder to ask for what you want, right? But I think we all thought we were screwed. And Steven was like, we got to do this. So he found a way what's the way to do it? Like this is the problem. How do you solve it now. But that's I truly thank you guys for coming on. And doing this. This is a lot of fun. When I first started this industry, you guys were the one of the first people after Vinny to like really like that. That was my first connection. Like first people I met and was like, Oh, I know people in the industry who do stuff and want to work with me. So I appreciate you guys for wanting to work with me. Oh, you're so talented. You're better. Yeah, you're you're great. I don't I don't know of anybody else who could have pulled off reservations for three, nine hours, 13 hours. I mean, you you've had your shit down, you got every shot we needed and more. You know, Leanna and Kelly had to nail it. But you also needed to know what you needed, you know, in order to be able to tell that story. And yeah, and you got it all so beautifully. Yeah. What a lot of awards too. So it did. Yeah, I mean, that's honestly that film is one of the films I'm most proud of. I mean, you know, Kennison Peters smoking out date, which Leanne and I co directed, did well at festivals. But I'm still more proud of reservations for three. So yeah, I have a nice little heart to it. And yeah, it does keep my eye out. And I'm waiting for that, that that feature yours to Oh my God, I want to scream right now. It's my think about that feature. I haven't I don't know. It's just one of them. Three right now at this point, and one of them needs to happen is in the pipeline. He's he's been quite patient, and he's gotten he's gotten close to the finish line. And he's almost there. You just have to be persistent. I don't talk about it a lot. But the feature film that I produced to Nova Scotia when when I did that, I, I moved out, like I said, with three business partners, we moved across the country from Vancouver, hollywood north to Halifax, except we were broke, you know, we worked where we could, but we were really trying to focus our energy. So three of us literally lived in an office. Wow, me and two other guys. And we used to shower every day at the gym. So I'd go to the gym and have a shower there. And, you know, we lived in an office building. And in sort of the back part of our office was a lot of struggling and you know, a lot of just just willing it to happen. So so you know, don't don't give up I guess that's another, you know, for rookie filmmakers don't give up you're going to get a lot of nose before you get yeses. So just keep at it and believe in yourself and believe in your team. And having a team is important too, because sometimes you're going to get down and you're going to feel like giving up and if you can find a great group of people to work with who, you know, when you're feeling that way somebody else can become the cheerleader and champion the project to keep it going. You know, and you trade off like because there's going to be times where you're going to feel like throwing in the towel. That's huge advice. Yes. Thank you guys for doing this. Appreciate you guys, and we'll speak soon. Yeah, sounds good. There's Nice meeting you Alberto. And and always pleasure to see you, Stephen. If you enjoyed this episode, and you're listening on Apple podcasts, please leave us a review. To find out more about Leann Michael and Penguin pictures, please check the show notes. For more info about us. Please follow us on Instagram at once upon a film industry. Thanks for listening guys. I'll see you next week.