Interview: Adam Lebovitz, Film Producer
Adam Lebovitz is a film executive at Unique Features, a production company founded by former New Line Cinema executives. He has produced two feature horror films, Tortured and Unrest. Lebovitz also co-founded QuickFilmBudget.com, a revolutionary way to create film budgets.
How did you get your start in film?
I studied film production at USC’s Peter Stark Program. Each year, they give out two grants of about $20k to make a short film. The grant is supposed to go to a 2nd year student. When I was a 1st year student, the 2nd year student who received the grant got a job, so he couldn’t produce the short film. The head of the program told the student that he could pass it along two 1st year students to produce as a team. He gave it to my best friend in the program who then called me to be his producing partner. We made a great short film called Looking For My Brother and I earned a reputation for working well with young directors.
Soon after finishing that short film, I received a call from a young director who had just secured financing for his first feature film. He asked if I would produce it. That movie was the horror film UNREST.
In addition to producing Unrest, you also produced the horror film Tortured. What draws you to the horror genre?
When I entered film school I wanted to produce comedies, but I quickly realized that it was easier to produce horrors and thrillers, because then you can sell to both a domestic and international marketplace. Comedies have a tougher time translating in foreign languages because of different cultures. But a knife is a knife in any language.
When producing a film, what are your primary roles and responsibilities?
There are many different types of producers. Some have relationships with actors, writers, and/or directors, while others have relationships with financiers. A third type of producer is like a project manager, in that they know how to budget and schedule a film, making sure the film meets its deadlines operationally. I have operated in each of these roles on different projects. Ultimately, a producer’s job is to get a film made and distributed.
In 2010, you optioned the rights to a series you wrote with your brother to Fox Television Studios. What are the differences between working and negotiating in TV vs. film?
We actually pitched an original idea to Fox TV Studios which they optioned and then paid us to write the scripts. TV and film are not entirely different, but there are some things that TV focuses more on while films focus elsewhere. For example, a TV pitch is almost entirely about the characters, while a film pitch focuses equally on the world and setting as it does the character.
As for the differences in working for each medium, TV is much more of a stable office routine, while films are a bunch of people who work together for a couple months and then everyone moves on to their next project.