On Tuesday, New York Film Academy in Los Angeles welcomed producer, Sean Daniel. Sean provided insight into the life of a producer, both independently and within the studio system. As President of Production at Universal Pictures for several years, he was integrally part of overseeing films such as Animal House, Sixteen Candles, and Blues Brothers, which was screened before the Q&A. Now, as an independent producer and current head of his own production company, Sean Daniel Productions, Sean has brought to life the successful The Mummy franchise, and has several films in development, including a Ben-Hur remake.
His journey to Hollywood began in 1970, when he received a scholarship to California Institute For the Arts, and just so happened to be first in his class for Filmmaking.
After college, he applied for a P.A. position at Universal. From there, Ned Tannen, whom he spoke of with great respect and called a “bold studio head,” took him under his wing. He eventually became the youngest President of a studio (at that time) at the age of 34. “I read every script and wrote a lot of coverage,” said Daniel. “Ned liked my point of view. I watched all the dailies I could get my hands on, and eventually got my way onto projects.”
Later, Sean was asked by one of NYFA’s producing students from Brazil, “What qualities must a good producer possess?” Sean’s response was simple, yet great advice, “One, you must love it. Two, You must not be in it for the money. Three, you must be incredibly stubborn. Four, you should be really skillful at dealing with people.”
It’s no secret that maintaining a career as a producer in Hollywood is a very difficult endeavor. Sean admitted that producing takes extremely hard work. Having been involved in many risky ventures, Sean left the students with these words, “It’s always a fight to get any movie made. At the end of the day, however, I love moviemaking.”