E. Thompson [Interview]

Photo by Walid Azami

Today’s interviewee is a very interesting cat that I am so excited to have featured on the site. In short, he is a very successful film producer out there in Hollywood Land. He’s worked on some rather large projects during his tenure with companies like Maverick and Outlier Productions. But, Thompson was the first to admit, that he never had ambitions to really do anything in Hollywood. He may not technically be considered an artist, yet what he does in the world of film is an art form all in itself, whether he wants to admit it or not. He makes the films you know and love actually happen. Without the likes of a man like this, most of the things you know and love simply can not happen.

I will always be happy to feature folks on TWS who simply have an eye for great work, and who are willing to put in the time and effort (and money, lots of god damn money!) into making a project they believe in come to life. And we are certainly happy to be able to feature one of the best of the best here today. So without further ado, please enjoy some fine words from the amazing E. Thompson.

What was it that initially drew you to the world of entertainment? Did you have different aspirations prior to becoming to a film producer?

This is always an interesting question. I grew up in a very small town in North Carolina. I was in a few school productions. I played the Captain of the Pinafore in fifth grade. I won a few writing contests. I loved to use my imagination. The problem was, I never knew there was a vocation for using it. There was never a discussion of doing anything creative as a career. It didn’t exist there. I ended up going towards sports in high school, but privately I was still looking for a creative outlet. The path I took to entertainment was a bit of a strange one. I was asked to come to Los Angeles by a friend to do some body guard work because of the body guard work was I was doing on the East Coast. Once I came to Los Angeles, I never left. I worked for some of the most prominent rappers at the time. That led to me working very closely with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna. When Madonna and Guy decided to scale up the film company, I was hired to be an executive there because they trusted me. Also, in case one of Madonna’s world class stalkers showed up.

When did your work with Maverick begin? And how was this experience for you?

I started at Maverick in the very beginning when Guy and Madonna decided to rebrand MadGuy Films into Maverick Films. I had a previous working relationship with them as I mentioned before. It was an invaluable experience that cannot be replicated. It was a moment in time we will never see again. It was toward the end of the spec market and the beginning of the usable internet. Coupled with emergence of digital filmmaking. It was like being present for the Big Bang. It was the convergence that gave birth to the new media and ever-changing platforms we see today. It was a great time in the history of filmed entertainment.

And when and how did Outlier begin? What encouraged you to create this company?

After Maverick Films ran its course, I was putting together independent films. I was beginning to miss the team atmosphere we had at Maverick. I had recently just worked with Mark Morgan (former CEO of Maverick) again on an independent film he put together. He has a great eye for material and brilliant at development. We decided to team up and put together some youth driven content for film and TV.

When you are either researching or seeking out a project, what would you say are your initial wants and/or concerns? What are the aspects that, to you, make up a great film?

Genre’s differ, but most of it comes down the story told. A good comedy or drama should have key story notes that you relate to. Feelings that you have felt, or new feelings you didn’t know were possible. You are taking a ride and ride has to keep you engaged. We often talk about something that “takes us out” of a story. This means a misstep or a lull that disengages you from the ride. When this happens, it is almost impossible to get the audience back. It’s flawless story telling that makes a great film. That’s why what you don’t see on the screen is just as important as what you do see. I also look for high content films. You can make the most mundane subject matter high content if you have a good twist or a new and compelling perspective on it.

According to my very intense research, meaning I looked on IMDb Pro, I understand that you portrayed one of the illustrious Foot Soldiers in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film back in 1990. Can you tell us a bit more about this experience? What was required of you as a Foot Soldier?

Well, there is that. I started in martial arts when I was ten years old. When they started shooting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few towns over in Wilmington, NC, it was a huge deal. It seemed liked a fun creative outlet that I could take part in because of my martial arts experience. I remember everyone thought this was their big break. I didn’t think anything of it. Hollywood could have been on Mars for all I knew. I just did it because it seemed cool. I wish I had Hollywood aspirations back then. I would have done a flying side kick through the window of the Producer’s trailer and gave the battle cry, “Make me a star!”

When the rapture/apocalypse finally takes most of us out, what will you be happy that you left behind thus far? What would you like to have added to history before people like you and I surely perish?

My son, he’s my immortality. Other than that, I am never satisfied with anything I do and always want to do better. So what I want to leave behind hasn’t happened yet. I’ll know it when I see it, and I hope I see it.

So, what does the future hold for you? Any projects coming up that you would like our readers to know about?

Yes, I am teaming up with an already established film company outside of the United States to head up their office here. We haven’t announced yet, so I can’t give all the details. I am also very excited about a thriller remake we are developing from Brazil.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I just told my son that I was doing an online interview and he looked up from watching YouTube on his iPad and said, “What evs.”

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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