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Working with Frankenheimer

Updated on June 27, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.

A friend of mine, Kevin, nabbed a gig working with one of the best in the industry -- the late John Frankenheimer (Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Wallace, and Ronin).

Frankenheimer came to Northern California to do location work for one of his last films, Path to War, for HBO starring one of the Baldwin boys – Alec.

Donald Sutherland also stars in the cable movie. According to IMDb, The Path of War is based on a true story that takes place in the mid-1960s. President Johnson and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.

People in the movie industry expect and except other people in the business approaching them and networking or showing their work

Meeting Frankenheimer

Not only did Frankenheimer direct my friend; my friend also met Frankenheimer's daughter, Kristi, who is a location manager in the film industry. Pay attention readers, you are about to learn something about networking in the film business. Kevin was inventive enough to network and pitch a local independent film, Ashes, to his daughter who in turn would give it to her dad to view. Kevin was thinking on his feet and taking advantage of a business relationship he had formed while on a film set.

Some of you may think that it was a bit of a bold move and you would never approach a celebrity like that and be so forward. Why not, the worst that can happen is the celebrity would say “no.” Or, you would get kicked off the set, but I doubt the latter would happen unless you were really rude and obnoxious. People in the movie industry expect and except other people in the business approaching them and networking or showing their work.

The best that could happen is Frankenheimer likes Kevin’s movie and helps him with its distribution, or find an agent who helps distribute the film. Not bad for approaching the daughter of a well-known director and producer.

However, nothing came of the contact but Kevin made the move and felt good about his efforts. Later, when he pitches it to another distributor he can mention Frankenheimer's daughter is interested in the movie. It's called name dropping. It also tells the distribution representative that Kevin hustles and works to get his movie known to other people in the industry.

Talked to Frankenheimer

Kevin told me how he met and networked on the film set.

"The movie Path to War filmed at the California State Capital on Monday. Long Day--7: 30 AM until 11:45 PM! Very interesting day as I had the chance to work and speak with the director John Frankenheimer and his daughter, Kristi. I was very impressed with Frankenheimer - he demands a lot from his crew and he definitely doesn't tolerate wasted time ...but when you're responsible for a 17 million dollar budget project, the pressure is certainly on for you to get the job done! He did take the time to stop the filming long enough to personally thank all of the Sacramento cast and complimented them on their work, which I found very refreshing, especially from someone of his stature."


Follow up Contact Number

"I had the opportunity to speak with his daughter, Kristi, for a few minutes between set-ups and Kristi accepted a copy of the local independent film Ashes that she promised to give to her father. She also provided me with the production office number in LA so I could stay in touch and do a follow up on his impressions of the film."

This is another smart move by Kevin. He was given a follow-up number to contact Kristi at a later time after her dad viewed his movie.

© 2016 Kenna McHugh


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