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February 2006
`0`JUST KEEP THE DOOR OPEN!! An Interview with Producer/ Director Mary Glynn

`0`JUST KEEP THE DOOR OPEN!! An Interview with Producer/ Director Mary Glynn

By Wilson Morales

According to her press notes, having spent over 15 years cultivating solid relationships, knowledge, and experience in film and television, producer Mary E. Glynn is emerging as an innovative force in the world of entertainment.  With the launch of her company, Liv’N’Luv Productions, Glynn plans to develop and produce independent, urban feature films for domestic and foreign distribution.  

Currently a producer/writer for the popular Discovery Health Channel series, “Plastic Surgery: Before & After”, Glynn has also written and produced two DVD compilations for the show entitled -- Ultimate Plastic Surgery: Volumes 1 & 2. 

She is also producing and writing a Discovery Health Channel special on the facial reconstruction process of domestic violence survivor, Carolyn Thomas, who recovered from a gunshot blast that destroyed three-fourths of her face.  Glynn’s exclusive documentary footage has been broadcast on several high-profile shows including Oprah, Larry King Live and The Insider.  Glynn recently optioned the film rights to Ms. Thomas’ life story and is currently pursuing a movie deal for the project.

Educated at UCLA, Glynn began her career as a production assistant on “Poetic Justice” and “Higher Learning” for Academy-Award nominated director, John Singleton.  She then segued into television development and production, joining Citadel Entertainment in 1995.  Glynn served as the Director of Development for Emmy-Award winning actress, Sela Ward, where she solicited, developed, wrote and pitch new film and movies ideas. 

In 1999, Glynn began working as a producer for Arnold Shapiro, Executive Producer of the hit CBS reality series "Big Brother".   During her four-year tenure, she produced over a dozen projects for networks such as Lifetime, MTV, MSNBC and PAX.  Three years later, she further honed her craft by working as a Senior Associate Producer for the top-rated talk show, “Dr. Phil”.  

In 2002, Glynn released her first feature film, “The Kingston High”, a comedy about a high school misfit's last chance to get the girl of his dreams.  Earning high marks on the film festival circuit, the film picked up a worldwide, home-video distribution deal through Artisan Entertainment, in 2003.  The movie can be found in nation wide Blockbuster and Hollywood Video venues and has aired on the premium cable outlets: Starz-Encore, BET, and other pay-per-view channels.  The breakout film can also be purchased at various national retailers including Wal Mart and Target.

Glynn is now set to begin pre-production on her second independent feature, “Rich & Dead”.  The comedic-thriller will be produced under her Liv’N’Luv Productions banner and will mark the directorial debut for the filmmaker, who is quickly gaining notoriety as a “mega-producer” within the industry. In speaking to blackfilm.com, Ms. Glynn goes over her status as a female producer in the film industry as she gets ready to direct her second feature, “Rich & Dead”.   

Let’s talk about the transition from TV to film from a woman’s perspective:

Mary Glynn: With regards to the transition to film from TV, I don’t accept it. I think it’s a self-imposed feeling that many producers and production companies and executives use to hold you back. Here’s how I feel. If you know stories, then you can do TV and you can do film because it’s about telling a story whether it’s reality based or non-fiction. I started out in film as an intern, then I went to TV development, then I jumped out of it and then went to reality and produced a film, then I went back to TV. For me, it’s all related, and I think the art of producing and being able to go from one genre to another is lost; and I’m not sure if it because people are not out there grinding and learning the skills; or like I said, there’s a self imposed feeling as it relates to moving in out of genres.

Which is easier to do?

Mary Glynn: There’s no real answer to that. What I would say is that there are different in the sense of how they break down the titles and the compensation. There are some people who want a little bit more status, and I guess that comes with releasing a film, but if you really look at the day in and day out and where at the creative content is, it’s television. It’s harder to get a feature film financed. I find that with the skills that I have, writing and producing, it’s hardly ever a problem to get a job working and doing what I do in TV. Walking in studio and saying that I produce and I write and I developed and I worked on movies, I feel that some executives want to sit back and hold you in a box.

Would one think that it’s a bit easier that you are wearing so many hats that financing your film would be less costly?

Mary Glynn: That’s interesting. Now that I started to get out more and networking and pitching, I do find that the doors are open once my information trickles down to them and they find out who I am and what I do. They do seem interested because the art of producing is lost. The art of being able to walk in with all of the tools to put together the project, people just don’t know how to do it anymore. They need you to give them all of the tools. They need you to give them all the answers and all of the resources and if you are a real producer, you don’t need that. The dictionary defines “producer” to deliver and that’s what a producer does. It’s all got twisted and crazy because money has got involved. So now you can write a check and then the lines are blurred. There are no blurred lines if you are a writer, and there are no blurred lines if you are a director. I think the art of producing is coming back for those people who are really trying to streamline creative content and get their product out there. You don’t have time to go jumping through a whole bunch of hoops. If you are a real producer, you will find the outlet and make it happen.

Is being a woman producer a challenge and is being a black woman a challenge?

Mary Glynn: Yes. Being a woman is a challenge just because the nature of the beast. Traditionally and historically, women have not been successful in the film genre. I wouldn’t so much say that in television cause women are making some real moves. There are some women who won’t let other women in because they feel that there are too many women and there’s a lot of competition and if you are a woman of color, the market shrinks even more. Again, it’s the self imposed quota that Hollywood imposes on itself and we do that too, African Americans. What I also find that’s interesting is that MTV, my work speaks for itself. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work on some shows. You wouldn’t know that an African American woman is producing a number one show on the Discovery Health channel because that’s a very white market; so I appreciate those types of opportunities but it’s still a boys’ network. I was just speaking to someone the other day about my passion. I love action films. I like sci-fi. I’m a huge sports fan. I’m from Texas and you start talking to people about doing those projects, they look at you like you’re crazy.

You have to find a believer.

Mary Glynn: I believe in myself and I think that’s pretty much what matters. What’s lucky about me is that I’ve had some successes and I do have some credit and I am getting the meetings, and there are people out there very interested in investing in independent films. When one door closes you have to make the other door open.

Your next film is called “Rich & Dead”. What’s that about?

Mary Glynn: “Rich & Dead” is basically a mystery thriller and it takes in the city of Oakland, San Francisco area. It’s an updated version of “Foxy Brown” and “Nancy Drew”. This sassy little secretary from Oakland’s police department thinks she knows everything about solving mysteries and solving crime; and she’s such a pest and gets so involved with the police detective work that when something really does happen, a real crime that she thinks has taken place, that involves her friend, they won’t lend any support, so as a result she ends up having to solve the crime. There are many reasons why I chose this film, one, I think it has serious breakout potential. The character is a strong character. There aren’t a lot of roles for African American women out there that are prime and mainstream. I think Queen Latifah’s Last Holiday fits within the genre. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I like to do fun stuff. I based it on Jada Pinkett’s character from “Low Down Dirty Shame”. I loved her in that character. If you can think of Jada Pinkett, a little bit toned down, that’s Angela Briggs, the name of the character.



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