How I Made It: Jason Blum, movie producer

How I Made It: Jason Blum, film producer

The gig: Jason Blum is a producer whose profession took off when the low-budget horror movie “Paranormal Exercise,” which he performed a key function bringing to the large display screen, turned a shock hit in 2009 and spawned a brand new Hollywood franchise with annual sequels.

After spending most of his profession within the impartial movie world, the 42-year-old has reshaped his enterprise across the “Paranormal” mannequin, aiming to make cheap motion pictures with mass viewers enchantment. He produced April’s hit horror movie “Insidious,” is engaged on extra “Paranormal” sequels for Paramount Photos and is growing initiatives underneath a newly signed cope with Common Photos.

Drawn to the artwork of movie: Blum grew up in New York Metropolis, the place his father was a distinguished up to date artwork supplier and his mom an artwork historian. He wasn’t a childhood movie fanatic however was drawn to the film trade as a approach to be concerned in artistic work that was extra accessible than the rarefied artwork world.

“I discovered that lots of people ridiculed up to date artwork,” Blum remembers. “I made a decision I needed to be concerned in artwork everyone may perceive.”

Making connections: Blum’s roommate at Vassar Faculty, the place he studied economics and movie, was the author and director Noah Baumbach. After graduating in 1991, Blum raised cash for, and acquired his first producer credit score on, Baumbach’s debut film, “Kicking and Screaming.” A turning level was a supportive letter he solicited from actor and household pal Steve Martin, who appreciated the screenplay.

That letter helped Blum make a connection at impartial studio Arrow Movies in New York, the place he landed his first trade job as a vp of acquisitions.

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Not taking “no” for a solution: After Arrow, Blum moved to Miramax Movies, the place he turned co-president of acquisitions in 1998. A giant a part of his job was ensuring his bosses, impartial film pioneers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, by no means heard the phrase “no.”

When a Spanish producer informed the Weinstein brothers he didn’t wish to promote them filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar’s horror script known as “The Others,” Blum flew unannounced to his Madrid workplace and waited hours for a private assembly. Impressed, the producer agreed to go to lunch and the 2 ultimately made a deal. The film that resulted was a giant hit in 2001.

Discovering his personal voice: The hardest interval in Blum’s profession started in 2000, when he left Miramax to turn into an impartial producer and located it tough to find out what sort of motion pictures he needed to make.

“I had spent almost 10 years making an attempt to anticipate what different folks would really like,” he says of his profession buying film rights for extra senior executives. “If that’s all you do, you lose your personal voice.”

In the course of the subsequent 5 years he labored on forgettable low-budget comedies together with “The Darwin Awards” and a pair of TV motion pictures for HBO earlier than deciding to attempt his hand at extra business fare.

Combining the very best of each worlds: Blum acquired just one movie made at a significant studio, the Dwayne Johnson household comedy “The Tooth Fairy.” The producer discovered himself impressed with the distribution and advertising and marketing muscle of the Hollywood studios however was pissed off with their arduous growth processes.

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In 2007, nevertheless, he was despatched a replica of “Paranormal,” which was then headed for a direct-to-DVD launch. Blum believed the film had larger business potential and spent greater than two years convincing Paramount to launch it in theaters.

“I discovered a approach to mix the very best of each worlds: making motion pictures like I had been within the first a part of my profession however utilizing the studio equipment to launch them,” he says of the expertise.

Sharing in rewards: For his first jobs out of faculty, Blum didn’t wish to turn into a waiter, as associates had performed. As an alternative he bought actual property and cable TV subscriptions on fee. “I by no means needed to receives a commission by the hour,” he remembers. “If I used to be going to do extra work than one other man, I needed to receives a commission extra.”

He’s now making use of that very same mantra to motion pictures. Based mostly on the tens of millions of {dollars} he has made off of “Paranormal,” Blum eschews important upfront producing charges in change for a big share of revenue if his movies succeed.

He advises aspiring producers to do the identical: “Don’t maintain your eye on what will get you probably the most cash; maintain your eye on what will get your film made.”

Private life: Blum splits his time between Los Angeles and New York and enjoys water-skiing and going to the theater.

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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