Producer George Parra has been a venerated industry professional for over thirty years, having worked on such prestigious films as- 'Waterworld' (1995), 'Sideways' (2004), 'The Descendants' (2011), 'Silver Linings Playbook' (2012), 'American Hustle' (2013); to name a very few. He first began his illustrious career as a Set Production Assistant on 'The Terminator' (1984) which led to his position as Second Assistant Director on movies like 'Ghost' (1990) and 'Men At Work' (1990) and thereafter First Assistant Director on many multiple renown films. In 2004 he began Line Producing and Executive Producing until finally he decided to focus primarily on Producing. He currently works in collaboration with several producers developing a compelling slate of feature films to be produced over the next few years.
I interviewed George about his career shortly after the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Here is what he had to say:
You've been working in the business for quite some time now. What was your first film?
GEORGE: Yes, going on 30 years now. My first film out of film school was 'The Terminator' with an unknown director named James Cameron.
You've worn various professional hats throughout your career. Is there one you like doing the most?
GEORGE: Producing great films
Is there a film you worked on that sticks out the most as the best or worst experience?
GEORGE: Best - 'Sideways' or 'Silver Linings Playbook'. Worst - I try to forget those.
Do you have any anecdotes from past film sets that really stick out in your memory?
GEORGE: Many really. Filmmaking should always be fun. We are truly lucky to be doing what we are doing. I've had many memorable laughs and crazy unforgettable scenarios. That stick out…..? Maybe super gluing a certain A list actors front tooth in at 6:30AM in his hotel room before he went on camera. Still laugh out loud when I think about it.
You've worked multiple times with directors such as David O Russell and Alexander Payne. What has that been like?
GEORGE: Amazing to say the least. I always feel fortunate to have worked with these two directors and help create their vision. Others have been Peter Yates, Bob Zemekis, Oliver Stone, Rob Cohen, Wes Craven, and of course James Cameron. Being able to work and collaborate with great directors has always been the satisfaction and and motivation I feel most rewarding. That's why I wanted to be in the business to begin with. Working with these type of creative directors making great films is always the best part of the process of creating great films and entertaining people.
You've recently started your own production company. What kinds of films will you be focusing on?
GEORGE: I have been involved with a few companies. I'm involved with many producers to collaborate with to make quality films that are both entertaining as well as successful.
There are so many movies in the market today yet so few of them successful. What do you think makes a successful film?
GEORGE: Quality scripts that hit a nerve in audiences if made well.
You've been pretty successful in you career. What advice can you give people who are new to the industry?
GEORGE: Work hard and don’t give up.
What is your favorite stage of producing a film, from the location to shooting?
GEORGE: All of it truly. Its a lot of hard work, but if you hire the right people and surround yourself with people you respect and want to work with, anything is possible. The process can be very satisfying.
What are you working on now?
GEORGE: I am in pre-production up here in Edmonton, Canada on “Puppy Love,” a sort of adult version of 'Napoleon Dynamite'. Written and directed by Michael Maxxis, we start shooting March 20, 2017.