How To Know If Your Friends Really Support Your Creative Career by Mark Gantt

Film Courage: You had sent us an email (I think we’re on your email list). You don’t seem to send them too often, just sparingly. You had an article in one entitled “Surround Yourself With People Who Hold You To A Higher Standard Than You Hold Yourself.” What does this mean?

Mark Gantt, Actor/Producer/Writer/Director: It means it’s easy to be around a whole bunch of people who are miserable and frustrated with their careers and so they will tend to be in their own stuff.

I try to do my best to surround myself with people who are trying to better themselves. That are doing the risky things that I want to be doing, so that when I’m feeling down I can call them.

For example I just had breakfast with a writer/producer friend of mine who is on a TV show and I had sent him an email saying, it’s so funny, he didn’t even remember responding to the email it’s just his life is so busy, but he responded. And it said So I have this pilot that I wrote. I got notes from tons of people and I felt really good about it. Then I got notes from this one person and it’s sort of a rewrite (a bigger rewrite) but in my process I got this other idea and I’m thinking this other idea is better than the pilot. Do I do this rewrite on the pilot or should I start working on the new show?

And so he wrote back Oh man…how many times have I been in this position! Finish rewriting the pilot then go to the new story. It was that kind of thing.

Then he sent an email a couple of weeks later Hey checking in. Did you start working on the pilot? He totally forgot that the checked in, he forgot that he responded…he remembered after I told him but it wasn’t something where he was walking in. For me trying to surround myself with people that hold themselves to a higher calling or sort of responsibility, that helped me. And that’s how I am with my friends.

I studied with Milton Katselas at The Beverly Hills Playhouse. One of the things he used to say when people were late to class his Man you’ve got horrible friends in this class to the person who walked in and usually the person would be like What do you mean? And he said Well if I’m your friend I would have…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

About Mark Gantt:

Whether he’s working on features or commercials, award-winning director Mark Gantt is in the business of authentic, creative visual experiences. With a diverse, 20-year career in the industry, he has learned the business from the ground up, and had the good fortune of collaborating with top directors, including Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell, Sam Raimi, and Robert Rodriguez.

Whether he’s working on features or commercials, award-winning director Mark Gantt is in the business of authentic, creative visual experiences. With a diverse, 20-year career in the industry, he has learned the business from the ground up, and had the good fortune of collaborating with top directors, including Steven Soderbergh, David O. Russell, Sam Raimi, and Robert Rodriguez.

As versatile as he is ambitious, Mark has demonstrated a penchant for the entire creative process, using forays into writing, acting, and producing to inform his directorial philosophies. For two years running, Mark has created successful spots for ESPN and Nissan’s Heisman House campaign and popular and effective branded campaigns for GMC, AOL and Lifetime.

He has the unique ability to work with a wide variety of individuals. From celebrities and professional actors, to athletes, “real people,” and newcomers, he’s able to capture the small, authentic gestures and behaviors that bring stories to life. In his craft, he is dedicated to capturing the raw realities of life, and demonstrating the inherent beauty of the everyday.

A multi-medium visual and performance artist, Mark integrates his talents as a painter, photographer, actor and graphic artist into each production’s look and style. He utilizes technical expertise, a keen eye for detail, and a genuine love of storytelling to transform words from concepts into visual realities.

His feature directorial debut, Murder In Mexico, starring Colin Egglesfield, premiered on Lifetime and was well received by both critics and audiences. He also directed a dark action/drama pilot for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form Digital called Intricate Vengeance. As a Writer and Producer, Mark is best known for co-creating, producing and starring in the ground breaking, Streamy award-winning series, The Bannen Way for Crackle and Sony Pictures Television.

He is currently in post on his second feature, the indy thriller Model Citizen shot in New Mexico. He’s also hard at work on a number of TV and Feature properties in various stages of development. Mark lives in Los Angeles with his wife Brianne Davis, their son Davis and dog Bear. 

As versatile as he is ambitious, Mark has demonstrated a penchant for the entire creative process, using forays into writing, acting, and producing to inform his directorial philosophies. For two years running, Mark has created successful spots for ESPN and Nissan’s Heisman House campaign and popular and effective branded campaigns for GMC, AOL and Lifetime.


He has the unique ability to work with a wide variety of individuals. From celebrities and professional actors, to athletes, “real people,” and newcomers, he’s able to capture the small, authentic gestures and behaviors that bring stories to life. In his craft, he is dedicated to capturing the raw realities of life, and demonstrating the inherent beauty of the everyday.


A multi-medium visual and performance artist, Mark integrates his talents as a painter, photographer, actor and graphic artist into each production’s look and style. He utilizes technical expertise, a keen eye for detail, and a genuine love of storytelling to transform words from concepts into visual realities.


His feature directorial debut, Murder In Mexico, starring Colin Egglesfield, premiered on Lifetime and was well received by both critics and audiences. He also directed a dark action/drama pilot for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form Digital called Intricate Vengeance. As a Writer and Producer, Mark is best known for co-creating, producing and starring in the ground breaking, Streamy award-winning series, The Bannen Way for Crackle and Sony Pictures Television.


He is currently in post on his second feature, the indy thriller Model Citizen shot in New Mexico. He’s also hard at work on a number of TV and Feature properties in various stages of development. Mark lives in Los Angeles with his wife Brianne Davis, their son Davis and dog Bear. 

CONNECT WITH MARK GANTT
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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.