Creative Producer Steve Longi Is Involved with the Entire Filmmaking Process, from Finding Material to Releasing a Movie Globally
Steve Longi is a creative movie and TV producer who works independently to develop film and television projects to be produced in conjunction with major film studios and streaming companies.
He provides content for audiences all around the world. He is the one who finds material–
usually a screenplay, book, or original idea– and then works with writers to develop the material into a screenplay. He then attaches a director and star talent, while also partnering with a studio or distribution company to co-produce the film and distribute it worldwide. He is involved in the entire process, from the start of production up until the release of the film.
You have worked on major productions, opened your own entertainment company, and worked with an array of stars, including Robert Downey, Jr, Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Liotta– rest in peace–, and many others. Can you tell me how your journey started?
I've always loved movies. I was 11 years old when I had a Super-8 camera, and would make movies in my backyard with all of the neighborhood kids as actors. After just barely graduating from high school and bouncing around various colleges, I started interning at a company called New Line Cinema, and also Cannon Pictures). I would do filing and get coffee for the executives and organize the supply closet. Real high-level stuff! But I was in the middle of the action, where I wanted to be. I was also reading screenplays and learning as much as I could while working as a bartender at night so I could pay my rent. I moved up to executive assistant and then vice president of a production company, and then produced my first film.
Where was the first place that you stayed when you arrived in L.A?
It was a low-rent motel on Sepulveda in Van Nuys for the first two weeks, and then a townhome in Northridge with three other guys. I'm still friends with them to this day.
What did Hollywood represent for you at the time?
As far as I was concerned, I had arrived in heaven. It represented everything I had dreamed about up until that point. It was the place where movies were made, right behind the walls of these legendary studios. I would get chills just seeing the Hollywood sign on the freeway.
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Think back to your first movie. How did you get the job and how did it feel to be on set?
I was interning, in other words, working for free and college credit. My dream was coming true, so it felt incredible.
What are some of your most memorable experiences living and working as a film producer?
There are too many to mention. Working with Robert Downey, Jr. stands out. He’s an amazing actor and human being. I learned a lot by just watching him work. He would do one take in a whisper and the other in a shout and they would both be great!
Being a producer, you get to go to so many interesting places, I've visited the Hopi Indian reservations in Arizona, which were incredible. I attended the Kentucky Derby and got to hang out with Ray Liotta one night in New Orleans. On Hacksaw Ridge, I was invited to see Desmond Doss's personal effects, which are held at Loma Linda University. That was an incredibly emotional trip. I also worked with the infamous Suge Knight and Death Row Records, but that's a story for another time!.
What is your favorite movie?
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer because I have many favorites.
Almost anything directed by Stanley Kubrick, Dog Day Afternoon with Pacino, Back to the Future– a perfect movie in so many ways–, Witness for the Prosecution with Charles Laughton, many of Billy Wilder's movies, The Big Lebowski… again, this is a really hard question, but these movies pop into my head.
What do you enjoy the most about Los Angeles?
Hands down, the weather!
What is your definition of a creative film producer?
Someone who finds the project, develops the material (screenplay), attaches the director and actors, raises the financing, and produces the movie or TV series.
What is your perspective of the world and what do you feel is your role in the entertainment industry?
My perspective is that the world needs to be entertained, uplifted, inspired, and educated. I endeavor to produce movies and series that do this.
What are some of the new projects that you are working on at the moment?
I'm doing a limited series based on the book I published called The Birth of Hacksaw Ridge. I also have the rights to The Betty and Barney Hill Story. They were an interracial couple in the early 1960's who claimed, under hypnosis, that they were abducted by aliens who did horrific experiments on them. I think it will be one of the scariest movies you will ever see.
What is your message for those who dream of working in the entertainment industry?
Make your dream a reality by taking action. When I started out, it wasn't smooth at all. There were starts and stops and a few missteps, but I kept going and eventually I got lucky. Remember: hard work plus time equals luck. Find a mentor and offer some way to be of service. Learn everything you can about your field and stay on top of the industry news. Consult sites such as Variety.com and Deadline.com.
What is your message for our Heart Of Hollywood Magazine readers?
My message is that whatever you desire in life, be passionate about the process– and everything is process– but indifferent about the outcome. This will lead you to success.
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