“Surviving Confession” is a new movie by producer Jo Rauen. Many people wonder: What does a producer actually do? Is he the guy that coughs up the money? Is he the one that hires the director? Is he the captain of the ship? Fresh off the July release of his latest film, Jo Rauen granted an exclusive interview here he breaks down the job and provides some insight into the industry.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Where do you hail from, sir
Jo Rauen (JR): I am originally from Brazil, but I am currently based on NYC.
MM: What kicked off your career doing a show called “Media Wars”. How did that come about, and what did you learn working on it that you’ve since applied to future projects?
JR: My friend and writer George Boseman created Media Wars and needed a producer to help him make that jump out of the paper. After a lot of work, we were fortunate enough to make a deal with Amazon. I think the most important lesson from that project was to give the necessary attention to the business plan. The studies of budget, target audience, possibilities of financing, marketing, partnerships and modalities of financial return. Without all that no project can become a reality. It seems to me, that most producers focus on selling the concept and leave out the business part. That´s a mistake we are no longer risking.
MM: For the unversed, can you explain what a producer does?
JR: Tricky question. There are a million things the producer does. And there’s even a debate within the industry over the many hats we wear. In my view the best way to explain is, the producer is a project manager. He supervises all activities and provides all conditions for everyone to perform their jobs as best as they can.
MM: And there’s a big difference between a producer and executive producer, right?
JR: Theoretically yes. But that depends on the size of the project. In our case, all the producers worked together as a team, constantly supporting each other’s performances. If we consider all producers as project managers, the executive producer is the one who has the final say, the head manager. In our film this role was split between Nathan, our screenwriter, and Matthew our director. So, it was great that they had the final decisions because this also contributed to achieve their creative vision of the film.
MM: Did you know Matthew before joining the film?
JR: I did indeed. In fact, Matthew is one of the editors of Media Wars.
MM: What about the cast? Were any of the actors people you had pre-existing relationships with
JR: The whole cast is a choice of our director. We really wanted Matthew to have the freedom to make bring his vision to life, so he had complete liberty to reach out to his best choices.
MM: Would you say this is a challenging film to market – considering the title and theme, sure, but also the fact that it’s a comedy. How have you managed to get that across?
JR: I hope so, we will see upon the release!
We are confident, after all the Faith Movies is a growing industry, although they are usually limited to dramas. I strongly believe that this audience niche wants to see other genres explored within the themes they seek, such as a comedy. Christians also need to laugh, and I hope we can give that to them. And if you’re not a Christian you can still have fun as you watch a funny humanized and critical view of the people involved in this religion.
MM: Can you relate to the story?
JR: Of course, 100%. Essentially Father Morris is having a bad day at work as he begins to wonder if he should quit his job. Who among us never had that day? In this movie, religion is a tool for exploring certain jokes, but the core of the story is absolutely universal.
MM: How familiar were you and Matthew with the ‘confession booth’ before the film?
JR: Haha, I can only speak for myself. Yes, I am familiar. I was raised a Christian, but I’m not as active as I could. I go to church at least once every month, and I have a Bible at the head of my bed. I go to confession once a year, between Christmas and New Year to begin the coming year in peace with myself
MM: Where next, sir? Any ideas for the next movie?
JR: Many. We have several projects in progress. Because of the nature of independent cinema, we are careful to choose projects that have a specific niche audience that we evaluate we will have the ability to achieve specifically. Our next movie should be the real story of the disabled athlete Daniel Dias, a great medalist at the Paralympics. In the same time, we are working with Matthew in his next movie, Nightfall, a vampire thriller.