For decades Hollywood has been plagued with the assumption that the Entertainment Industry is a breeding ground for the ruthless, the desperate, the chauvinistic, the fame hungry and the image driven Goliaths looking to squish the Davids in this town. More and more that media-influenced theory is proving to be false. Sadly, most do-gooders and down to earth creators in this town are overlooked in the media due to their inability to snag a tabloid headline. A slow but steady metamorphosis has begun in Hollywood. Our society’s attention is being steered towards the down to earth and the genuine. One example is Miss Jennifer Lawrence. How can you not adore her big heart, sailor mouth, quirky sense of humor and bona fide talent?
Those of us in entertainment understand that it takes a village – sometimes an entire state – to make a project happen. This responsibility doesn’t solely lie upon the shoulders of the directors and the actors. The rest of the world may not understand that because the majority of the time writers, producers and the crew go unnoticed in the media. Those behind the scenes are the foundation of the creative medium being brought to life. It is that much sweeter when that very foundation is composed of what I like to call the Good Guys.
The Good Guys are those who are successful and creative but refuse to step on others in order to facilitate their own fruition. One such Good Guy or should I say Good Gal, is none other than veteran Producer Cindi Rice of Epic Level Entertainment. I have had the pleasure of working with Cindi and the Epic Level team on two seasons of the successful web series turned television series ‘Bite Me’ and their newest series ‘Save Point’. Cindi’s kind heart, passion for her work and no nonsense bad-assery is refreshing. Especially for an up and coming actress like me that has endured her fair share of B.S. and adversity in a cut throat Industry. It is my esteemed pleasure to share with you my interview with a Good Guy. I introduce to you my friend, mentor, colleague, Nerd/Geek Girl and all around Good Gal: Cindi Rice.
When & Why did you decide to pursue a career in producing film & Multi-media?
I don’t know that there was a specific moment, but I’ve always found the industry intriguing. Around the time we launched the 3rd Edition of D&D at Wizards of the Coast, we were acquired by Hasbro, and I saw an opportunity to work in their Los Angeles office, which sounded exciting. I didn’t feel like there were a lot of new challenges for me where I was, and the woman in charge of Hasbro’s entertainment licensing (Carol Monroe) offered to mentor me, so I jumped at the opportunity. I packed up everything and transferred immediately, and I haven’t regretted it once!
What are you most passionate about in your profession?
I love being part of creating cool projects. That’s why I spend so much time fostering new writers and directors. I find a great deal of satisfaction in helping someone hone their vision and bring it to life.
It is a fact that most positions in the Entertainment Industry are predominantly male. Have you encountered any chauvinism in your field?
Honestly, I’ve never really experienced that, in any of my different careers. I guess I’ve been lucky, but I’ve never felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously because of my gender.
Do you have a preference in Genre regarding your projects?
I love all things geeky and nerdy: fantasy, sci-fi, comic books, gaming, supernatural horror, etc.
What draws you to a specific project?
Great characters, unique perspectives and passionate filmmakers. I think a good project really has to have all of these things. It can’t just be about the high-concept or genre pitch. Without complex characters, nobody will get engaged in the story. And without a passionate director or writing partner, it’s not as much fun to champion the project!
What makes you unique as a Producer?
Integrity and a drive to help people. I love sharing my knowledge and connections with people new to the industry, and I have a strong sense of fairness. I don’t like to see the way people are often taken advantage of in this industry, so I refuse to participate in it myself.
To date what is your proudest achievement in your career?
I’ve done a lot of things I’m really proud of, but the most recent might be seeing people dressed up as the Dungeon Bastard at Gen Con 2013. It was really cool to see such fan devotion on something I helped create!
What advice would you give to those aspiring to start a career in Entertainment?
Don’t give up. It can take quite a while to succeed in this industry, so make sure you have a plan to support yourself in the meantime. Too many people come out here, try it for a year or two and then give up and move away. That’s not enough time to really succeed in this industry. Develop a longer-term plan with more reasonable goals and then keep at it!
How did Epic Level Entertainment come to be?
My producing partner, John Frank Rosenblum, came to me about a decade ago, when I was the licensing agent for Hasbro. He wanted the movie rights to Magic: The Gathering, which I represented. Even though Hasbro waffled on the deal and ultimately decided not to pursue films at that time, he and I hit it off. We had so much in common, from gaming to movies, so we decided to try some projects together. Epic Level spawned from there.
What future projects can we look forward to seeing from Epic Level Entertainment?
We have several new web shows in the works, including a video-game series called Save Point (starring the talented Dani Lennon!) and our genre news show, hosted by puppets, called Interpuppetary Nerdgasm. Check them both out on EpicLevelTV (www.epicleveltv.com)
Right on, Cindi! With many exciting projects on the Horizon we will see some really cool things from Epic Level Entertainment. Cindi’s persistence, integrity and drive make her not only a model Producer but a model citizen in Hollywood. I look forward to working with Cindi and the Epic Level Team for years to come. Cindi Rice you are an all-around Good Guy. And in the words of Charlie Sheen, Cindi, you are WINNING!!