Trevor Kaufman is a manager/producer. He manages feature/TV writers and produces material. This week on Dreaming Made Simple, Trevor tells about his work in Hollywood. He shares about the importance of being patient and having a support system in the midst of a dream pursuit.
Dreaming Made Simple: Is there a typical day for you?
Trevor Kaufman: I manage writers and directors. What that means is I develop material with writers, which would be features and TV scripts, and go through the process, all the way from an idea to script form. I help [writers and directors] get jobs and I package their materials, whether that is for other producers or financiers or actors or directors. It’s all in an effort to get the scripts made into a feature or a TV show. I do a lot of reading scripts and conference calls, I meet with executives and all the people from the industry to stay connected with what’s going on in the town. In this industry, there’s a 1000 different ways to get a movie or a show made.
Dreaming Made Simple: Do you freelance or do you work for a production company in particular?
Trevor Kaufman: I’m a freelancer now. I used to work for a production company. The last couple years I have branched out and done my own thing. It’s been great. It’s a little more challenging because you don’t have the same stability as you would with a company, but I like the freedom of doing it myself.
Dreaming Made Simple: What’s your dream for working in the industry and how did that dream start?
Trevor Kaufman: Basically to make projects that I am proud of and that I am passionate about, not just to make a buck. I guess everything originated when I was a kid and my Uncle George introduced me to Sylvester Stallone movies and to Beverley Hills Cops. I got really into movies. When I got into high school, I started seeing stuff like Fight Club. That’s when I started to realize that becoming a filmmaker was something that I not only truly desired but that I could accomplish.
Dreaming Made Simple: Do you have any advice on pursuing dreams?
Dreaming Made Simple: What have you learned in terms of discerning good professional opportunities?
Trevor Kaufman: It’s important to know you want to do things the right way, no matter if it takes longer to accomplish. I guess it’s just being patient. It takes a long time to build up contacts in the industry, from people you interned with or people you speak to over the phone. It’s actually a pretty small town. You want to think about how you want people to see you. If you work for a certain boss or a certain person, you’re going to be associated with that sort of mindset and work ethic.
Dreaming Made Simple: Talk about the importance of having people to support you in your dreams.
SDB: What did that journey from Illinois out to LA look like?
Trevor Kaufman: I always knew that, to work in the movie business, I had to be in Los Angeles, so it was how do I get there? I went to two years at Southern Illinois University with my buddy, Nic Camp. Then he and I transferred to Columbia College in Chicago. Colombia had a semester in LA program, and I used that as my last semester to graduate. Once I got out there, I stayed out there. I didn’t even come back for graduation. I got internships, then I started getting entry-level jobs. I kept at it and didn’t expect things to happen overnight. I just tried to enjoy myself and kept working toward getting a movie made, which is what I ultimately wanted to do.