As an award-winning screenwriter, development executive, producer, author, and instructor, Robert Tobin has seen numerous sides of the film industry. He started by reading scripts for production companies and before long, he wrote films such as Dam999 and Get Married or Die (starring legendary character actor Monte Markham Dazed and Confused actor Jason London, Emmy nominee Emily O’Brien, and Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland). After growing into a variety of roles, Robert’s ready to share some critical wisdom with the HC&F community.
“Writers are doing more on projects than they used to,” Robert said, calm and reflective. “They’re asked to have pitch decks, attached talent, budgets. So, going into the pandemic, I took this growing realization that I needed to do more than just write if I wanted to be successful. I have to become an integral part in the filmmaking process before I hand off the script.”
That only improved his writing process.
“When you have to consider your budget, you discover how much work goes into shooting just one scene. You ask if an actor can really pull this scene off or if special effects are really necessary. My last script was set in a travel agency in a mall, but the filmmakers had such a small budget that they could only use the basement of a church. They asked me to rewrite it into a location that could fit, so I completely took out the travel agency and changed the setting to a photography studio.”
The film came out well, but that wasn’t the most important takeaway.
“For any actor, writer, or filmmaker, an attitude of gratitude opens up so many different doors. These people were still risking $300,000 of their own money, so I had to be helpful and gracious. We talk about all the technical aspects of a film career, but we have to emphasize the relational aspect. Relationships will take you far in your career because those people will want to keep working with you. Look at a tricky situation as an opportunity, not an imposition.”
According to Robert, the biggest obstacle for any actor and filmmaker is attitude.
“Being open to success is critically important. Actors and filmmakers create limitations in their minds by lacking confidence or by being arrogant. Really successful filmmakers and actors have a purity that isn’t clouded by manipulations and doubts. They see possibilities when others see roadblocks.”
What’s one way to keep a positive attitude? Do as many jobs as you can find.
“If you really understand what it’s like to change a lens and get the right lighting or to tote the wires and cables, that makes you a better actor or writer or director. You know what you’re asking others to do for you because you’ve done it yourself. Drink it all in and experience the whole process.”
Heading forward, Robert is focusing on his feature rom-com screenplay Love on the Adriatic, optioned by Sun Blizzard Productions (SBP) of Toronto and Los Angeles. The film depicts a widowed American painter looking to restart her life on the Adriatic coast but facing guilt over her husband taking his own life in the process. SBP is seeking partners to fund and produce this edgy but feel-good romantic comedy set on the Italian Adriatic coast. SBP has created a full package for the project, including budget, trailer, pitch deck, and executive summary.
As he prepares promotional materials, Robert looks forward to mentoring young filmmakers and actors.
“That didn’t exist when I was young. Now, filmmakers can have success much quicker. When people have mentors, it cuts that process in half.”
HC&F can’t wait to see more of the insight and skill that Robert will bring to the table. Check out the links below to connect with Robert and learn more about his works. If you want more information on “Love on the Adriatic” or any of their other exciting film projects, contact Nadia or Rob at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.