Jeff Sullivan is Turning Passion into Reality with Film Connection
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Since starting apprenticeship with mentor and filmmaker Richard Brandes (Brandes Entertainment, Los Angeles) Jeff Sullivan has seen just how hard work, a great attitude, and plenty of dedication can pay off and lead to great opportunities. Although Jeff’s ultimate goal is to direct, he was completely committed to doing a great job as PA on a Film Connection shoot at Quixote Studios with well-known film director Ti West and that’s an attitude that can reap rewards fast!
“It was cool to be a helping hand. If you want to go to the top, you have to start at the bottom,” he says. “Even the execs at Warner Brothers will tell you stories about how they used to get coffee for their execs when they started.”
Such a great, can-do attitude made a strong impression on Jeff’s mentor, Richard Brandes. When Brandes got the call that some movie executive friends would be producing a film for Lifetime in December, he recommended Jeff as a PA!
Brandes says, “These guys make a lot of movies. The executive producer has made 70-plus films and was an exec at Paramount on movies like Platoon. I recommended Jeff for the position [because] he’s gung ho, and a good kid with a lot of passion and determination, and I have a lot of respect for that kind of attitude. That’s what’s going to enable him to meet a lot of great people and make connections.”
But before sending Jeff off to the shoot, Richard took Jeff aside to remind him of the importance of making a good first impression and making the most of a great opportunity. “I told him, ‘You’re just going there to meet people,” he says. “‘You’ve got to make yourself completely available to do the work and anything that is required of you.’”
The importance of what his mentor was telling him wasn’t lost on Jeff, who told us at RRF: “Richard called me yesterday and said ‘Jeff, I’m kind of putting my reputation on the line by putting you forward.’ I let him know that there are two things I can promise him: Number one, I will make him look like a rock star, and number two, he won’t ever hear any complaints about me on set.”
Jeff’s recent success at getting in to meet and work with industry professionals reminds us that having the right attitude really can make all the difference in the world, especially when you’ve got an industry pro as a mentor who’s right there to see just what you’re made of. When you impress your mentor they can become one of your staunchest, most determined supporters. Jeff is well aware of this fact and is tremendously grateful for the help he’s received. “Richard has really been looking out for me,” he says. “I’ve been trying really hard to impress him, and it’s started to really take off!”