Inside USD

Pearl’s Film, TV Business Wisdom Shared with USD Students

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Freshmen students in Professor Eric Pierson’s Introduction to Mass Media preceptorial class had an upclose meeting with a Hollywood industry professional Tuesday in a University of San Diego classroom.

Steven Pearl, a film and television producer and writer for Scarlet Fire Entertainment, spoke about his work experience, insights into the film business, Hollywood projects with actors such as Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds and musician-actress Miley Cyrus. He answered questions about the role of a producer and advice for potential screenwriters about what constitutes for a good script.

“I’m always looking for a compelling story. I want a great character that is surrounded by a unique setting,” said Pearl (pictured) of the latter question.

Pearl, who works closely with high-profile Hollywood screenwriter and producer Allan Loeb, has past credentials that include executive producer television credits for A&E’s “The Beast” with the late Patrick Swayze, Fox’s “New Amsterdam” and co-producer credit for the 2010 film “The Switch” starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. He’s currently working on a film titled, “So Undercover” starring Cyrus of “Hannah Montana” fame.

Pierson, chair of USD’s Department of Communication Studies, said Pearl, a friend since 1979, was happy to speak to the USD class.

“It’s always important for our students to interact with professionals,” Pierson said. “Steven has a great way of presenting the film industry. He has some war stories he can tell.”

Pearl, who earned a political science degree at Tulane University, related his woes about the early years in the workforce — living off credit cards and not giving up on his dream of working in the film industry — before reaching his current status.

“If you know this is what you want to do and you’re passionate, you have to believe it to the marrow of your bones,” Pearl said. “If you love it, if you believe in your talent, you’ll keep working at it and find a way to make a living. Stay with it no matter what.”

Pearl said the script for the Cyrus film was written years ago and was originally intended for another high-profile actress to play the lead role.

“It’s really important for students to know about the process. So often we think about films in a way that we go to the theater and it’s there,” Pierson said. “To have someone like Steven talk about how to execute it is very important. The script (for Cyrus’ film) was written six years ago. It’s possible that the process could take five to 10 years before it’s made (into a movie). It’s good to show students that anything worth doing is going to take time.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

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