Paul Osborne is a independent filmmaker whose credits include the acclaimed thrillers FAVOR, TEN ‘TIL NOON and documentary about film festivals OFFICIAL REJECTION. His new movie, CRUEL HEARTS, goes before cameras later this year.
In high school Paul won Denver’s Gates Planetarium statewide science fiction contest with his short script, THE FINAL EXAM, which was produced and played to the public for four straight weeks. He went on to attend the University of Miami, majoring in both screenwriting and English, where two of the shorts he wrote and directed each won best picture awards at the university’s “Canes” film festival. He subsequently graduated Cum Laude.
Paul lives with his wife, Conspicuous Pictures producer Leslie Wimmer Osborne, and their three children in Burbank, California.
What’s Your NativeAdVantage:
What do you do best?
Writing seems to be my strongest skill. English was by far my best subject in school because it came very naturally to me. I’ve been drawn to putting down stories on paper since I was little, so I’ve got more experience doing that than anything else, and as a lifelong movie buff I’ve primarily focused my efforts on writing screenplays. My first feature-length script erupted out of me when I was 13. Like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get, and I’ve been doing it for awhile.
For me, it’s all about the writing. Everything else I tackle – directing, producing, editing – is all just a byproduct of trying to get my stories and characters on screen.
What makes you the best?
Let’s be clear: writing is what I’m best at, but I’m not at all the best writer. There are plenty better than me and I’m constantly reminded of it when I see their work. I’m not even the best writer I could be, so I’m always trying to improve.
How will you become the best?
I’ll never be the best. That would mean achieving some sort of perfection, and perfection is impossible. And honestly, how boring would being “the best” be? You’d have no room to grow, no way to improve. Why would you even keep doing it at that point?
I would like to get better at what I do, of course, and I feel the key to that is to never really be satisfied. As soon as you begin to think you’re some sort of genius, you’ll stop trying because you’re going to assume your work is good enough simply because you’re the one who did it. You need to recognize that sometimes you just suck and have to fight to do better.
What are your aspirations?
Personal: I’m a husband and a father, and I try to be good at those things. The trick is making sure to spend some time with every member of the family individually and nuture each separate relationship. My children are at wildly varied ages – 17, 12 and 4. What’s great about that is I get to be a different kind of parent to each of them, and that keeps me on my toes.
Business: I’d like to be able to keep making movies, and preferably support myself doing it.
What fascinates you?
I’m pretty fascinated with human behavior, especially when an individual’s morality or choices differ from what society would consider “normal”. Everyone is operating from their own little island of subjective reality, and often the smallest and most private thoughts can have a tremendous impact on people’s actions. It’s probably why I write the kind of material I do, these dark tales with questionable, conflicted characters.
I’m constantly speaking in movie quotes, so I have a lot of them. But the one that sorta functions as my mantra is something Bruce Willis mutters to himself in THE LAST BOY SCOUT:
“Nobody likes you. Everybody hates you. You’re gonna lose. Smile, you fuck.”
Now I know that sounds really dark and negative, but here’s what I like about it: when following your passion, if no one was in your corner and your efforts were doomed, would you still do what you do? Is doing the thing itself reward enough? If it’s truly what you love, it should be. And if you’re pursuing your passion – writing, painting, acting, whatever – without being dependent upon the praise of others or a nice big prize at the end, then aren’t you more free creatively? To me, that’s the key behind taking chances, breaking new ground or just finding your own, unique voice. Perhaps Tyler Durden said another way in FIGHT CLUB:
“Only when we’ve lost everything are we free to do anything.”
My wife is my favorite person. She’s my best friend and business partner, so I’ve managed to wrangle her into pretty much every aspect of my life. There’s no one better to be around.
I’m the one guy who will actually admit he loves living in Los Angeles. Yeah, the traffic sucks and it’s full of hipsters or whatever, but this is where the movies are. There aren’t a lot of cities where you can stumble into a double feature of two classic flicks projected on 35mm with the filmmakers in attendence. This is epicenter of cinema, and I dig it.
Man, I am addicted to buying BluRays. They’re a cinephile’s dream and I just keep getting more and more. And when I find some rare import of an obscure but great movie, it’s way more of the thrill that it reasonably should be.
Movies. I mean, come on… I haven’t made it obvious yet?