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IFH 619: Adventures in Producing James Cameron Films with Chris Debiec

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Christopher Debiec is an award-winning writer/producer/executive with an impressive thirty-three-year track record in all aspects of the entertainment industry.

Chris began his film and television career in Orlando, Florida working on a wide variety of commercials, music videos, television programs and feature films. Some of his credits include Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar and The Crow for Miramax. In 1995 Chris relocated to Los Angeles to work on the film The Devil’s Advocate, followed by Mad City for Warner Brothers, The Out of Towners for Paramount Studios, and the ground breaking “first of its kind” live-action animation Dinosaur for Walt Disney Studios.

In November of 2000, Chris spent six months in war torn, poverty-stricken Cambodia, as the Production Supervisor on Matt Dillon’s directorial film debut City of Ghosts for MGM/UA.

From 2000-2005, Chris was called on by Academy Award-winning writer/director/producer, James Cameron to supervise production for Earthship Productions. The company produced the two-hour LIVE broadcast event entitled Last Mysteries of Titanic, the groundbreaking documentary Expedition: Bismarck for The Discovery Channelas well as the 3D/HD IMAX films Aliens of the Deep & Ghosts of the Abyss for Walt Disney Pictures.   Earthship was nominated for six Emmys winning one for their production of Expedition: Bismarck.

In 2010, Chris was recruited as Vice President of Production at Entertainment One Television (eOne). He spearheaded the alternative programming division for cable and network distributors such as Syfy, CW, WETV, BET, MTV, A&E, Discovery Channel, Oxygen and Fox Sports just to name a few. Chris was responsible for the successful development and execution of all pre-production, production, post production and delivery of all eOne projects.

In 2017, Chris was contracted to create and Executive Produce a 2-hour documentary for NBC Sports and the United States Olympic Committee entitled – Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.  With rave reviews and multiple award nominations, soon after Chris went back with the Cameron family – this time as Chief Content Officer for a start-up Tech/ 3-D Entertainment company called Human Health Organization owned by brothers John and James Cameron.

In 2019, Chris was the Production Executive for Leyline/A24’s The Green Knight, a feature film which shot on location in Ireland for 5 months in 2019. Directed by David Lowery starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Egerton, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie and Ralph Enison.

In 2020, the world turned upside down by the pandemic causing the Cameron family to pivot the Human Health Organization into a Covid-19 PPE and testing company. Chris, as COO, oversaw all testing and PPE protocols since May of 2020. HHO has tested over 1500 productions including A-list actors, Film and TV Studios and streaming companies.

Currently, as CEO of newly formed Civilized Entertainment, Chris has built an award-winning studio focusing on the development and production of content directly related to Science, Technology, Environment, Art, Space, Expedition, Exploration, Medical and Historical Events.

Enjoy my conversation with Chris Debiec.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Chris Debiec 0:00
As I learned that, no matter how right you think you are, it's the way you the message comes across and who you're explaining it to.

Alex Ferrari 0:08
This episode is brought to you by the Best Selling Book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur. How to turn your independent film into a money making business. Learn more at filmbizbook.com. I'd like to welcome to the show, Chris Debiec. How're you doing, Chris?

Chris Debiec 0:22
I'm doing well. Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 0:24
Thanks so much for coming on the show man. We recently hooked up here and in Austin. There's it's a small, but powerful film community down here. And we and all US layers are people who've worked in Hollywood. We can't it's just a gravitational pull that we just get brought to each other at one point or another.

Chris Debiec 0:45
Yeah, I feel it. You know, I, I have a business partner here in Austin and I he's the one who convinced me to come on out. So back in, I guess it was November of last year. I did my own life Scout, I want to call it and I came out for a week, met a lot of people stayed at two different hotels was looking at places. I really enjoyed it. And then went back to LA did some more work and then back towards the end of December came back out. signed a lease rental. And I'm here I got here January 7 2022. And here we are

Alex Ferrari 1:23
You I was ahead of you by about five months. So

Chris Debiec 1:27
Oh my god okay.

Alex Ferrari 1:30
I'm here. But I've been here just a little bit over a year now. And I love it. I mean, I love it. And Austin and I've met a lot of people in the film community here. It's very passionate. film community and, and everybody really does know everybody.

Chris Debiec 1:46
Yeah, tell me about it. I, you know, I, my business partner is cybersecurity. He's like one of the top global hackers in the world. And we, he basically invited me out he goes into the gun range, he goes to the range at Austin. And I swear to God, it's Soho House with guns. It's awesome. So house with guns. Every Friday afternoon, around one o'clock, you can find Robert and his associates. I show up. And then we just take meetings. Colby Gaines is a local producer here. He came out we've had multiple meetings with him. I mean,

Alex Ferrari 2:25
Apparently I gotta go out to this range.

Chris Debiec 2:27
You got to go to the Yeah, I mean, it's the perfect networking situation. You don't have to shoot anything. You don't even have to light guns to go there. It just it's a it's just a social environment.

Alex Ferrari 2:39
See, you learn something new every day here in Austin. So Chris, I mean, you've had a hell of a career, my friends so far. And, you know, I wanted to go back deep down the rabbit hole. How did you get started and why did you want to get started in the film industry?

Chris Debiec 2:55
Ah, okay. Well, that is the, I'm gonna share. I'll tell you how old I am now. But 1989 was the first job that I had. And it was the grand opening of Disney MGM Studios to our NBC television special. It's a very long story, but in for your, you know, audience members, I'll try to keep it a little concise. The idea was I was Penn State Hotel Restaurant Management. I got accepted into their college training program. Well, it's the WD W program for internships. And I got three months in Disney and after I finished the internship program, I my manager accepted me into the four year management training program. So I stayed at Disney. I was allowed to stay there and finish my education at Penn State. They actually have a college at Disney Disney University. So I signed a contract like the military, it's four year contract, and the management training program you learn all the different areas of Disney all the you work in every single possible area. And during one of those rounds it was kind of funny. There was a girl that thought I was cute. So she said Hey, you should come work with us over at the film and television you know tape they called it film and tape at the time. Now originally, I thought film and tape was selling 35 millimeter film and VHS tapes in the kiosks at the Magic Kingdom. That's kind of what I thought it was. So boy, I'm sorry. It's kind of a I've tried to make a shorter story but I can't so let's do you do you think do you think I'll just do my thing? So what I was working in the employee cafeteria dish room of Disney MGM Studios, I was a bit of a rebel. I kind of messed around with the the way Disney's management was they got pissed at me they put me into super secret get probation. And that was working midnight shift at the employee cafeteria dish room at Disney MGM. So woman came in and heard me complaining about how I hated my job. I stuck my head out, you know, I apologize to her, sorry. And she's like, Oh, you look so cute. And you seem so upset, what's wrong? So I told her all the problems I had working with Disney. And she said, Well, you should come and work with us or film intake. And again, it's, I thought it was something different. So she gave me a, they call it a cross utilization form, which means you're allowed to stay within the training Pro, she knew what the training program was, she's like, all you have to do is get your supervisor to sign this form. And then the three months that you are required to work, it's every three months, you work in a different position. So your supervisors sign this and for the three months, you can come work with us. I said, Alright, great. No idea what she was doing, other than I thought I'd be selling VHS tapes. So next day, see my supervisor, I go to her and I said, Please, you know, I know I'm not, you know, I'm not the best employee, but I need to, you know, get out of here for a little bit and it'll clear my head. I tried to explain her how it'd be better for me. She just looked at me dead, deadpan stare and says, Chris, don't you know, we're opening a studio, I need every body I can get body. And boy that pissed me off. And I'm like, I'm on a body on a slab of meat working, you know, the precondition. So you know, impetuous kid, you know, 20 years old, no idea. I've swore a couple of times and said, I quit. And I walked out the door. As I walked out, she says, don't use us as your stepping stone. I have no idea what she's talking about. So I go back to my apartment with my eight roommates, and basically called the lady and I said, Oh, my God, oh, my god, I just, you know, I think I just quit my job. She goes, Don't worry about Chris, why don't you come in, meet my boss. We'll figure it all out. So the next day I go into and it's a trailer way in the backlog, Disney MGM, they're still pulling up palm trees. That's how I knew this was. So I go in. And she says to me, Chris, when the door opens, go talk to my boss. So I sat there, and I was just watching people coming out was very interesting. cross section of employees. So door opens. And I hear it literally is like the voice of God, you know, come in young man. And I walk in and sitting behind the desk, if any of your audience ever saw the movie, oh, god with George Burns, and John Denver, swear to God, it looked just like George Burns with the little sailor hat, big thick glasses, polo shirt, but he was a much bigger man sitting behind the desk. He doesn't get up. He just literally motions me to sit down. So I sit down. And then he crosses his arms and says, Tell me a story. I'm like, Okay, I'm 20. Again, 20 year old kid, I have no idea. So I just tell him a story about me and Disney, yada, yada, yada. And the last thing I tell him is, you know, and my boss told me don't use those to your stepping stone. And I said, Sir, I don't know what that means. But here I am. So he's nodding the whole time. You're nodding, you know, very stern look, but but paying attention, you know, he takes off his glasses just like this. And he looks at me and points his finger and says, fuck them. You work for me now? I don't know what that man. It's like a movie. Oh, dude. I had no idea at the time what that was. So I was just like, well, thank you, sir. I really appreciate that. And he said, Go talk to you know, I think her name was Joanne, but I'm not sure. So go talk to Joanne she'll set you up. I said, All right. Well, thank you, thank you. And I go outside and joins, like how to go and i go i You said I work for him now, or I work here now. And she's like, Oh, that's great. So she types on the computer now. 1989 The computers were huge. I mean, giant monitor things. And it was the screen was black with green, you know, anyway. So she types my name in the computer. And she's like, Chris, what's your Social, I'm gonna make sure we get all your paperwork in order. And so she types me in, and then a red flashes thing comes up on screen and she goes, Oh, no, you've been red flagged. And I'm like red flag. What does that mean? She does Well, turns out your boss over the cafeteria. Made you not unhearable a non hireable for Disney, which means I'm not allowed to hire you back at Disney. And I mean, I'm shaking. I'm like, oh my god, I signed a four year deal. This is like the military, I'm gonna get in trouble. I'm gonna lose my education. And it was just like, you know, I was completely falling apart and she goes Chris, calm down. I'll take care of this tomorrow morning report to bungalow seven at eight o'clock. 8am. And I said, Okay, she goes Just come down. I will take care of it. You're working with us. Don't worry about it said okay. Okay. So the next day I report to bungalow seven. And it's interesting because I thought I was going into be trained for selling 35 millimeter film and VHS tapes. But there's a bundle of their golf carts running around all over the place. There's cases you know, tour cases being in and out.

They gave me a name Sally Hinkle. They said, Go find Sally Henkel. She's your immediate boss. I said, Okay, great. So I asked a few people and they pointed this little four foot 10 Girl, I go over there and she's loading coolers with sodas, bottled water, stuff like that. Ice. But she's very small. So she can't lift any of this stuff. So I walked up no big strapping man. And I say, Sally, I'm pressed. I think I'm supposed to be working with you. And she goes, Great, great. So she starts directing the load this through this put ice in the school or I need to school on that golf court. And without asking any questions without even wondering anything. I just literally follow direction. I like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, the whole day. I mean, I worked a good 10 to 12 hours that day, didn't ask any questions. I was delivering coolers, camera setups, interview setups, there was lighting setups, there was a couple of stages all around the park I went to, and the whole time. I'm just like, this is cool. What the hell am I doing here? But I was so afraid to ask anyone anything. Because I just I asked her what I experienced with my boss. I was like, freaking out. So I just did what everybody told me to do. And then at the end of the day, we're done. We're sitting in the production office and Sally and I were just having a nice chat. And I say, Sally, listen, I don't want to, you know, I don't want to seem like an idiot or stupid or anything. But what exactly are you guys doing here? And she looked at me and goes, Christy, you don't know what you're doing here. I said, Well, I know what I'm doing here. You told me what to do. But what is this? And she goes, you're working on a TV show. It's called the two hour NBC television special for NBC, the grand opening of Disney MGM Studios. I'm like, really? What's my title? She goes, Well, you're my assistant. I'm the craft service person. So you're the assistant craft service. I'm like, No, that's cool. And she goes, have you ever done this before? I said, No. This is my first time. And at first she was I could see her getting a little pissed. She's, you know, she she's she said, dammit, I hate getting newbies. And I said, Sally, did I do a good job? She goes, Chris, you were amazing. I swear to God, I thought you knew what you're doing. I said, I do. If you tell me and if you tell me you won't have to tell me again. And she goes alright, so that was my first job.

Alex Ferrari 12:45
And that was the biggest and that was the beginning. That was the beginning. Yeah. Wow. That's you know, and you know, it's funny is that you and I walked over the same dead bodies at Disney MGM because my first job was I went to Full Sail. I first entered my first internship was at Disney MGM as a PA or as an intern action even a PA working for a god what was his name? The producer of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Swanson. He was on the backlot. It was Ted Swanson. No, not Ted.

Chris Debiec 13:21
Oh, cuz I worked with Ted Swanson. That's another story. But yeah

Alex Ferrari 13:24
No no no, it was another I worked. I worked. He was like the big. It was big cheese because he had just finished.

Chris Debiec 13:30
Ted Kay.

Alex Ferrari 13:31
What is it?

Chris Debiec 13:32
Ted Kay?

Alex Ferrari 13:33
Not Ted Kay. It was somebody Swanson Swinson something like that. But it was he was the producer of teenage mutant ninja turtles from 1990. And it was at that time, the biggest independent film of all time. And he was working on a new TV show. And we were shooting on universal, but his production offices were at MGM. And that's how I got started. So I got started at Disney MGM as well. So I

Chris Debiec 13:57
Wow, we were there the same time dude, that we

Alex Ferrari 14:01
Were you there 95?

Chris Debiec 14:02
I left in 96.

Alex Ferrari 14:04
I was there in 95. I went to I graduated in 96. During 95. We,

Chris Debiec 14:09
We missed each other. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 14:11
That's hilarious. But that's how I got that's how I got my start in the business as well. So that's too funny, man. Now you jumped from, from what?

Chris Debiec 14:20
Can I add something real quick? Yeah. So just to finish off book in the story. Many, many days go by a week goes by. I'm in the office, the production coordinator was named D. So you know, D, always she was trying to figure out where everybody was coming from because Disney was just opening and you know, Florida didn't really have that big of a production team. So she says Chris, I'm just curious, how did how did you come to the production? And I said, Well, I went to talk to a man named Jim Washburn. And when he told me I was working for him, and the whole production office kind of went quiet when I said the name Jim Washburn. So DS like Chris, you spoke to Jim Washburn? I said, Yeah. Meaning in person. You were actually met Jim Washburn. I'm like, Yeah, I went to his office and you know, you look like George Burns. It was kind of funny. So she goes interesting. And I'm like, Dee, why is that interesting? Well, Chris, Michael Eisner sent Jim Washburn here to open the studio. He is in charge of everyone. He is the boss of the entire studio. Everybody and no one's met Jim. He sits in a little trailer in the bag. And, you know, we no one's ever really met him. He comes in and out and he's from Burbank. So you really met him? I said, Yeah, I really met him. He's the one with everything. She does. Okay. And the whole office treated me like King they were like, Oh my God, you know, it's your boss. Oh my god, you know, then that was my first introduction to how Hollywood worked.

Alex Ferrari 16:01
Yeah, it isn't that isn't that funny which we will get to your stories Yeah, your stories coming up in a little bit after afterwards of you working with certain people in the business. But as I was looking through your IMDB man you at the beginning you were jumping from PA to wardrobe assistant to like you were doing a production you were doing any job it seemed at the beginning you were on Oscar which I frickin love Oscar with that said let's just along with

Chris Debiec 16:30
John Landis was interesting fellow. Is he the director that I forgot John Landis directed it. Yeah. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 16:37
I've heard nothing but interesting stories about John.

Chris Debiec 16:39
Well, yeah. We'll, go there if you want but

Alex Ferrari 16:45
One John Landis don't give me one John Landis story.

Chris Debiec 16:47
Well, there's all I have one John Landis story and it. So I was hired as the local assistant to Lesley Belzberg. Lesley was John Landis as a producing partner. And again, this is I'm only in the business, probably under a year. It's been about eight months, nine months. And I've worked on a couple of different things. And Leslie said to me, she goes, Chris, we're going to be doing a lot of lunches, and a lot of dinners, and I need you to take notes for me. I always had a notebook and my little fanny pack with pens, and you know everything. And I'm like, yes, yes. Lovely. No problem, no problem. So we were out one of these dinners, and I was taking notes and it was Lesley and John and myself. And there was one other person there and I honestly, I cannot remember his name. But John, John was in a mood. So you know, he was basically insulting everyone. You know, he was pissed off at the waitstaff. He was pissed off because his water was warm. You know, he got a phone, you know, you know, we didn't have really cell phones. I mean, I guess they brought a phone to him because someone was trying to reach him. He just pissed off the guy on the phone. And he just had this big rant. I was taking notes, but you know, not about a rant. But, you know, John was just angry. And he was just kind of going off in everybody. And then at the end of the dinner, I said to Lesley, I said, I said, Leslie Is he is he always like this? I mean, it's void. You know, he, he seems to because he was he was going off on everybody. And Leslie's like Chris, listen, sometimes directors are very creative. And they, you know, they just express themselves differently. And I and I said, Well, it just seems like he hates all human beings. Because he basically insulted everyone. I thought it was almost like a stand up back. But it wasn't. And and Leslie's like, you know, Chris, just keep that under your hat. And we'll just keep going. Like, okay, no problem. But you know, it and John Landis was actually the first very What do you say successful director I got. And it hit that one experience that one dinner I had with dealing with what he was going through in his mind. It actually helped me later in my career. And I know we'll we'll, we'll talk about that later.

Alex Ferrari 19:09
But it helped you with so that's

Chris Debiec 19:11
John Lasseter, by the way. They were at Universal because the Oscars set in Burbank burned down.

Alex Ferrari 19:17
So they shot they shot it in Florida. I didn't know they shot in Florida.

Chris Debiec 19:21
Yeah, because there was a big giant fire at Universal and the entire caught fire.

Alex Ferrari 19:26
Yeah, they I remember that fire. Yeah, they burned out it burned down. The Back to the Future set had to rebuild it.

Chris Debiec 19:32
And that was the Oscar Oscar set was using the same one.

Alex Ferrari 19:35
Oh, that makes sense. Do you remember Do you remember the Swamp Thing set? Yeah, of course. With I worked with Boris. Oh, wow. That was I was the office. I was the office production assistant. On fortune hunter was a show.

Chris Debiec 19:50
Wait a second. You weren't unfortunately I sorted I know you did it. I worked in the art department.

Alex Ferrari 19:56
I worked in the office.

Chris Debiec 19:59
Alright guys, this is a podcast I understand, but you're gonna love this. Hold on. Give me one second.

Alex Ferrari 20:07
We'll hold this is awesome.

Chris Debiec 20:10
Your audience is gonna love this. I don't know if you're gonna remember this. Are you ready for this?

Alex Ferrari 20:16
No, stop it. Stop it. Where it is it. Oh, wait a minute is that

Chris Debiec 20:21
The dagger from Fortune Hunter the prop guys.

Alex Ferrari 20:26
That's amazing. You added like candy. Great. Oh my God, dude, seriously,

Chris Debiec 20:34
Either I'm gonna get arrested and the cops will show up because I

Alex Ferrari 20:37
Look if Chris Hemsworth has not been arrested for the six Thor hammers, he stole off the set, I think you'll be away.

Chris Debiec 20:44
I didn't steal this. I was given to this as a gift from someone who thought I did a very good job.

Alex Ferrari 20:50
Well, that's probably the only thing

Chris Debiec 20:52
But anyway, check that out Fortune Hunters.

Alex Ferrari 20:56
So I was working with with that Teenage Mutant to turn a producer. But then across the hall. There was fortune hunter. And then I got a guy got I was the office PA. So anything in the office, I was there with the writers and I was there with the producers and Boris made me move him. He's like, Hey, I got a job for you. And they drove me out to his house and I moved him for free. Like literally heavy lifting. It's insane. So yeah, so you and I work.

Chris Debiec 21:31
Now also, fortunately, there was a show where I had the tip of my thumb cut off on fortunately, I had to go to the hospital. Because we were loading I was art department, I pretty much did everything. I was loading a truck and we were using the lift gate as leverage. And My hand slipped off the corner got caught in the lift gate, just as the lift gate was coming out know that the tip of my thumb off,

Alex Ferrari 21:56
That must have been fun.

Chris Debiec 21:58
But the you know, we had all the art department guys were there they call the ambulance they took me now here's the funny story is that in the ambulance, they had my thumb in ice, they had the tip of it and ice in the ambulance were going and the medic is asking me all these questions like what happened? How this happen? What are you guys doing out there? And then as we're pulling out, you know, he went when I first got in the ambulance, he put the oxygen in my nose. And as we're, you know, nothing was coming through. But you know, I figured Alright, well, that's the way it is. I never had oxygen my nose before. So we're driving and he's answering all these questions about production. And almost just as we're pulling up to the hospital, he says, Hey, how do I get a job? I want to work in production. And I'm looking at him. And I just looked at him and like, hey, is there supposed to be some oxen? something's supposed to be coming through my nose. He goes, Oh, yeah, click, he forgot to put the oxygen on that he put into my nose. In the meantime, he's asking for a job. And then as they're wheeling me in, he goes, Hey, do you think you could talk to your boss? I mean, you're gonna be out for a while. Maybe I can take your place.

Alex Ferrari 23:00
Holy Jesus man. And this is Florida. This is not even LA.

Chris Debiec 23:05
This is Florida. And get this. They hired him. No, I told my boss I said listen, I'm going to be out you need just labor and I said hire the guy. He seems like a nice guy. They interviewed him they hired him to replace me until I came back.

Alex Ferrari 23:20
Wow. And now and you launched another career that God knows where he went. So this is a lesson for everybody listening. The world of of film production is extremely small apparently. That decades later we found out that we were working on the same production and we never met each I've never met anybody else from from fortune hunter in all my years in this business that is amazing man. That's

Chris Debiec 23:52
Yeah, I don't know if you remember the production designer Orvis Rigsby

Alex Ferrari 23:57
I don't I don't remember that was I was all in the office. I went to set like once or twice I think. But if anybody's interested you could try to find an episode somewhere on YouTube or something was I was one season. It was pretty bad. It was a pretty bad show. I still remember this is what I still remember one of the PAs I'll never forget this. And by the way, anyone listening great lesson if you're working in the office, the show comes out premieres and then all the reviews come out. And the PA some pa cut out every review and pasted them up on the walls of the office. Unfortunately, every review was bad. So the showrunner comes in, and they have to talk them off allege that they don't think they fired that pork. You don't that's just that's just you don't do things like that. So alright, so you, you you've been you've done a bunch of stuff over the years and you were a production manager. And then you met A young up and coming filmmaker named Jimmy Jimmy Cameron was his name. Yeah. Yeah. James Cameron, you worked with Mr. Jim Cameron. For how many years? Did you work with Jim?

Chris Debiec 25:12
So, in the year 2000, we started from 2000 2005. I was his production supervisor, production manager and then eventually associate producer. So for five years, I worked on ghosts to the abyss, aliens of the deep expedition, Bismarck, and last mysteries of Titanic. Those are the four documentaries we did with Jim. But I became best friends with his brother, John, John Cameron. He's the baby brother of the family. And John was a six year Marine veteran. So whenever anyone watches James Cameron movie, there are Marines in his movies. The reason there are Marines is because of his brother, John. So John was for years Marine, marine consultant, military consultant. So I became best friends with John and then for the next 15 years. I had other things that you know, I was there for six years, I was the vice president production at a company called entertainment one television. But during the that timeframe, John camera just would call me out of the blue and say, Hey, I need a favor, or hey, I need this or hey, I knew that. So I've been in and out of the camera and lives for over 20 years. So yeah,

Alex Ferrari 26:28
So yeah, because that was the that time that you were with him as I like to call that the the deep sea walkabout that Jim did. I mean, Jim is a very, very special filmmaker, to say the least. And I've always wondered what was because I can imagine the I don't know if it was the pressure of whatever, but like after Titanic, you biggest movie of all time. I imagine that there's pressure on you to do something like next. And maybe he's like, You know what, I'm just gonna go do something I want to do. And it really seems like Jim really wanted to just become a not just a deep sea explorer, but like, a legitimate. Like he's in the in the, in the archives of deep sea explorers. Like, he's up there with Jacques Cousteau. And I mean, he's a series he does the work

Chris Debiec 27:20
Jim is also an engineer. People don't know, ya know, he's he engineers, his own his own equipment he created, you know, he engineer the cameras. They're using an avatar with Sony with other companies.

Alex Ferrari 27:32
So I gotta ask you, sorry. So you worked with Jim so closely. I mean, I've look I've had I've had many people who worked with Jim on the show. And I've heard I love Jim Cameron stories I've heard I've got like, probably about five or 10 of them that my guests have told me over the years on air and off. Some you have to tell off air some you have to tell OG you could tell on air, but they're just brilliant. And you just go okay, from someone who worked so closely with them. I haven't spoken anyone who's worked really close with him for such a long period of time, and especially over 20 years coming back and forth into into his camp. That I've always understood that Jim is a genius at a level that we can't really comprehend in, in, you know, he's just at a whole other playing field, when it comes to filmmaking when it comes to the technical aspects of filmmaking. He's got a whole other place and that he gets frustrated with people who can't live up to what he thinks he can what he is able to do. So what is your experience with Jim in? Is that a truth? Is that basically a fair statement to say that is Jim that kind of just like, so at a different level that everybody else around him?

Chris Debiec 28:43
Well, okay, so little disclaimer, that, you know, Jim, Jim is many, many things. The way I can explain it is that if you had your solar system, Jim is the sun. And then we are all planets, overall, revolving around the sun. That's when he does a project. Now listen, you know, as your film community knows, and as you know, the director is the boss on set. So Jim is the boss and he has a very specific vision, a very specific way of doing things very, you know, he has honed this thing for 30 years, 40 years and some of the biggest movies and that's why he is who he is. So I came, I went into it with the understanding that this is my choice. I am on set because I want to be here and I believe that I am good enough to be here. Now, that comes with a whole laundry list worth of stuff that you're going to have to deal with. I got fired four times in five years. Three other times had nothing to do with me and one of the times had everything to do with me. But you know, he you have to learn how to work with someone that is of that caliber. And I soon learned that, you know, within a year, year and a half, that when Jim gets upset, he gets upset at a situation that's not working the way he expects it to. So whomever is in the line of fire is just going to get shot. And, you know, I don't mean with guns, but I mean, with just verbal, you know, like frustration that he's coming out with. So in the three times I got fired, you know, Jim, you know, was pissed off because scheduling didn't work? Some equipment didn't show up. I mean, there were there was resistance production stuff. Yeah, it's production stuff. So, you know, I happen, you know, I am, you know, as a production supervisor, production manager and associate producer, I am the one having to deal with execute everything. So, ultimately, it's my responsibility. But, you know, it's not always my fault, because there are other contributing factors that maybe Jim may not be aware of. So of those three times, you know, he was yelling and screaming and piston throwing things like get the hell out, you're fired. I don't know. I can't believe this. So as I'm packing up, and every all three of these times are almost exactly the same. I'm trying to unpack and get ready to leave the office. As I'm walking out. Jim comes in and I'm like, scared. I'm like, Oh, God, he's gonna hit me with something he didn't ever did. But you feel

Alex Ferrari 31:19
I've never heard him. I've never heard of a physical altercation with you. No, no, I've never heard of any story of that. Joe pitka. I've heard that with.

Chris Debiec 31:30
Jim, Jim verbally assaults, he doesn't physically assault. But there was there was one time that he he himself was physically assaulted. And I'll tell you that in a second. So yeah, you know, as I'm leaving, Jim looks at me, he goes, where are you going? And I said, Will you just fire me, he goes, get back to work, I've got things to do, you know, don't waste my time with that. Just, you know, you know, I need this and this and this and that. So I'm like, okay, okay. So I get back to my desk and I start working. It turns out that what happens is in that moment, you know, the fuse burns very bright. But then when it burns out, kind of forgets about it, or I don't know if he forgets about it, but he puts it off, and he's like, is no longer priority and no longer a issue? So, over the course of a year and a half, you learn that, you know, when he's yelling at you, you just you look him in the eye and you nod, and you say, Yes, sir, yes, sir. Yes, sir. And you, you make sure that he knows you are hearing him you are listening and paying attention and responding, but don't put fuel on the fire. Don't don't engage in the argument. You just allow him to do his thing. Tell him he allow him to say what he needs to say. And then soon you will see his level of anger drop down to almost nothing where he just kind of like, alright, good talk, and then walks away. And that's what I learned on how to deal with him. Now, the one time I did get fired that had everything to do with me. Do you can I want to hear the story?

Alex Ferrari 33:01
Absolutely. Any gym stories? You want to say we have time for them? These? These are the best?

Chris Debiec 33:07
Okay, okay, so. Alright. We just finished aliens of the deep. We're getting ready. No, sorry. It wasn't aliens that day. We just finished expedition Bismarck after we finished one of those things. Yeah. And what happened was, I got I finished up. We were in the Azores, which is an island chain in the middle of the Atlantic. It's part of the Portuguese port Portugal. So we we stopped the boat there. We unpacked you know, I had to ship everything out of Portugal. It all got done. And then it was a Thursday and I flew back to LA and I went back to my apartment, I got a message on my answering machine. I pick it up. It's John Cameron. John calls me and says, Hey, Chris, I need to talk to you. So I call him back. And he says, I need you to meet Jim. in Nice, France. Sunday morning at 9am. Now, it's a Thursday. So I'm like, nice Sunday morning. Got it. What am I doing? John says it's a needed basis. I said, Well, you're sending me the knees, don't you think I need to know? And he goes, nope. I said, Well, how long am I going to be there? And he said, pack enough stuff for a week. I said, Okay, what do I need to bring? He says, bring a camera. Okay. Can you tell me what I'm doing? He's like, no. I said, All right. Now, I'm used to this because Jim and his whole family run production, like it's black ops for the military. They very rarely give anyone information unless it directly deals with what's going on through the moment. So I'm used to this. I'm like, fine. I've been flying coach all around the world for the last two years. I said, John, do you think you can fly me business class? And he goes, Why would he wide because I want to, you're telling me to go do this and you won't tell me why it's so funny business cards. I got to fly business. So I get on the plane. I land in nice France. I don't know. Friday, Saturday, I forget which day anyway, I land there. Let's say it's a Saturday. So maybe it was a Friday, he called me and so on. So I land in nice France on Saturday, I have a credit card, I have cash. I didn't have a hotel reservation, I didn't have any of that stuff. So it didn't really matter. Because I know how to do what I'm doing. And that there was a lot of stuff. I got sent to various places with no planning whatsoever. But Jim knew that, you know, just saying, Chris, you'll know what to do. So I found the fairly expensive hotel on the beach. I go there I call John. I said, John, I'm in Nice. Can you please tell me where I'm going? What I'm doing. And he says, Alright, write this down. He gives me an address. I write down a piece of paper and goes, I need you to meet Jim at 9am. Tomorrow morning. And yeah, it was a Saturday. So I had to meet him at Sunday morning. 9am. I said, Okay, no problem. Go down the front desk. I don't, I've never been that nice before, it isn't my first time. Around the front desk, I show the ladies at the front desk here. I need to go to this address. So they pull out a map. They're trying to find the address. You know, these are French ladies, they can't find it. And then one of the lazy pull up, pulls out a different map pulls out a map of France. Now, you know, France imagine is like a big giant circle. And you know, nieces like up here. And one of the ladies says, oh, ECEC will she find here in French. She finds the place. And she points down here. Now nice is here. And she goes down here. It's in more said, John sent me to the wrong city in France. He didn't know. So I the laser, the front desk Tell me. I say how do I get me? I speak a little French. So I was able to communicate. So I was like, How do I get there? They said, Well, you could rent a car. But it's eight hours. Like, I can't do that because I've never been here, I don't know. But then the lady said there's a train. It's a cattle train that runs all around the country of France delivering you know, agriculture and sheep and cows and stuff like that. So she her father was a farmer. So she said I would you know, I can get you on this train. So it left at 11pm That night, so I grabbed my bag. Now I was staying in a really nice so the ladies didn't even charge me for the hotel room just because they thought you know what I was about to do was crazy. So I got on the cattle car train. And there are no seats there. They're planks of wood. And there's a chicken shit. There's feathers. There's cheap shit. They're just, it's disgusting. So

Alex Ferrari 37:35
It's like business class, but different.

Chris Debiec 37:37
Yeah, there you go. So I get on the train. And it's about a six hour train thing. You know, train, drive, whatever trip and there's the benches burned out or move over for the whole night. So I get pulled into Marsay. It's like 7am or something. So there's one cab out front. I show the address to the cab driver and he goes 100 Euro. Okay, so I whip out 100 year old hand it to him and I get in the backseat. He was waiting for me to haggle. But I didn't handle it. So he's like, okay, so it takes us an hour to get to the address, we get to the address. It's a female for animals. That's what it is. So I'm looking at this female going, this cannot be the address. So we drive around a whole bunch of times, and we keep confirming it's a female. So we go to the little town. There's a Tourist Kiosk in the middle. So I go and I tell the cab driver dropped me off. He drops me off and I get on the phone and I called John Cameron. I say, John, I think I'm here. I'm not at the address, but I'm at the town. There's a there's a boat yard. There's this there's a store. I'm at a Tourist Kiosk. And he says to me, Alright, great. I'll have Jim meet you there in about an hour. And then he hangs up and I'm sitting in this Turski is going this will be interesting. Jim's going to meet me. How does he know where the hell on? Okay, whatever. So hour goes by a big silver van pulls up. It's Jim Cameron, Suzy and all the kids. And Jim goes, Hey, Chris, how was your trip? And I go, great, Jim. And I get in I throw my bags in the in the van and I jump in the van and we start driving. Now Josephine is Susie, there's Jim's child from Linda Hamilton. So Josie is like about 10 years old. Josie reaches over and goes she's like sniffing and she goes and she goes mommy, he smells terrible. I was sitting in a cattle car and cheap shit for the last eight hours. So yeah, of course I smelled terrible. And she's like, stop at Chelsea standard. So we get back to the feed mill. And there's that turns out there's a road behind the female it's completely hidden. Nobody would know it was there. We get there and the driver gets out opens gate for the road. And Jim looks at me and starts nudging going way to etc, etc. So I'm like, I have no idea why I'm there. But I'm not asking any questions. So we get in the road, go back. And there's a giant warehouse like Costco size warehouse, and the driver and we all get out and the drivers opening the door. And Jim does that, to me again, just wait to see what he sees, like a little child, very excited. So we go into the warehouse, and I look inside this warehouse. And there are two submarines. I mean, submarines in the warehouse, along with four boats, for trucks, shelves, and shelves and shelves of equipment, a big office with file cabinets and coffee machines. And the whole thing is just a giant operation. And I'm standing there, and I'm like, What the hell is this? And you know, Jim is just kind of like, it's Christmas. And he just opened his presents. So he comes over to me and goes, so what do you think? And I'm like, pretty cool, man. This is amazing. Wow, look at all this stuff. And then he looks at me. Now I we were in here for maybe five minutes. He looks at me crosses his arms and goes, so how long is it going to take you to ship these two submarines, those four trucks, those four boats and everything in this warehouse back to my ranch in Santa Barbara. I had no idea what I was doing there in the first place. So you know, Hello, Mister Production Manager, Production Supervisor. I look at this. And I literally had no answer for I don't know how to ship two submarines. I don't know how to do half of the stuff that I was doing with them anyway. So the only thing I could do was the only answer I gave him. I said, Jim, there is an awful lot of equipment in this warehouse. Can we spend some time and walk through it so I can have a better analysis of what this is? And he goes, Yes, great answer. Yeah, let's go do that. The whole time we're walking through it. I'm like, fuck up, shut up. What's that? I don't know what that is. What the hell? What am I doing here? Why didn't John tell me I'm so pissed, you know. But I'm saying this in my head, you know. So we've spent at least an hour, maybe hour and a half going through it all. Now, luckily, I did have some experience moving equipment. So I just then put it in my mind that this is all production equip. I know how to do that. But with submarines, I'm thinking, well, there's some government's gotta get involved with this, I think I'm gonna have to deal with Naval Intelligence coming back to the US, they may not just let submarines come into the US. So I started thinking about all these things. And then we go back into the office. And Jim again, sits down and goes, All right. How long is it gonna take you to get all this stuff? Yeah, I want to give myself as much time as humanly possible, but also know that Jim's never whatever that number is, it's not going to be soon enough. So I said, Jim, I would love 12 weeks, because on a production of a big movie or something, we usually have 12 weeks of prep, give or take. And so I figured, you know, it's enough time that you know, I could prep it, I can do that. videotape. photograph. Jim just looks at me and slams his fist on the desk and goes 12 weeks? What are you telling me about fucking 12 weeks at 12 weeks? I'm going to give you four. And I was I'm like, I said, Jim, I'll be honest, man. I mean, there's submarines in there, I'm gonna have to deal with the French government. I'm gonna have to deal with the US government. I'm gonna have to deal with organizations I've never dealt with before. I said, Can you give me eight? And then he looks at me goes, okay. Tell you, I'll give you six.

Okay, I'll take six better than four. Maybe not as good as 12. But all right, whatever. So he gave me six weeks, and he says you have unlimited resources. But make sure you don't spend any more money than you should. Instead, okay. Now for James Cameron, being who he is, and what he's worth and movies. He does. very frugal, very smart, very business. Like he's a businessman beyond anything, you know, businessman, filmmaker, energy engineer, whatever. So I know how to do that. So they, the kids are playing on the submarines and everyone's running around. So they gather everybody together, go on the van. And Jim gets in the van with the kids. And I said, So what's next? And he goes, Well, you go to work. We're on vacation. So we'll talk to you soon. And they get in the van and they drive away. I'm standing alone with my bags in a parking lot in the middle of France. I don't eat. I'm like, Okay, here we go. That's my Jim Cameron's

Alex Ferrari 44:49
And then you just had to find a place to stay.

Chris Debiec 44:52
Yeah, I had to do Yeah, I had to do everything. And ironically enough, we had just finished expedition in Bismarck. So these German kids I hired from the ham Bird film school. They were amazing. They helped me with the prepping pa that kind of stuff. So I pulled the lead guy that I had from Germany and I said, Hey, Oliver, I need kind of your guys. I'll fly you in put you up really nice hotel, per diem, the whole nine yards, whatever you need, but I need your help. And I got six weeks into this. So I brought an entire German contingency and they did everything. Right.

Alex Ferrari 45:24
So did you did you make it in six weeks?

Chris Debiec 45:28
Five, actually,

Alex Ferrari 45:29
Five weeks to ship all that stuff over? I mean, I've heard Jesus. It's like, I mean, I've met these I've met certain people like this. Never like never Jim. I've had the pleasure to meet Jim yet, but these kind of almost godlike figures in the film industry,

Chris Debiec 45:46
Who just be careful that God like they are not, but you know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 45:51
But like, myth, the myth of who the idea that God like they're definitely human beings without question. And they have their frailties and everything like that, but they've lived in their world for so long, that they don't like I remember I had a story of a filmmaker who was on set with with Jim. And he's saying to Jim, he's like, Yeah, I made my last movie for like, $100,000 in Jim's head, like, almost like gear started to pop in his head because he couldn't comprehend a feature film being made for $100,000. Like he just couldn't, he couldn't grasp, literally couldn't grasp the idea, like what it would I don't understand what you mean. Things like that. So it's really interesting to see that, like, you know, when you have your kids playing on submarines, that's just generally not a normal scenario, without question. And then I've heard the stories of his his compound and, and in Malibu, and he has he has the, was it the yacht in the front yard, just in case the the, the

Chris Debiec 46:46
Well, that's all changed. Okay. Jim, no longer is a resident no longer lives here in the US. Okay. Oh, really? I didn't know that. He moved him and his entire family in in New Zealand.

Alex Ferrari 46:58
Interesting. Because he's shooting

Chris Debiec 47:01
Avatars. 2 3 4 5, and six?

Alex Ferrari 47:05
Is he going to do five more of these? I thought we only could do like three or five more of these.

Chris Debiec 47:11
That's what that's what the plan is. That's what but he's already got like, what? Two or three twos coming out over Christmas this year? Three, I don't know when threes coming out. But he had made some comments to me. It took us a long time ago saying well, I'm gonna die on Pandora. It'll be 90 by the time we finish at six.

Alex Ferrari 47:31
I was gonna say like, can he finish all of these? Like how? How old is Jim? Jim is Wednesday, his birthday?

Chris Debiec 47:36
He just, you know, good question. I think it's 6563. Four or five. One of those. But his birthday was just this month.

Alex Ferrari 47:45
Yeah. So he No, he's got and he's, he's vegan. So he'll make it

Chris Debiec 47:50
Wasn't that he wasn't always vegan. But yeah, he Susie made a mega.

Alex Ferrari 47:55
Right, exactly. So, um, alright. So after working with Jim for so long, what is some of the lessons that you picked up from him that made you a better production manager? Because I imagine when you're sharpening your AX on a stone, like Jim Cameron, it's going to sharpen faster and differently than you would working on Oscar?

Chris Debiec 48:21
Yeah, well, it's a whole different thing.

Alex Ferrari 48:24
And now I understand how John land has prepared you to deal with you.

Chris Debiec 48:28
Yeah, because it's about communication. It's how you talk to people. And it's how you talk to people that are used to a certain way of working. So the question was, oh, so what did I learn? Jim kept saying one thing to us, he's like, he's like, Chris, it's that one $5 part that we're missing, that will shut down the entire operation. So I became Uber duper, super duper detail oriented, very sensitive to every single thing, everything that went into a box, how it was packed, how it was moved, where it was, I literally became a computer program, of, of equipment crew, where things are, what things are going, it was, I had to become a bit of a machine to make sure that we I knew everything I knew where everything was at any given moment. So that made me better as from a producing standpoint, as far as being detail oriented, and your audience and your filmmakers should understand that, you know, it's like, you have to literally as a as a line producer, production manager, whoever, you have to think of every single thing in your arsenal and you have to think of everything very detail,

Alex Ferrari 49:48
Right! Because you can have everything but if you don't have the wig that the actress needs for the scene, the whole production shuts down because the wigs not there. So a $5 $10 $50 wig, what's the entire production down until that wig gets there? So that's a really great a great point.

Chris Debiec 50:08
Where's that sore? We can't find it.

Alex Ferrari 50:12
It's on a podcast circa 2020. So working again, working on those docks. I mean, I've studied the abyss, obscene, like I watched the documentary read books on the production of that. And that was a pretty intense, one of the worst production experiences for me involved ever, not because of Jim, just because of the nature of what he was trying to achieve. So there was a tremendous amount of pressure, I have to ask you working on these kinds of documentaries, where Jim is going down into, you know, deep sea diving, and being underwater for a long period of time and decompression and all that kind of stuff. Coming up. How, how did he How did you deal with? How did he deal with that pressure? Which I'm sure he's used to. But how did you deal with what was coming up out of the water? Well,

Chris Debiec 51:09
I mean, it's the same as I just explained it, you know, it's, you know, you have to be ready for anything, you have to be prepared for the worst prepared for what he's going to ask. prepared for what what's happening. I mean, sometimes the seas were so rough that the entire crew was, you know, throwing up somewhere. We couldn't find some of the crew half the time, you know, Jim, we made a deal with the entire crew, it was a 24 hour day, pretty much. Meaning if you sign on, you're going to have a lot of downtime, but you're going to have to be available at any given notice. Like, you know, the weather is right, let's go, we're doing the dive now. So you have to be ready for the dive immediately. It just, you literally have to be on the whole time.

Alex Ferrari 51:56
But you're not working 24 hours. But when you work?

Chris Debiec 52:00
Well, when you're on a ship. I mean, there's really not much we had we had a volleyball court up on top. They used to hit golf balls down through the ocean, the dining room, you know, we'd always be eating or drinking. But that's about it. I mean, so it's there's limited capacity on what to do on board this science vessel that belongs to the Russian government. So but you had to be ready for pretty much ever.

Alex Ferrari 52:25
So in production, we there's always that day that everything is coming crashing down around you and you feel like the world's about to end. What was that day for you on any of those projects? And how did you overcome that? That situation?

Chris Debiec 52:42
Goes to the abyss 911 The towers going down? We're at sea. So I was in St. John's, Newfoundland preparing for the next leg of our trip. The guys were at sea. And Jim basically didn't know what to do. I mean, we're we're under attack, the world's at war. Airports are starting either starting to shut down or shutting down or whatever. So I was asked to go get Jim's family and bring them from California to St. John's, Newfoundland. So that, you know, Jim didn't know everybody was just like not knowing what was going to go down. So we got Jim's family in a private, you know, so we were John Cameron was able to arrange a private jet, one of the first jets that happened that we're allowed to take flight. Three days after the Twin Towers went down, there was probably about a dozen special requests that were allowed. So, you know, I got Jim's family from LA to St. John's, Newfoundland. And then Jim said to me, Chris, I need you to take all the tapes back to Los Angeles. I don't know. We don't know if we're going out. We don't know what's happening. We got permission for a second flight to go back. So could you do that for me? I said, Sure. Absolutely. So it was me and one of the producer, we loaded up the private jet with all the tapes from goes to the abyss. I mean, these are the originals. These are the you know if it's the airplane, yeah. If our plane went down that he'd lost the entire documentary so far, but it wasn't about that it was about the unknowing. It was about not knowing what's happening and not knowing what what to expect because finally Jim experienced a situation that was out of his control 100% So we were all literally on the edge of our seats, trying to figure out what to do, but, you know, we came up with a plan as long as If the government officials would let him do his plan now, Jim was on the board of NASA. So he had a little bit more pull than most traditional people, filmmakers. So we got all the the equipment, all the tapes, were on a plane, and we landed in, I think it was like Minnesota or something. Because, you know, St. John's, Newfoundland to LA is a very, very long flight. So we landed, middle of night, somewhere in Minnesota, when we landed, we were greeted by about a dozen police cars, three fire trucks, couple of black FBI vans, and we were there when they opened up those those officers and everybody was standing there with their weapons. They were, you know, because they knew that we have permission to be there, but they didn't know who we were. And everybody is taking precautions everybody was was a heightened alert. So when we got off, and we agree that way, we were asked to be we were escorted off the airplane and move to a special room where we had FBI agents literally standing over us, you know, and they were asking us questions about what are you doing? You know, we weren't given information about you, we know you have permission, but you got to tell us what's going on. So I explained everything and they so they searched the airplane, they went through all the boxes of tapes, they went through everything took us a couple of hours to get through that. They refuel the airplane, and then we were allowed to go off to back to LA, and I'll be honest, I mean, for me, that was one of the scariest situations I've ever been in because there was so much unknown, that we didn't know what to expect. We didn't know anything and just to be greeted by by by such a large arsenal, you know, not knowing who he was. That was scary shit too.

Alex Ferrari 56:53
That's, that's a pretty, it's a pretty insane one as insane production stories go. That's a that's a pretty rough one.

Chris Debiec 57:01
911 was was different.

Alex Ferrari 57:02
Yeah, no, I'm Yeah, I think we all remember where we were when that happened. And you were on a boat. With James Cameron shooting a movie at the time. Is there any? Is there any other if you had one crazy story to share about your time with Jim publicly? Is there?

Chris Debiec 57:23
Well, I just shared with you a pretty good I mean, I, you know, that I can actually add on to that same story. So I got the job done in five weeks. So I wrote an email to Jim, I gave him a full explanation of what I did, how I did it, all of that stuff. Now, what I didn't tell you is that Jim sat in the, in that office in France, and you know, and he wrote a 12 page manifesto on how I should ship everything. I mean, you know, right down to dealing with hazardous material, dealing with the submarines, and he said, you know, and upon his list, he said, You should be talking to Naval intelligence, you know, he wrote 12 pages of how to do this. Now, when he had left and left me all alone there. You know, I started reading through his manifesto, I got down to the middle of page two is when it all I was like, I can't do this. Jim doesn't have a true understanding of the world that we live in as far as the reality of dealing with customs, dealing with Interpol, because Interpol is their version of Naval Intelligence, dealing with the French government and dealing with the hazardous materials. He's dealt with it before, but he's never really physically dealt with it. So now what he wanted me to do, it has materials I could never do. So when it came down to it, the and he said, You know, I wrote him an email telling what I did. My phone rang within minutes. And he said to me, I got your email, explained to me what you did. Now, it was successful for me for what we did, we got it in under time, everything was categorized, everything was done by the book. So I explained to him what I did, and there was a silence on the other end. And then I hear a whisper. He's like, listen, and then he started screaming at me how I did not follow his instructions. I did not follow the manifesto. Things are going to get fucked up. And then he just starts screaming and insulting me and yelling at me, just I mean, I had to hold the phone out. It was just, but I already knew him by now. So to me, it was just like, man, okay, yeah. And then, all of a sudden, right in the middle of that rant, the phone goes dead. And later, when later I found out that he had pulled the phone out of the wall, threw it through the production office window, got into his GT He just bought and started doing doughnuts in the parking lot because he was so pissed off. The last thing I heard before that phone got disconnected was burn your passport and don't ever come back to the United States again. So I got another call from Andrew Jin's producing partner a couple minutes later, Andrew says Andrew was in the room. When did this happen? He's the one that told me what Jim did. So Andrew says to me, Chris, please explain to me everything that you just told. Jim said, Okay. So I did. Andrew said to me, Chris, that's amazing. I can't believe you actually, you did it the way you did it, which is perfect. I wouldn't have done anything different. And the fact that you got everyone to sign off on everything, I had a grease some wheels, I had to give some bribes. I had to do things that probably I shouldn't have done, but I did in order to make that happen. So Andrew was just impressed beyond belief. He's like, That's amazing. Do me a favor, take a week off. You and the German boys go rent a yacht, go enjoy yourself in the south of France. I said, Okay, great. So that's what we did. I actually for 900 euros around a rock yacht for a couple of days. And a week later, I got an email from Jim saying, Chris, thank you so much. Best thing ever couldn't believe it. Wonderful, great job. Get your ass back here. We got a lot of work to do. Save that email. It's framed on my wall.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:24
But I have to ask you. So in your from your point of view, what do you think happened in his mind to react that way? If everything is perfect, it's done. What clicks to do to generate that

Chris Debiec 1:01:40
I didn't do it. I didn't do it the way he envisioned it. Now, think of you think put yourself in the mind of a director. And the director is giving instructions to the crude or how to shoot his movie. And the crew says, hey, you know what, we're not going to do it that way. We're gonna have to do another one. How would a director react? Wouldn't he be upset when VB angry when he met C? In his mind, he's imagining all of the worst scenarios you can possibly, you know, no matter what I said to him, Jim, this guy is nice purple, and you know, they're blue bunny rabbits running around, he doesn't matter. Because in his mind, he imagined the worst things happening because I didn't follow his instructions. So, again, to me, You know what, that is the way Jean, you know, his genius works. And that's okay. I learned from that. I learned from that experience, I learned that no matter how right you think you are, it's the way you the message comes across and who you're explaining it too. So I have probably one of the most neutral demeanors you can have for Hollywood because I have worked with people like that. And I know he's, I want him to be right, because he is 99% of the time. He's direct about most things. And you learn from that you it's kind of like going out and playing golf with a professional golfer and you're accurate. You know, you're going to get better just by watching that gentleman play or Whiteside person play. So for me as a producer, I'm going to be better just by watching him do what he does. Now I don't I'm not going to do that. Again. I'm not going to act like that, because that's not who I am. But I know that's who he is. And I'm okay with that. I choose to be here. And I choose to learn from it rather than react to it.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:31
You mentioned something earlier when you were your first job on this on MGM, Disney MGM where you had met the head honcho of MGM people and how people treated you differently. So how did that translate years later after you were known in the business as Jim Cameron's kind of production manager

Chris Debiec 1:03:53
On top of the mountain, you know, so as far as documentaries go, I mean, you are you're at the pinnacle, you know, at the top, so I got a lot of offers to do job for jobs I got. I was the guest lecturing at USC and UCLA Film schools. I went to LA Film School and guest lectured. I taught my own Learning Annex program. I did a lot of teaching afterwards because I learned so much from those several years of spending with him and the fact that very few people have that. You know, Jim has the same crew from Titanic on Avatar. I mean, you know, Jeff burdock is one of his technology, guys. Jeff has been there for 30 years.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:35
And it's easy Russell now for Ethan Russell carpenter. deeping.

Chris Debiec 1:04:40
No, not the P. Tech.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:42
No, no, no, no. Russell Russell carpenter is maybe

Chris Debiec 1:04:45
Maybe, maybe I don't know. What I'm saying is Jim has a production company Lightstorm. Jeff Burdick has been running lights not running, running the tech side of Lightstone for Jim for almost 30 years or over 25 years at least. So Jason Jim has a core group of people that aren't leaving. Terry DiPaolo is Jim's number one is Jim's, you know, eyes and ears for the rest of the world. And, you know, Terry's been there I was I was there before Terry started. But you know, Terry's still there. And, you know, it's a job that a lot of people don't want to give up. It's a hard job. It's a difficult job. Not the easiest one in the world. But because you're working for one of the top filmmakers in the world when and forget filmmaking for a split second, just call it media manufacturing. You're working for someone who is the CEO of Apple or CEO of you're working for an Elan Musk of filmmaking. You great deal better. Yeah, yeah. You're you feel different, you feel it empowers you to be better. And that's the way I look at now. Some people take that the other opposite direction become some Hollywood scumbag and try to use that power against others or, or pushing their power on others. I look at as an educational tool, and I try and you know, I do I still get Fletcher, I still do teaching and I still do all that stuff. sharing this knowledge is something I feel like I have to because they need to understand working for someone like that what it means. And you can thrive and succeed from it, if you understand how to do it, how to work with it, around it.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:20
Yeah, and that's really just a really good point. Because in this business, you're going to run into people like, Jim. But even though Jim is a an anomaly in our industry, really in the last 3040 years, there hasn't been another filmmaker like him. The closest I see here now is Nolan is the closest I can even remote. And even then he's not an engineer. He's then

Chris Debiec 1:06:43
Peter Jackson, don't forget Peter Jackson, you have Peter Jackson is amazing. And Spielberg has always been amazing.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:50
But there are different there are different kinds of be there are different beasts, compared there is only one, Jim, but you will meet people like that who might come off as abrasive. And I love what you said that certain people do that, who are just abusive for the sake of being abusive, and just verbally abusing and things like that, where, you know, even people who have I've everybody I've talked to who's worked with Jim has a reverence for him, even though they might have been abused, they might have been yelled at, they might have been pushed beyond their limits beyond their comfort zone. That's what someone like Jim does.

Chris Debiec 1:07:30
Exactly. And that's exactly what he did. He wrote me a reference letter, which is fantastic. And he mentioned, he's like, listen, I asked the best from everyone. And if you aren't, aren't up to it, then go somewhere else and find another job. But if you are, then let's do this. Yeah, there was a production meeting we had where Jim was really angry about some, you know, something that didn't happen. And I did it. You know, I messed up a schedule, or I messed up some thing that we were doing, and in the production, meeting all the departments there, Jim wants to know, he's pounding on the desk going, who did this, I want to know you. I need someone to take responsibility. And I literally raised my hand said, that was me. And then he looks at me and goes, tell me why. So I told him, I said, Listen, I did this, I did this. We didn't know, whatever the explanation was, I don't remember it. And he looks at me in front of the entire group. And he says, is that ever going to happen again? And I said, No, Jim, because now I understand what you were doing. And I understand why that happened. So I'm going to fix that. And he looks around the room and he says, I want everybody to understand this. I'm very angry at him, but he's going to deal with it. If you can all do that. We will do this. Well.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:47
That's fascinating. Did you ever hear the I had Russell on the show years ago? Did you ever hear the story of how he got hooked up with Jim did not. I'll tell you this story real quick for a lot of people who haven't heard that episode, because it's one of my favorite Jim Cameron stories. Russell gets a call from his agent and goes, Hey, Jim Cameron wants to talk to you about his next project. And he's like, okay, so he goes down to Malibu goes into the into his compound. And Jim, he meets Jim and Jim just starts talking to Russell like, he has a job. There's no There's just it's like, okay, so we're gonna start doing this when? And he won't. And Russell very similar to you in France. Like I don't, am I am I what am I doing? So he leaves he calls his agent does I think I think I was hired on July's. I don't. I think he was. No, no, you're starting you're starting in like two days or something like that. And, and this is happening. So he goes, he goes and I don't know if you have you ever met Russell? No, I am not. Russell's the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul like he's a very just a gentle person. Which is so interesting to work with someone like Jim and him being so at such a close proximity as a DP and they start shooting first couple days and and no problems. Jim is a sweetheart tool, just an absolute. And he calls his wife I was gonna I don't understand that. I mean every I mean, I mean, I see him get upset with people on set, but he doesn't have any problems with me. So I guess everything's fine. So they're back at his screening room in Malibu and his house, and they're doing dailies. And all of a sudden shot of Arnold comes up. And it's, it's, it's Russell, the production designer, the first ad and I think the production manager or the producer or something like that's in the room. And he goes, What the fuck is that? That's loud is and Russell's. Like, oh my god, he goes, Hey, Russell, it'd be nice. If I could see the biggest movie star in the world. I just paid $20 million to his face would be nice if I could see it. And Russell just starts to crawl into a ball and, and then next shot, boom, hits him again. Next shot, boom, hits him again. And Russell just goes, he just walks out, like walks out into the parking lot. He's like, I'm fired, fired, fired off the thing causes why is he just like, I'm fired. I'm fired off this. I can't this is obviously it's not working. The first ad in the production center, run back out. And he goes, Russell, don't worry about it. It's fine. It was what do you mean, he does? He does that to every DP? Because what do you mean, he was called every other DP he's ever worked with up and find out. So he calls up the guy from I think, the abyss or Terminator two or something like that. He goes, What? What he goes, Did he Did he say about the whole I wish I could see the light of the face of the biggest movie star in the world. Yeah, he does that to everybody. And that I was it's just a way to push. I think it's just a way to like, make sure he gets what he wants out of it. He's a fascinating character study as a character, Jim Cameron is a fast facet, fascinating character, character study. I'd be interested if I could ever get if I could ever get up on the show. Hopefully, maybe this year, I almost had one good luck with that, almost, by the way, almost had him for his book, tech. Tech nor the gym out very close, but never know where two things have happened in this world. True that. So alright, so what so you're now down in Austin, what are you working on? You're working on a very special project down here. Yeah, in Texas. Tell us tell everybody what you're trying to help us do here, man are the Texas.

Chris Debiec 1:12:23
So moved here January. I do a lot of budgets and schedules and business proposals index for feature films shooting everywhere. I got hired to do a budget and a schedule for a small western film that $8 million Western film all about Texas, early 1800s. And I started doing research and call the Film Commission and said, hey, you know, I'm doing this budget, I'd like to get an understanding of your tax incentives. And she's the Film Commission said, Oh, we've run out of money. I said, What do you mean? Well, we have a two year program. It's $45 million grant. And we ran out of money in the first three months of the first year of a two year program. And I said, that sucks. I said, Well, I have this late million dollar movie that our finance company that capital company won't do unless we get tax credits. just shrug their shoulders and go Yeah, sorry. So we're shooting in Oklahoma. We're shooting a movie about Texas, in Oklahoma, because Oklahoma has much better tax incentives than than Texas does. I mean, shit, to be honest. 12 Other states have better tax incentives than Texas, maybe even more. So that kind of triggered me to a point where I'm like, I just moved here. I moved to Texas from Los Angeles. And this is really going to limit the kind of work I can do it here in around my home. You know, I mean, Austin, I thought Austin was like the hub of this stuff. So I did some more research and then realize that I'm just gonna write a bill. So we are currently I created an organization called the Texas Media Coalition. And I got a whole group of friends, my business partner, Robert Hanson, we do a podcast as well actually called the arsenic show. So I'm producing that out of my house. So Robert introduced me to his friends and then his friends introduced me other friends. And then I started talking a little bit about like, Listen, why don't we just write a new bill? So over the last six months, I took about seven different states in the US did side by side comparisons to all of the of their incentives and then started pulling and picking and choosing things that might work for Texas. So and then I talked to media services or Jim and then Brian over at Media Services. He started giving me a lot of information. Chris, you should try this Gregory if you try that because He runs all the the tax credit programs around the country for media services. One of my dear friends is Kevin Beggs, who is the chairman of Lions Gate television. I wrote to Kevin, I said, Kevin, I'm trying to do this new bill for Texas. He said, Well, you should. I'll hook you up with Jimmy Barnes. He was the CFO of Lions Gate. So right now Lions Gate, I'm using their entire team as going over my whole bill to make sure it fits whatever the studios are looking for. So we are now at the point where the bill has been written. I met with the Texas film commission a week ago. They love it. They said it was the best program they've seen in years. Make sense concise, as everything she gave me some. Stephanie welling gave me some notes, I integrated the notes, send it back to them. They're reviewing it now. I have two sets of lobbyists. I have a tax expert for the state. We are meeting with Representative Todd Hunter next week to talk to him about sponsoring the bill. Along with the bill, we have something called the the media Trainee program. So Ireland, I did a movie called The Green night, I was a production executive, handling all the money in the finance making sure the producers did what they had to do correctly.

In Ireland, they have a training program I'm trying to model so it's like a two to three day bootcamp where they just they send pas out and they teach him pretty much the basics of what it's like to work on a set our program three day bootcamp is going to teach you not how to make a movie, but how to work on one. And that's a much different experience. Because then you know, a lot of people go to film school to learn how to make a movie or a TV show or a pilot or write this write that are produced that or edit that or direct that our program is meant, like, we're gonna start with accounting 101, how to fill out paperwork, you know, sexy, sexy I we took we stripped the glitz and glamour right out of the pros. And it basically is just walking around set what to say what not to say don't act like an idiot, you know, but it's a very concise three day program that we are including with the bill. So in order for the production to come in, they have to abide by the bill. Now, the difference about this bill is that we are not currently touching the $45 million grant that Texas has, we're not touching that. We're doing a two tier system. Anything 15 Million and above will flip over to us anything 15 million and below will stay with the grant system. That way that 45 million, or maybe even 90, I think the there's a group called the TX NPA, they're trying to make it 99. So they can succeed, then that 90 million will last the entire two years for anything. 50 million and above and below 50 million above, we're looking at Disney, we're looking at Apple, we're looking at Netflix, we're gonna at Warner Brothers Sony, we're looking at the studios, we want them to come here, we have a 5% bump for television series, not Films Television series, because that television series as you know, they'll keep generating the jobs, you know, you get a 10 episode 12 episode order that lasts for a year, then you get a reorder at another year, then season two, three another year. So we threw in an extra extra money for the TV guys. So all of this will build the base for Texas in order to build the foundation and have them create more of a global market. We are also partnering with producers without borders. That's a group that sprung out of the PGA. I'm a member of the Producers Guild 25 years this year. And they you know, they sprung out in order to bring producers from all around the world together. So like if if somebody in Italy needs help producing an underwater documentary, they'll call me because I'm a member of producers without borders. And that's how it all works. So we're the Texas Media Coalition is partnering with producers about borders to make Texas a more of a global hub for media production. That's the idea and we're going to continue these relationships. I met with the Houston Film Commission, Houston's on board. I'm gonna go there and lecture I'm going to do a bunch of classes for Houston. I want to do the same for Dallas, San Antonio Austin, you name it. This is a Texas initiative, not just an Austin initiative. It's a Texas initiative. That's what I've been doing for the last eight months now.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:32
That's amazing. Well, first of all, I appreciate you doing that circus as I as a production professional who just moved here as well. That's helpful to say the least. And man, thank you. I appreciate you doing that. So let's see what happens because I always wanted to look I'm from Florida. We used to have a decent one.

Chris Debiec 1:19:51
And they Florida is doing a new one. I don't know if you've heard the latest but there are some gentlemen down there that are trying to do exactly what I'm doing for the state of Texas but in Florida So I'm gonna have a call with them next week and see if I can help them with Florida.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:04
Yeah, because Georgia just took everything.

Chris Debiec 1:20:07
Georgia. So Georgia is estimating 4.4 billion in revenue out of production. California is 2.9. So that'll give you an idea what Georgia is doing.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:16
Jesus. Really? Yeah. I mean, they just went all in, they went all in, and now they have the infrastructures in there, they have crew, they got em, it's all there. Now. All there.

Chris Debiec 1:20:27
Yeah. But what we're trying to do is going, we're going to be all there eventually. But we just need to get through the legislature. And, you know, a lot of people, people, a lot of the politicians here in Texas that are very conservative, think Hollywood is a bunch of, you know, you know, dem libs, you know, that are far left wing, you know, crazy Hollywood and blah, blah, you know, what they're not, you know, there are a lot of people that are working stiffs, you know, I'm a line producer. So, below the line, there are a hell of a lot more below the line than there are above the line. So, you know, think of all the special effects the wardrobe, the grip, electric, everybody. So everything you know, and so what we're trying to do also, with the Texas Media Coalition is to educate the politicians to say, this is I'm calling it media manufacturing sector, because that's what we do. I mean, we, we, we don't make an iPhone, but our phones, what we do make is $25. And you go see at a theater, okay, or it's $100 and you pay to a streaming service. That's what we make. So we make stuff we make something so the politicians can understand where our manufacturing sector, they might actually grasp the idea of all the jobs it creates, and all the revenue it creates and et cetera, et cetera.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:45
That's awesome. And I Nana, Congrats, sir. Congrats and

Chris Debiec 1:21:50
Wait till next year. Let's see how it went

Alex Ferrari 1:21:53
I wish you nothing but the best my friend. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Chris Debiec 1:22:05
Well, be nice to everyone. Literally, because you never know that person you know that you meet is going to where they're going to be in 10 years, five years. You know, they may be you may be working with someone that's your PA. Treat them well treat him with respect, dignity. And because someday that PA is going to be the chairman of Lionsgate television. Kevin and I both met he was the assistant to Doug Schwartz at Schwartz Barnum who did fortunate and do did steal chariots and do Baywatch. So Kevin bags, who is now live chairman was the assistant to Doug and he was a school teacher before that. You never know where people are going to go and what they're going to do. So it might my best expense advice is to always be nice and respectful to everyone, no matter what position they are. Don't, don't be walked on, don't be a rug. You don't want to be mad. But you just have to respect everyone. And the other thing another piece of advice is network. Because I tell newbie I tell new people get in all you need is one job. If you get that one job and you do the right networking, somebody, excuse me, somebody from that job, we'll get you another job. Then another job, then another job and another job. Another job. Be friendly. Be nice. Be good. You know, don't talk shit about anybody. Try to avoid all the political traps that fall with human beings. Doesn't matter if you're in production or whatever industry you're in, who cares? And believe it or not, you'll find your way. Yeah, and

Alex Ferrari 1:23:44
I always when people asked me that question, I was like, just don't be a dick. Don't be don't be that's the best advice ever. Just a dick because people don't care how talented you are. Nobody wants to work with

Chris Debiec 1:23:58
I want to share I want to share one quick story. You had said to me in the beginning of this. Chris You did wardrobe you did effects you did. You worked in all these jobs. I want to tell you why. And this is the third piece of advice I will give to everyone. So while I was at Disney I was I was doing craft service for a good two years. The Muppets were coming to town. Jim Henson was making a deal with Michael Eisner. So they were doing a TV show called The Muppets at Walt Disney World. I told my bosses at Disney at the studio I said I need to work on The Muppet Show. I grew up with the Muppets. I watched them every day after school. Miss Piggy Kermit the whole thing. It was just like it was ingrained in me I need to work on that show. So that sites who was my studio boss then he said, Well, Chris, I'm gonna have you interview with Martin Baker. Martin is Jim Henson's producer. You'll be the first one. See how you do it. Okay, great. So I went in and I met with Martin Baker. He's British man lovely. On one of the He changed my life. Let's put it that way. So I tell Martin I'm on like a little jumping beat on this side. I said I'd love them up if they want to do this. I've been doing craft service, but I really don't want to do craft service anymore. I've been watching what everybody doesn't set. And they Martin says to me, Chris, where do you sell yourself in the next 10 years? And I looked at him, and I didn't have an answer. So I answered, honestly, I said, Martin, I've been only doing craft service for two years. Honestly, I really don't know. I would like more experience to try to figure that out. But I don't know. And he says, Well, that's a good answer, Chris. That's, that's, that's a truthful answer. So listen, we have 10 weeks of production. I need to hire a lot of locals. So I would like to hire you as a floater PA. I didn't know what that was, until he said, the floater PA is going to work a week, one week in every single department on this production. Because we're going to have like five of you guys that are just going to be floating around wherever we need help. We're gonna send you over to that department said Okay, great. Whatever you want. Florida is a right to work state. So even though as a union production, we were still allowed to do that. So, Martin, for 10 weeks, I worked one week in the production office one week in the camera department, Cameron batteries, backpack with camera batteries. I was in the grip department, just all I was doing was loading cable into the truck back and forth. That's it. I worked in, you know, grip I worked in I worked in all the different 10 different departments during a 10 week production. So the production is over. By the way, Jim Henson. Unbelievable one of the you imagine you met Jim, I worked with Jim Henson. Oh, yeah. Was the other famous Jim I worked with Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:40
What was okay, Jesus, Jim, I mean, Jesus Christ. How did what was it like working with Jim Henson, man?

Chris Debiec 1:26:46
So if you can imagine a spiritual guru of some sort, Jim Henson had an aura about him. He would, you know, we had one, we had one production meeting where every all the department heads don't have enough money don't have enough time. And it's TV, and it was, you know, whatever. So they're all yelling at each other. And Jim Henson walks in the room, and he literally just walks in, and he has a very pleasant smile, very tall man. And he walks in, and everybody just kind of just calms down, and you can feel the presence of this person. And he just looks at around everyone and goes, I know, we're having some issues on scheduling and budgeting and time. But what I would like to know from all us, what would you like to have for lunch today? And everybody just starts laughing. And just sit, you know, because what Jim did was he said, listen, we're going to get this done. That, you know, I have no qualms about that. But what I'd like to know is, what do you want to have for lunch? I mean, it really, it just, it puts things in perspective. So he had this whole this aura about him, that was the most, you know, Zen that you could ever meet in your entire life. And that's what I miss about working with other people. So anyway, go back tomorrow. So I'm sitting on the couch, and I'm so excited. Martin gives me that job. I work in all these departments. The end of the show, I take the director and Jim Henson to the airport, I drive them in the van to the airport. And I go back, Martin says, Well, Chris, you're you're done tomorrow. It's your last day. I've heard wonderful things about you. So what do you want to do? I mean, now that you got to see everything, what do you want to do? What do you think? So I look at Lauren, and as serious as I can, as seriously as I am, I say to my mind, I want to do what you do. And he looks at me quizzically and says, But Chris, we never spent any time together. We never you don't know what I do. I mean, I interviewed you and then sent you on your way. I said, Martin, you don't understand. Anyone that has the power to give a kid like me the break you gave. That's what I want to do. And he sat back in his chair, and he's like, interesting. And he says, I'm gonna give you an assignment, Chris, for the next 10 years of your life. I want you to do exactly what you did on this production. On every other production, you can find, I want you to work wardrobe on a TV show. I want you to work special effects on a movie, I want you to work locations on a commercial, I want you to do every single art department, I want you to do art department on fortune hunter, you don't want a series, I want you to do this, this, this and this because I didn't go to film school. I didn't really have the overall knowledge that maybe some kids out of film school do. But what I knew was I love this business. And I want to do as much in it as I possibly could. So for the next 10 years, you will look at my resume, you look at my NGP page, you'll see the things I did. I was on I did special effects on the movie The Crow. I was there when Brandon was killed. That's another podcast for another day.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:59
So I had Alex I had Alex on the show he

Chris Debiec 1:30:02
Twice.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:03
Oh yeah even had like twice on the show. He's, he's we, we talked about it for about four or five minutes. It's not something he likes to talk about.

Chris Debiec 1:30:10
It's not something I like to talk about. Exactly. Like, you know, in special effects my job, I had a sledgehammer. And my job was to walk up and down the hose lines. We were shooting in North Carolina in February, March, it was freezing weather. And I had to break the ice in the hose lines. In order for when Alex yelled, action, we would have rain. That was my only job. I've worked in special effects.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:35
Yeah, I saw I saw that I saw Yeah, you've worked on a bunch of different projects. And so

Chris Debiec 1:30:40
My advice to filmmakers, young and old, whatever, do as much as you can. And until you find the direction of the path you want to go in, after I spent that 10 years, I realized that it was truly Martin, what he did is what I wanted to do. So I went and started moving towards producing, line producing, executive producing whatever, you know, whatever I could do never really wanted to direct never really, you know, I wrote a couple of scripts, I actually won an award for a script. But I don't, I'm not gonna say I am a writer because I am not. Because I don't focus on that. But I am a producer. And that is what I love to do. And that's where my passion is. And the advice I give to anyone is, if you're a producer, you better have experience in pretty much all the other areas to be the better producer.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:27
And I'm going to just ask you one more question, sir. three of your favorite films of all time.

Chris Debiec 1:31:32
Oh, boy, cheese.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:34
Now as of right now,

Chris Debiec 1:31:36
I'm a genre guy. So for me, you know, James Bond, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig are my two favorites. So James Bond. I grew up with Spielberg and Lucas. So Star Wars, Indiana Jones, action adventure type stuff. And then I'll put James Cameron on number three on that one. Any of the gym films, terminators, the abyss? Titanic? True LA. And that's how much True Lies But True Lies.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:09
What are you talking about?

Chris Debiec 1:32:10
I'm gonna put that as one of my favorites. No, but it's fun. That was fun. Sure, sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:16
No, but it's not up there with a bit up.

Chris Debiec 1:32:18
There are many other ones. Yeah, with the other ones, you know? So yeah, I'm a genre kind of guy. And I'm a big budget guy, too. So I you know, independent, I give all the all the credit in the world to the independence man. And those are the the low budget movies are the hardest ones to work on? Absolutely. Because when you have money, you can pretty much solve whatever the problem is you're trying to deal with. But when you're trying to creatively figure out how to do this one shot and you can't afford it. That's that's when the business gets tricky.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:49
Chris man, it has been a pleasure talking to you, my friend. I can't believe I found a a fortune hunter and alumni on my journeys in life. But But man, I appreciate you, brother. And thank you for all the hard work you're doing here in Texas and teaching and sharing your knowledge with everybody. And hopefully some of these stories are not just entertaining, but hopefully they picked up a couple of things to help them along there.

Chris Debiec 1:33:13
I hope so. Listen, I'd love to you know, you can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me I have my own website, Chrisdebiec.com civilized entertainments, my production company so you can email me through civilized Gmail, and then our snake show. We also have our own website for that you can email through that.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:33
Yeah, well, I'll put all those links in the show notes, but I appreciate you brother. Thanks again for coming on the

Chris Debiec 1:33:38
You're welcome, Alex. It's been a pleasure and I love talking about this stuff as you

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Edward Burns

Writer/Director/Actor
(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)

Richard Linklater

Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)

Eric Roth
HIGHLIGHT GUESTS SML - BILLY CRYSTAL

Oscar® Winning Screenwriter
(Forrest Gump, Dune)

Emmy® Winning Writer & Actor
(City Slickers, Analyze This)

HIGHLIGHT GUESTS SML - EDGAR WRIGHT
Jason Blum

Writer/Director
(Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver)

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Get Out, Whiplash)

Chris Moore sml
HIGHLIGHT GUESTS SML - ALBERT HUGHES

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Good Will Hunting, American Pie)

Writer/Director
(Menace II Society, Book of Eli)

HIGHLIGHT GUESTS SML - EDWARD ZWICK
Marta Kauffman sml

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Last Samurai, Blood Diamond)

Emmy® Winning Writer & Showrunner
(Friends, Grace and Frankie)

Free Training of The Week

FREE LOWER - SUZANNE

How to Produce a Profitable Low Budget Feature Film

By Suzanne Lyons

Join veteran producer Suzanne Lyons as she shows you the three key secrets to produce a successful and profitable independent film.