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What's the Deal with 'Project Greenlight' Director Jason Mann?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 4, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 4, 2015 |

We’ve had four episodes now to spend with Project Greenlight director Jason Mann, and so far, all we really know about him is that he is challenging to work with and obstinate as hell. Are we supposed to respect that he sticks to his guns, or are we as frustrated, along with the producers, that he absolutely refuses to compromise?

That refusal to compromise has seen Mann do end-arounds of his more experienced producers (Effie Brown and Marc Joubert) and even his location scout. The gamble paid off on the film/digital question, as Mann managed to convince Ben Affleck to chip in $100,000 toward the cost (while Matt Damon and HBO picked up the rest of the $200,000 tab).

It was shitty move, and one in which Affleck undermined his own producer, Effie Brown, and to what end? It may bring some comfort to Mann, but how many viewers of an HBO movie are going to care? How many even notice? How many people even realize that The Walking Dead is shot on film while Fear the Walking Dead is digital? That Breaking Bad was shot on film, but that Better Call Saul is digital? And when we’re talking about a low-budget film that I believe is going to be released straight to HBO, how important is that aesthetic?

In switching to film, we also find out that Mann will give up an extra two days of shooting to offset the cost, and given the time crunch on a small film like this, is that wise? He’s asking a lot of his crew, and Mann hasn’t exactly proven to be the kind of person people are going to rally around.

The question still remains, is Jason Mann any good? Or did Affleck and Damon pick him because he’s a recipe for drama?

Maybe both.

Here’s the 14-minute short that this season’s Project Greenlight movie is based upon.

The Leisure Class from Hakker Shorts on Vimeo.

Here’s the three minute short he submitted to the Project Greenlight competition.

Delicacy (dir. Jason Mann) from Cinematographer on Vimeo.

Here’s the full version, from which Mann apparently cut out three minutes.

He’s a good director. That’s fairly obvious from his work. As a person, however, he’s a pain in the ass. It’s hard to get past the same art-school pretension that Peter Farrelly disliked in Mann that many of us also find off-putting. I like that he’s fighting for the resources he needs to make a better film; I hate that he seems to feel entitled to those resources.

Plus, I never trust a person who refuses to drink coffee.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.