Entertainment Attorney Michael Donaldson boasts clients like Oliver Stone, Davis Guggenheim and Summit Entertainment. Michael also works with the up-and-comers and everyone in between. He’s the guy who goes for good people who work hard and are driven to see their dreams become a reality on screen and on the stage. He is a world of resources for the Hollywood community offering lectures, consulting and a host of books including Clearance and Copyright which has become a go-to reference guide for the entertainment industry. And in his spare time you can find Michael skiing, hiking or continuing the pursuit of his award winning work in still photography. Michael’s down-to-earth realistic approach to getting things done makes him one of Hollywood’s favorites.
What was the first job you ever had?
The first things I did to make money weren’t really jobs. I was 7 or 8, living in a small fishing village in Florida. I dug up the little Elephant Ear plants that sprouted beneath a larger plant, put them in tin cans, put the tin cans in my little red wagon, and went door to door selling them to neighbors for a quarter a piece. Everybody had way too many of these things, but they bought them anyway.
What made you pursue a career in Hollywood?
I love theater and independent film. I was raising my three daughters, so it was important that my life was as integrated as possible. Those girls went to lots of openings and workshops. They can still sing songs from musicals that never made it to Broadway.
Do you have a favorite story from the trenches?
As for specifics, lawyers never tell . . .
What is your dream job?
The one I have which is helping artists tell their stories — their way. What a joy it is to be a very small part in helping someone else realize their dream. Very few lawyers have the privilege of helping artists on the long slog that is making a film.
What or who makes you laugh?
Betty White any time she is on television or just sitting across the table at our favorite watering hole. Except watch out. Her next project is a seriously dramatic role for Hallmark.
What do you do on a typical day off?
Biking, hiking, and my newest pursuit which is walking on one of those big globes that you see in the circus. It looks so easy when they do it, but it is the best exercise for the core muscles that I have stumbled across.
What inspires you?
My kids, my clients, and my friend and client Rev. Michael Beckwith who speaks every Sunday at Agape Church which he founded about 14 years ago. And every single day, my partner at work Lisa Callif and my partner at home, Tim Kittleson.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Learn everything you can about film history, storytelling, and production. Make no film before its time. Be kind to your fellow filmmakers and support them every way you can.
If you won the lottery today, what would you be doing tomorrow?
Pretty much the same thing I am doing today.
What do you hope to be doing ten years from now?
I hope to be actively involved in the community of filmmakers in a way that contributes in a positive way to their ability to achieve their dreams. This would include more writing and teaching and advocating in court and congress on issues of importance to filmmakers.
To learn more about Michael C. Donaldson and his work visit www.donaldsoncallif.com
The Column: From the Interns to the Talent to the Financiers everyone has a dream, and everyone has a story… and that’s what Monday Morning Hollywood is all about. Subscribe to the feed or check back at glowbass.com every Monday to see who and what’s coming up next in Hollywood.