BE Conference 2019: “If it works out right, when you’re at another point in your life, they can help you,” Pascal Pictures founder says
When describing her approach to mentoring, film producer and former Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal pointed to Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw’s 1986 picture book about child rearing, “Love You Forever.”
“First, you do it because you believe in somebody, then you hope they don’t ever call you again because that means they’re doing fine. Sort of like when your kid goes to college,” she said in a conversation on Thursday with DeVon Franklin, a producer, author, preacher — and also a former mentee of Pascal’s. “You invest in people and you help them become everything they want to be and if it works out right, when you’re at another point in your life, they can help you.”
Speaking at TheWrap’s BE Conference in Santa Monica, Pascal said that mentoring was a lot like the book’s description of the full circle of parenthood, where the baby eventually grows up to take care of their parents during their elder years.
Pascal also told the BE Conference crowd of mostly young women just what she looks for when picking a mentee in whom she is investing her time.
“You find people that are better than you, who know s— you don’t know. Who say things that you don’t say, who are smarter,” she said. “When you meet someone who has that spark, who is going to make you better, you cling onto that person. Nobody does anything for anybody for no reason just to be nice, ever… You do it because you meet people that are special and who will make you better at what you do. That’s the secret to it.”
Pascal is currently the founder and CEO of Pascal Pictures, after a nine-year tenure leading Sony Pictures Entertainment. Her company made its first film in 2016 with the “Ghostbusters” reboot and more recently, she produced the Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” as well as Stephen Spielberg’s “The Post.”
Pascal named-dropped a few of those who mentored her, including film and TV producer Tony Garnett, whom she credits for getting her career off the ground. “He was the greatest person to work with ever,” she said. “We were on the periphery of the entertainment business. He taught me that the only thing that matters are writers… They became our relationships and they became the people that we worked with. I owe everything to Tony.”
She also had some advice to those in the crowd who may be looking to link up with a mentor of their own: Don’t go searching for one.
“You can’t go looking for a mentor,” she said. “What matters is that the person that you’re working for is somebody that you respect and aspire to be like. You can take a s— job for a great person.”