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Michael Jackman, C’85

Executive Vice President of Post Production & Worldwide Delivery, FilmNation Entertainment

New York, NY

Psychology Major

I’ve started three different companies in the course of my career. It’s a means to taking a good idea and actually turning it into a product, or a service. I’ve always liked building things, and then when I got to build a business, I thought, “Oh. This is a really good thing to build.”

In my freshman year I was interested in exploring all kinds of subjects. When anyone asked me what my major was going to be, my answer was, “second week, second semester, sophomore year.” That’s when we had to declare our major and I wasn’t going to think about it until then. I was always comfortable with uncertainty.

I’ve done a little bit of everything for 30-something years now. Looking back on my career, you can connect the dots, but in the moment, the guiding force for me was, this looks really interesting or challenging.

I’ve done a little bit of everything for 30-something years now. Looking back on my career, you can connect the dots, but in the moment, the guiding force for me was, this looks really interesting or challenging. Of course, there were times that I took a job because I needed to make a living, but 90 percent of my choices were about, this is an interesting thing to do.

When I turned 40, I was in Gainesville, Florida and was supposed to start production on a feature film that I had been prepping for two and a half months. My kids were little, and I had been gone for 10 weeks–I would go back on weekends when I could. But Instead of starting shooting, we shut it down because an investor pulled out. I came back with a total midlife crisis. I was starting at zero and had to figure out what I was going to do.

That led me into Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I had done the budget on Eternal Sunshine for my friend Anthony Bregman, then I went to do this film down in Florida that fell apart. I came back and I called Anthony, and I said, “I’d like to post-supervision the film, if you want.” He said that he would love to have me. I had thought I was done doing post-supervision, but I needed to work. I wasn’t in a great head space when I started it, but it wound up being one of the best professional experiences of my career–just a really complex and challenging, but wonderful, project.

When I take a job, I do that job as well as I can possibly do it. That, I think, is how I’ve navigated everything I’ve done. You always put your best foot forward, and it matters, and people remember it. That’s all. — May 10, 2019 • Photo by Loraine Terrell