Interview Series | An Interview w/ Dan Lin

Dan Lin and Lionel Wigram 
Dan Lin is a man with many titles. You can call him a Producer. Or, CEO of a filmed entertainment production company. A family man. And he also happens to be Asian American. Thanks to the good people at IW Group, I had the unique opportunity to join in on a phone interview w/ Dan Lin and learn more about him: how he got into movies, talking shop about his daily life as a producer, Asian Americans in entertainment, and even a couple of spoilers for the upcoming movie – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Check it out. This is what I learned from, and about, the man – Dan Lin. Hope you enJoi:

His Background

Dan Lin received his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He was an intern for Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who was at the time, President at Warner Bros. That later lead to Dan Lin, the Executive Producer. Then, Creative Executive. He also served as Senior Vice President of Production for Warner Bros. Pictures. Dan Lin now wears the hat as CEO ofLin Pictures and is a Producer w/ a lot of great film titles under his belt and in the wings.

Dan Lin is also very active in the film and Asian American communities. Currently, he mentors for the Producer’s Guild of America and CAAM – the Center for Asian American Media. He also serves on the Board of Directors for CAPE – the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment.

Daily Life as a Producer

Drawing from his MBA background, the best way he describes the job duties of a Producer, in terms of film, is “…the Director is like the CEO of a company and the Producer is the COO.” While the Director develops the vision for the film, bringing his vision to life; the Producer ensures that the Director’s vision is fulfilled from beginning to end. To ensure that the vision is fulfilled, all film projects under Lin Pictures must meet certain criteria for their niche:

  • Hero call to Action
  • The Hero enters New World
  • Aspirations

By having a clear vision, both Director and Producer can come together to create a masterpiece.

Asians in Mainstream Entertainment

Asian Americans have made quite an impact recently now more than ever. Directors like Justin Lin (Fast Five,Better Luck Tomorrow), Actors/Actresses like: Daniel Dae Kim, Maggie Q, Masi Oka, Lynn Chen, and the list is favorably increasing – all contribute to making an Asian American presence known in mainstream America.

And let’s not forget the internet! More and more Asian Americans are embracing sites like YouTube to showcase their talent to a wider audience, amassing fans that have propelled them to reach celebrity status.

To me, one thing is clear: Sure, Asian Americans are making an impact. That’s why I make my list every year. But its worth noting that all of them have a sincere passion for the work, and that is what makes them successful. The fact that they are Asian American is a pleasant afterthought.

Upcoming Projects

Dan Lin has a few projects in the works: Gangster Squad – a chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s, starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone; Lego,MosesThe Bodyguard, and more are in development. And let’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows(premiering tonight!).

Scoop on Sherlock Holmes 2

I asked Dan Lin if he would give us a few spoilers on Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows to no avail, but he did say this: fans of the book series will enjoy the easter eggs that have been sprinkled throughout the movie. So be on the lookout!

Engaging the Audience: Catering to both a Western/Asian Audience

The best way to engage a Western (U.S) audience and an Asian audience is to touch upon movies that carry aUniversal Message. Friendship and Love are two perfect examples.

Words of Advice

As the interview came to its end (already?!) Jocelyn of 8Asians asked what advice he would like to give to others, in which he replied, “Follow your passion.”

Well said, my man. Well said.

For more on Dan Lin

Lin Pictures

Just wanted to send a special THANK YOU to IW Group, Inc. for making all of this possible! Really appreciate you reaching out! I’ve learned a lot!

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