5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker, With Dani Menkin

“I encourage optimism and positivity. Some people have no idea what kind of things they can do if they are positive and optimistic.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dani Menkin. Dani is an internationally acclaimed, award winning writer-director, and twice Israeli Academy Award Winner. His feature and documentary films are selling worldwide including to HBO, LIONSGATE and DISNEY. Dani Menkin is a speaker and film juror at International Film Festivals around the world, as well as a film professor in universities in the U.S. Dani Menkin is also the founder of Hey Jude Productions.

Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?

I grew up in Israel and I wanted to become a soccer player. When it didn’t happen I made documentaries, sport stories… and found out that what I really love (and am good at) is making films, entertaining and (hopefully) inspiring people.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting/directing/performing career?

When I shot my feature narrative IS THAT YOU? We had a police man stop us and ask for a permit which we did not have with us. We were actually looking for a policeman character on our film so I told him, with my Israeli accent, that we will be happy to “shoot” him. He looked at me and paused… then said “you may wanna rephrase that…”. The film got a great review at the NY TIMES and is now performing successfully on AMAZON PRIME

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Following our success of ON THE MAP (purchased by LIONSGATE), I am working on a narrative feature film based on ON THE MAP, as well as a documentary on AULCIE PERRY’s life story.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I am very inspired by my characters, especially Ami, my protagonist from 39 POUNDS OF LOVE. He could not move any part of his body but with his personality, love and talent, he moved the world. At our HBO screening premiere, for the film which was shortlisted for the OSCARS, I met Miriam who became my wife. We live in LA with our two kids, 5 and 9.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Paul McCartney. He’s why I named my company HEY JUDE PRODUCTIONS, from the line “Take A Sad Song And Make It Better”. Paul loves what he does, inspires millions with his uplifting, positive music and uses his fame to spread the message of peace and kindness throughout the world.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I encourage optimism and positivity. Some people have no idea what kind of things they can do if they are positive and optimistic.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  • The filmmaking is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • You must understand business, even if you think you don’t. That’s the movie business.
  • Ego can be a good thing, if you know how to use it for the best.
  • Exercise every day. To be your best physically.
  • Meditate every morning. To be your best mentally.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

Paul McCartney! And if we can sing “HEY JUDE” it will really be … !