Publish Or Perish – named after a lingo from academia that’s more of an ultimatum for researchers and teachers. Either keep publishing original research or risk perishing their career and losing professorship. It’s a phrase that defines years of extended research that professors submit to receive the prestigious career reward – TENURE. Publish Or Perish is about tenure, yes.
But it’s a more twisted, eerie, humorous, and dark-comedic take on a professor’s ambition to achieve the most prominent status in his profession that takes him down an unprecedented and daunting path of crime and bloodshed. It has its comedic turns and a fair share of enticing drama that blends thrill with laughter.
To discuss how Publish Or Perish is about, I sat with producer Jonathan Miller for a conversation. Talking about his learning curves during the production process, Jonathan shared his journey as a first-time producer and the incorporation of his business expertise in his new and highly creative experience.
“…there was this business side, which I figured out quickly, and was there to experience the creative side of it.”
Jonathan, this is your first feature film as a producer. I’d like to begin by asking how it feels to venture into filmmaking and production after years of professional involvement in financial and investment services.
It has been really fascinating. Just to put it out, I am not leaving financial stuff. The company I own has fortunately been excelling at its core; we’ve been topping charts in the Financial Times as the fastest-growing company in the business, though I need to figure out how those stats work (laughs). However, the success gave me a lot of bandwidth and freedom to explore diverse options regarding what I wanted to do. What served me well is that I have done a lot of writing in business for papers, and that way, I have been creative. Filmmaking always interested me, just not to the point where I could imagine executing a film project on any decent scale. But again, the company’s success gave me time to give it a thought. I realized that I have always loved telling stories. So, I decided that I was not going to wait any further. I had made the money to venture into this industry, and I went right for it.
How challenging was it to indulge in film production and gather fresh insights into a totally different profession than what you’ve been a part of for a larger part of your life?
Initially, of course, I had no idea what a producer does. So, I started doing my research. I learned what areas of work a film producer must know to deal with, which, I figured, were scattered throughout different departments. But, the more I learned about it, the more familiar I felt being a part of the process. In the investment business, we develop projects, sell, and curate deals with investors. There are a lot of similarities between these two ecosystems on the commerce front. I remember telling my wife, “Honey, I have never come across anything that aligns so closely with my skills.” So there was this business side, which I figured out quickly, and was there to experience the creative side of it. But honestly, navigating the finances in what I wanted to be entirely a creative venture got me thinking – “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”