Aspiring hollywood

before the glitz & glamour


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Clips from films produced by Luciano Saber

PLACEBO EFFECT - This espionage thriller was shot on location in Chicago and had a limited theatrical release.

SCARED - This upbeat feature film was shot on the Sony lot on 35mm Kodak film.

AH! Vision


By L. Saber

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. How true is that statement?

When I started in this business back in 1994, the only thing that I had on my side was ignorance. I had no idea how difficult this business could be and I had no clue that thousands of people fail in this industry every year and every day. Dreams get shattered with every door that’s being closed and hope gets squashed with every “no” that’s being uttered by studio executives, producers, casting directors; you name it.

How lucky was I, sitting in an editing room at a Chicago post-production house, working on my self-produced, self-financed, local television show. I essentially came up with a television show idea, bought a broadcast quality camera, transformed my bedroom into a television studio with the world map as a backdrop and started hitting the pavement, looking for local sponsors. I had fourteen, 30-second spots available during the half hour show.

I thought the sky was the limit and with that in mind, I kept shooting and editing and selling commercial spots hoping that one-day I’d get noticed by the networks. The networks hadn’t called yet, but a regional television station did and I took a job as a reporter, slash, editor, slash, producer and jack of all television trades. I ended up getting an executive producer position with the same station while still reporting and carving my own path in life, to that big network sign.

In my spare time I liked to write screenplays, more of a hobby than anything else and mentioned to my coworkers that I was heading for Hollywood any day. One of my colleagues actually put me in touch with a group of people that ended up financing and working on promoting my first feature film, Placebo Effect.

I won festival awards and got a theatrical release, as well as foreign distribution. I had no fear, the thought of failure never entered my mind and I was full of hope…UNTIL; and this is an important story point; UNTIL I immersed myself in Hollywood and started hearing about all the failures. Projects that didn’t get off the ground and people, left and right were losing their money. My eyes opened wide and became aware of other people’s problems along with comments such as, “You’re nothing until you produce or write for the studios or the networks.” Those short comments reduced several years of hard work to insignificance.

My hope started diminishing and after all the success in the independent circles that I had, all of a sudden I started doubting my own future in the business. That went on for the better part of two years and although I produced several seasons of a television talk show, for the same station that had initially hired me in Chicago (now a nationally syndicated cable company) I never really made any significant headway in my own endeavors.

Goes to show how important it is to have hope, to have faith and to believe that you can accomplish anything, regardless of limitations or negative comments from other people.

If John and Larry and Lisa and Jill fail in producing or writing or acting or directing a project, that doesn’t mean your fate is the same; nor does it mean that John, Larry, Lisa and Jill will fail at other projects in the future.

I found that saying no to a project because it’s too small, or not on the network or studio radar is a huge mistake. The truth of the matter, as many of you may already know and I certainly found out, is that work, no matter how insignificant, will always lead to more work. Even if you’re inexperienced at a certain trade or skill, the more you practice the better you become, the more work you get.


Some of you may read this article and think, ‘Well, that’s fine for young people that have their lives in front of them, but not me. I’m old, I’m over the hill, Hollywood looks down on older people,’ and so on and so on. You’re probably sitting there talking yourself out of taking the next step because you feel you’re not young enough to breathe life back into your career or to start a new one.


Let me say this. If you’re breathing, the rest of your life is still in front of you. If you’re creative and passionate about something, who’d be better to go for it than you, at any age.


Here’s a short list of inspirational people that started later in life and were able to achieve great levels of success. You can get a complete list at Wikipedia.com, but here’s a short list based on the internet publication: filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira completed his first film in 1941 at the age of 33, but didn’t complete his second film until 30 years later at the age of 63. Harriet Doerr published her first novel at the age of 74, Mary Alice Fontenot the children’s book author published her first novel at 51. Danny Aiello started acting at 40, Rodney Dangerfield was 42 when he started and he apparently was a salesman until then. Zelda Rubinstein was 48 before she landed a small part in Under the Rainbow.


Call me a dreamer, but I believe and have faith in a power that is greater than all of us. A power that lies dormant within us, with the proper dedication and belief system it can be tapped into and we are propelled to become, all that we can be. Can you find that faith?


My challenge to you is to write down your dream and then have faith that it will come true. §

“When I started in this business back in 1994, the only thing that I had on my side was ignorance.”

Never Too Late!