Puerto Rican-born producer Sevier Crespo sat down to talk with us about the current climate in the entertainment industry. Crespo has worked with such Hollywood heavyweights as Michael Mann and Jerry Bruckheimer, Robert Townsend, and director Sam Bayer at Ridley Scott’s RSA USA, Inc. He’s also worked with such global brands as Adidas, Coca-Cola, Nike, Marlboro, Mitsubishi, NBC, and Netflix – to name a few. More recently, he worked on “El Guardia” that premiered at Cannes in 2019, and has worked with such prominent figures as David Beckham, Kendrick Lamar, Khalid, and Mandy Moore.
What have you learned during the social injustice movement over the last couple of months?
I’ve learned that the level of injustice is pretty profound — much more than I ever thought it was. You think your best interest is being kept in mind, but it’s really not. We’ve lost track of being human beings and have gotten caught up in choosing teams or groups that really have nothing to do with being human. I feel like it’s fashionable to be morose. But what about just being kind to others? What happened to just basic human decency and doing what’s right? We’d be better off if we could focus on humanity as a species — if we could view others as our fellow human beings.
How do you feel the entertainment industry can do its part to eliminate the lack of diversity, not just in the BLM, but in other representation in Hollywood?
I think it would be great if we had more ethnically diverse content that was then created by those specific ethnicities. Let the story be told by the people living it. Hire people of diversity to tell those stories at every level, behind and in front of the camera — actors, directors, producers, interns, crew, everyone — instead of an all-white production company and all-white people telling the ethnically diverse stories. I’m a Puerto Rican who one time played a Mexican in a movie. I had no right playing that role. I’ve had the experience of producing a movie that was about Puerto Ricans that was made in Puerto Rico by Puerto Ricans. That was a powerful experience.
We are also in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Can you share with us how it has affected the entertainment industry from your perspective?
It has caused everyone to stop and regroup as a team. If we’re going to survive this, we have to restructure how everything is being done with new safety protocols so that, moving forward, we can maximize creativity, productivity, and run as efficiently and as “normally” as possible while minimizing liabilities.
You also have a couple of projects in pre- and post-production. Has the virus affected the release dates of those projects?
For sure. It has 100% affected the projects in pre-production. As of now, nothing is starting this year. The film “Secondary Effect” was scheduled for production in the fall, and it along with other projects has been moved to 2021. The film “El Guardia” was scheduled for release this year but that is being pushed. It’s been a little stressful to say the least. We just have to keep our heads up and know that this too shall pass.
How do you think the industry will evolve because of the pandemic?
I see it becoming more aware and conscious. As a producer, I see anything less than a “teamwork first” attitude not being accepted. There’s just too much at stake; we’re dealing with people’s lives and the lives of their families.
In 2013, you were an actor and a producer on Michelle Stafford’s “The Stafford Project.” Do you two have any plans on working together again or any more projects in the near future?
Michelle is awesome! We had a lot of fun on “The Stafford Project.” We don’t have anything in the works, but I could see us collaborating again in the future for sure. We’re both currently busy with our own projects. I’m working on “Secondary Effect” (previously titled “Subversion”) through my production company, The Peanut Gallery Group. Also, a great project called “Killing Class,” which will be set in Puerto Rico with a primarily Puerto Rican and Hispanic cast (in English) that is based on true events. I’m also working on a TV show set in Puerto Rico that’s like “Narcos” meets “The Wire,” based on true events.
According to your IMDB, you have three writing credits to your name (“Subversion,” “Deceived,” and “Jackers.”) Do you have anything that you are currently writing?
There’s a script I’m working on based on the true story of when I went to Puerto Rico to rescue my dad after Hurricane Maria, helped by a non-profit organization run by former military. I’m also in talks to write a film based-on-a-true-story about a famous doctor from Sri Lanka.
You have worked on numerous commercials and projects for brands such as Netflix, Adidas, NBCUniversal, UFC, Reebok, NBA, and the NFL. If you could name a couple of your favorites, what would they be and why?
Gosh, there are so many. The ones that come to mind are “The Christmas Chronicles” for Netflix and an Adidas NFL campaign. “The Christmas Chronicles” was one of the best sets I’ve ever been on. It was just mind-blowing working with the crew to coordinate everything, because of time and schedules. It was challenging, and I love a good challenge. Plus, I had never been to Canada and I just fell in love with Toronto and the people. To me they were some of the best people I’ve ever met. As for the Adidas NFL shoot, that was a beast and we had to get it done during the ESPY Awards weekend. Coordinating with talent and their other obligations was mind bending at times. We shot at the Rose Bowl, which is such a great place to be.
How do you think the commercial industry will recover post-COVID?
It’s an industry filled with a lot of smart, make-it-happen people. I’ve seen firsthand the implementation of all of the on-set protocols, while keeping client communication a high priority. There will be lot more remote viewing, and less people physically on set. I feel it will take some adjusting to, but nothing the industry can’t handle.
Originally posted on The Hype Magazine.