Michael Doven – CEO of United Pictures Group

Willingness to be uncomfortable to get a task done, willingness to stay up late and get up early to see something through and deliver the goods.

As the CEO of United Pictures Group, Michael Doven is able to draw on over a quarter-century of experience in the film industry. In addition to his extensive work as an associate producer on countless projects starring Tom Cruise that include “The Last Samurai”, “Mission Impossible” and “Minority Report,” Mr. Doven has also had the opportunity to learn the art of filmmaking from some of the most highly regarded auteurs in the history of film, including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Stanley Kubrick and Sydney Pollack.
Raised in Colorado, Mr. Doven’s interest and passion for film began at an early age as he had a seemingly unquenchable thirst for film that spanned an incredibly broad range of genres. As a teenager, Mr. Doven became deeply interested in every aspect of filmmaking and resolved to seek out a career in the film industry with the intention of earning an opportunity to contribute creatively to the art form. After over 25 years in the industry, it has become quite clear that Mr. Doven’s early aspirations have been realized in a particularly meaningful way.

Mr. Doven credits his experience working so closely with Tom Cruise as a critical component leading to his track record of success in his current professional responsibilities. In his role as CEO of United Pictures Group, Mr. Doven has produced several films — “The Squeeze,” and “In Search of Fellini,” among a number of additional projects — and has many others currently in varying stages of production. With the support of his wife Andrea and his son Lance, Mr. Doven has enjoyed tremendous satisfaction with United Pictures Group while overseeing the creative aspects of production in addition to finance and distribution.

Where did the idea for United Pictures Group come from?

After years in the industry helping others get their films realized and made and into public hands, I realized I have a passion and skill for doing this for many filmmakers. I worked with so many over the years and noticed that nearly all of them struggled with film financing and distribution. They had difficulty raising funds and getting fair distribution deals as well as confronting the legal rudiments and contracts of the industry. I set out to master this area so that I could help them get their films made. Along the way, I noticed I could also help the financiers and the distributors get more of what they wanted as well.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I hit the gym early and get the body going, throw some good protein in it and hit the emails, phone calls, and meetings. I plan out the priorities and confront getting each one to a done. I usually have most of the deskwork done by midday so I can take meetings through the afternoon before getting back to the desk in the late afternoon and evening. Not at all uncommon to be working till past midnight several days a week when things are really cooking. I love it.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I get excited about them and throw them up on dry erase boards as I flesh them out and explore the main thoughts and concepts. The more I work on them, the more life they have. Then I start communicating them to others and getting agreement, they come to life. They only have as much life or survival as I put in.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Crowdsourcing for sure but also, the changing consumption of entertainment by our youth, in particular, provide some remarkable opportunities.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Willingness to be uncomfortable to get a task done, willingness to stay up late and get up early to see something through and deliver the goods.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

No job I ever had was the worst. Each life experience was the best I knew to do at the time in order to accomplish some goal. I have learned valuable things in every job I have ever done.

 If you were to start again what would you do differently?

I would start my filmmaking career much younger, get into the business earlier at any level to learn and become a writer as well.

As an entrepreneur what is one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Aim way higher than you think you should and expect and plan to work 10 times harder than you think you should (or is fair) and expect and plan it to take 10 times longer than you would like it to and cost you far more than your wildest dreams. And yet…believe and persist and endure and expand. Fight like hell for it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Aim high and never settle for thinking it is good enough. Good is the death of great. How to grow a business? Have a great purpose and plan and build it brick by brick with long-term planning in mind.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

I had many deals not work out and “fail”. The answer is to get more going so it does not matter if a few don’t work.

What is one business idea that you are willing to give away to our readers?

Invent Jarvis (like in Ironman) and have it access and analyze all data on movies and finances and create amazing stories and entertainment that will shift mankind toward higher planes of existence and enlightenment.

What is the best $100 you spent? What and Why?

Money can be viewed as an investment. Every 100 dollars “spent” is actually invested in something. Could be food, gas, entertainment, education, charity, communications, experience, gifts, etc. In return for the investment, in exchange, you often get something like a fed body, a communication, an experience, an education, an emotion or goods or services back that you value. The best $100 for me is the next one I am going to invest.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Apple and its interface of contacts (address book), Calendar and iCloud Drive. I can do unlimited notes in the notes section under any person’s contact info (and on the calendar), which really helps me remember names and meeting points.

What is the one book you recommend our community should read and why?

“The 10X Rule” by Grant Cardone (audiobook or hardback) will absolutely tell you with no pulled punches what it will take to win at any game or business.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Galileo, Will Durant, and all the philosophers, writers and artists through time who sought to understand spirituality and the relationship of man to himself and others and sought as well to increase understanding and create greater cultures.