Last week, film and television producer Michael Uslan gave an industry talk here at CofC as part of the Dorothea Benton Frank Writing Series. But to anyone who already knows of Uslan and his work, he is far more than just a producer. A comic book fanatic at heart, Uslan is the person who brought DC Comics’ Batman to life on the silver screen with Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and every other Batman film or television series released since.
If you have watched any Batman film or television series produced in the past four decades, then chances are, you’ve seen Uslan’s name in the credits. It was Michael Uslan who first committed to delivering compelling, dramatic Batman stories onscreen to audiences around the world. Batman has been a dynamic figure in American pop culture since his Detective Comics debut in 1939, and Uslan’s passion for the character developed into an unyielding creative drive to bring well-rounded depictions of Batman to life.
As a Batman comics fan myself, I jumped at the chance to hear Uslan’s personal and professional Batman journey firsthand, and it is an event I will not soon forget! His discussion about the chaotic (but ultimately revolutionary and innovative) film adaptation of DC Comics’ Swamp Thing in 1982 dove deep into the technical side of film production. A producer’s primary job, he said, is crisis management. No matter how well put-together the final product of a film may appear, it is no doubt due to the creative thinking and determination of the crew behind the scenes in spite of the many obstacles that will come about during filming. After all, he says, “There is no such thing as a problem—just creative solutions.”
What resonated the most with me as an audience member was Uslan’s insistence on being proactive and nurturing your passions. For those of us in college, we’re still finding our passions. There is always time to explore what clicks and what doesn’t, he says; but once you figure out what drives you in your personal and creative/professional development? “Don’t wait around with this false sense of entitlement thinking that the world will come to you. You gotta get up off the damn couch and go get it.”
For anyone interested in hearing more about Michael Uslan’s story, you can find his TED Talk here.
Article by Film Club officer Anna Deason