Chip White is originally from the shores of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and is the younger brother of Wheel of Fortune’s famous letter-turner Vanna White. He has over 30 years experience in the film, TV and video business. Chip moved to Los Angeles in the early 80s and spent the next 20 years working for some of Hollywood’s biggest companies, including King World, Sony, MTV, Vh1, Nickelodeon, and Discovery. In 2005 Chip relocated back to the Carolinas where his interest in films was revived. Here he continues to produce and develop projects under the Stack 3 Productions banner.
Who do you look up to as a film maker?
As a filmmaker and movie fan I can’t really pick on person or genre of films that are my favorites. But I’ve always admired The Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Paul Rodriquez and Mel Brooks among many others. I would like to work with Jon Favreau on a film like Chef or Swingers vs one of his blockbusters.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy about making films is watching the audience reaction when they see our films the first time. Did we get an audible response when we were shooting for it, did the audience cry or cheer or laugh? And when they do respond the way hoped, when we hoped, that makes it all worthwhile. Since I often have many jobs on a film I’ll start with acting. Acting is probably my favorite on set job because to me it’s the easiest and when the director is happy with my performance I’m fulfilled as an artist. As for the Producer hat, I really like it when the director has a request that’s a tough get, whether it’s a named actor, challenging location, etc… and I’m able to land the actor or secure the location. It’s awesome to me to be able to say to the director yep so and so is onboard or we are cleared to shoot at the amazing location you requested. Saying to the director, let me see what I can do vs saying no without even trying is what any good producer is about.
How did you get started in film making?
I started in the early 80s in Los Angeles researching a film that was to be like the cult classic Faces of Death, years before FoD came out. Then ended up back in SC for a couple of years before heading back to LA. But I really got into filmmaking through television. I spent close to 20 year in LA working in TV. Upon returning to LA I went to work for my sister Vanna. From there it was King World, Inside Edition, VH1 Behind the music, Nickelodeon’s Snick House and some reality shows including American Chopper. It wasn’t until I moved to Charlotte and was working at SPEED and meet Shea Sizemore that my desire for film work was once again sparked. Shea asked me to VO a scene in a short he had made, and from there our partnership in films has grown, to include the shorts Amendments of a Trash man, A Chess Player, My Luchador, Crab Trap, and the INSP features Heritage Falls and County Line.
Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
Filmmaking was slow start for me I didn’t really give it a fair run until my very early 50s. So let’s see…well, five to ten years from now holds a different future than I would have guessed 20 years ago. I’ll be in my 60s and I hope to see myself more in an Executive Producer role working full time on features and doing shorts as a passion to help young filmmakers start their careers. My goal for the next 10 years is to produce at least 6 features and most important, get paid for producing them. Oh yeah and win the Oscar for Best Picture with Shea Sizemore and Brent Christy. We’ll win for a surprise breakout sleeper indie film.
What’s your message to the youth of today’s generation?
For today’s generation my advice is, if you want to be in films, learn business, go to school for accounting and business, then PA, intern, get coffee, anything you can, on films for learning experience. Hands on from people working in the business everyday, not necessarily in a class room. It’s called Show Business for a reason, it’s all related to making a profit. Build your team from the start, if you’re the writer find a director you like to work with, who’s style you like, find that producer that can make it happen, tie yourself to that up and coming actor that makes your characters come alive. That applies to any of the mentions positions. Be kind to everyone working with you and you’ll always have a great team willing to go the extra mile for your film. Then as an actor, writer, director or producer find great stories. The story wins over flash every time. Maybe not always in box offices dollars, but in peoples hearts the story is the winner. A great story is key to success.