Making movies and TV shows a family affair

A California family physician and his son join the entertainment industry.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted Sept. 6, 2010

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Making sidelines pay

Business Pitch

Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: David C. Robinson, DO

Specialty: Family medicine.

Location: Temecula, Calif., and Los Angeles.

Company: Castlight Pictures (link) which produces movies, television shows and commercials.

Annual revenue: That varies widely. "Breaking Dawn," the company's first completed film, was distributed by Lionsgate in 2004 to 30 countries in 13 languages and made more than $1 million.

Why he started the business: About a decade ago, he and his son, Mark Edwin Robinson, started writing screenplays, and Dr. Robinson, who is in solo practice, established the firm to produce the scripts and other projects. "We will option certain properties," Dr. Robinson said. "We are not about just making my son's movies."

"Breaking Dawn" was about a medical student working with a murderous psychiatric patient. It was written and directed by the younger Robinson with Dr. Robinson as executive producer. Other projects include "Abigail's Giant," based on a Hispanic folktale about a child-stealing witch, and the reality TV show "The Aviatrix." In this program, 24 women compete for the opportunity to participate in an airplane race around the world following in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart. "The Aviatrix" has been sold three times, although it has not made it to TV screens because of liability concerns.

"I find this a very difficult but intriguing business," Dr. Robinson said. "Everything can change on a phone call."

Dr. Robinson also wrote Making Your First Film, published in June 2009. Other projects include the movie "The Levenger Tapes," which is expected to hit film festivals in 2011.

Why he keeps practicing: "I think it would be a waste to not practice medicine. In addition, I made a pact with God that, if he got me through medical school, I would work for him and practice medicine."

Words of wisdom: "You have to follow your passion. If you want to make films, make films. Raise the money and make your own films."

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