I am 4:59 Productions and they are me.
My name is Ben Szwabowski. I am the creator of 4:59 Productions.
While young and in college, I realized I never thought about creating an alias for my work. We all see those interesting names listing off at the beginning of films. Some are iconic, some you will only see once. I knew I needed one. A brand that would be the header for all of my films. It would take time for me to realize in more depth what a production company is.
I came to the name while rushing for a deadline. It defined me at that moment in my life; too much to do and not enough time. The youth in me was rushing to get a film completed, '4:59' represented one minute to being late. As if me finishing five minutes late made it any less of a film.
I came to realize as I have gotten older that I still feel there is not enough time for everything, but in a different sense. There is no longer a due date, but there is limited time for me to succeed. A film no matter the size is a massive undertaking. I thought I could be a writer/director that found a producer that would be sold on my stories and ideas, would invest their money and equipment and everything would be great.
I sadly would be waiting forever.
Anyone that has ever created art, in elementary school or as a career, knows full well making art is just projecting an idea you have to a medium. The problem isn't finding people to invest in you. Great salespeople have existed since the beginning of civilized societies. The problem is finding people to be invested in your ideas.
My ideas are large and far reaching. I have a personal affinity for philosophy and emotionalism. I want to think deeply and I want to push those around me to think more about everything they run into. My ideas are not simple, not cookie-cutter, and ask more of the audience than most easily marketable pictures.
Realizing I wouldn't find my equivalent of a white knight riding in to give me equipment and assistants to help me create my dream, I learned that I need to tangle my desires with those of others. To find people out there that want to hone their craft by doing, then all together learn something becoming better artists from it while pushing each other forward.
As a writer/director I need to surround myself generally with a Director of Photography, Producers, PAs, etc. I have learned since that I can be all of those things and find people to help - learning what they don't know and teaching me what they do.
What I desire to do with this production company is to utilize those around me that have a common goal of expanding their ability while creating a visual story that affects them in some way. I have no desire to change a story arc because someone with money is willing to support the production, but wants to be able to market it to a wider audience. If the audience of my pictures are small then so be it.
I hope though with the large, sweeping ideals that I focus on with my story telling all who watch the films we create will be able to take something. There doesn't need to be a simplification for those watching, or less of something because a certain demographic will be primarily watching. Increasing the desire of those in this world to question more about their reality and learn more about what they want from their lives.
These will not be films that only the artistically intelligent will understand. They will be films that you want to watch again and again to understand more each time.
One day I hope to be able to work on set, helping another person create their story that needs to be told. With time will come connections and more people that are interested in working towards our common goal. With that will come more availability for projects to be created. There will be a point I can split my own personal work from this company to allow for many more voices, but at the point of start-up we will be joined at the hip.
I hope you all can enjoy the work I do with the help of those around me and I am always happy to hear feedback. I'm not out against the world or even a segment of it - just out to push everyone to learn more about what is happening around them internally or externally.