York native Neal Dodson was sitting three rows behind Meryl Streep at the 2011 Oscars when she won best actress for "The Iron Lady."
Nestled in the center of the aisle -- a spot reserved for non-nominees -- Dodson bumped elbows with the likes of Bradley Cooper, Martin Scorsese and Angelina Jolie, he said.
Then he ended the night at Madonna's 4 a.m. after-party in the Hollywood hills.
"And of course, the next day you go back to paying your electric bill, feeding your dogs and brushing your teeth," said Dodson, 35. "It's a real back-and-forth."
The Los Angeles-based producer is a Manchester Township native and 1996
Central York High School graduate. And now, of course, he's making movies.
His latest: An open-sea epic starring Robert Redford that hit big-city theaters at the end of October.
The movie: The film was an adventure from the start, Dodson said. With Redford as its only actor and almost no dialogue, he said, the film was bold -- even on paper.
When writer J.C. Chandor handed him the screenplay, which was about 30 pages long instead of the usual 120 or so, Dodson asked when he'd receive the rest of it, he said.
It was scary for half a second, then exhilarating, Dodson said.
"There was no guarantee that it was going to work or that people were gonna love it," he said.
But it appears they do: The film is rated 94 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, a film-review site. It has gotten a positive critical response across the board, including a 10-minute standing ovation at the Cannes International Music Festival, Dodson said.
"Needless to say, it's enormously flattering," he said.
And Redford signed on almost immediately, Dodson said. The established actor, who was 75 while shooting the film in Mexico, performed all his own stunts and endured many hard days in wet clothes, he said.
At the end of the day, he and the crew would be ready to get tacos and have a drink, Dodson said.
"He's been very, very generous to me," he said of Redford. "We've had a great time. He's a great guy."
The movie continues its release in theaters across the country and will make its way to the York area in a few weeks, Dodson said. After it wraps up in theaters in early spring, it's on to DVDs, Netflix, iTunes and HBO.
Dodson will also come to York College in February for a film showing and Q&A session, he said.
Living the dream: Growing up in York, Dodson acted in plays at Central, York Little Theatre and various theater camps.
He left to go to college at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he majored in drama. In fact, acting was his original passion, until he was 26 and took a job working for a producer at Warner Bros.
Working in the different parts of the business has been a great background for him as a producer, Dodson said.
"In a weird way, I feel that I was always meant to do this," he said. "It's been quite a ride."
He now has his own production company, Before the Door Pictures, which has now released four feature-length films, including "Margin Call," which earned an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay last year.
"We're not rolling in money, but we get to make these movies that we passionately believe in," he said.
And the 2 1/2 years "All Is Lost" has been in production have proven to be quite the adventure, Dodson said.
"It was a pretty amazing experience," he said. "I'm very lucky to have had it."
--Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.