John Luessenhop harbored a lifelong dream of becoming a director and even enrolled in the prestigious film programs at NYU and UCLA but met with enough bad luck to push aside his dreams to pursue a more stable career as a lawyer. Just as he was about to make partner, though, Luessenhop realized film was still his passion so he quit his high-paying job, moved to Los Angeles, and started writing his first short film, "Tick, Tick, Tick," which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 1994. The piece attracted enough attention to land Luessenhop the occasional TV directing job, which led to his 2000 debut feature film "Lockdown." The movie, about a college dropout (Richard T. Jones) who returns to school only to have his friends' criminal lifestyles land him in jail, received a limited theatrical release and spawned the idea for his second project, the heist thriller "Takers." With a script and cast in place, Luessenhop was on the verge of beginning production when his son fell seriously ill. After taking several years off to care for him, Luessenhop resumed production on the film, about a gang of professional bank robbers talked into pulling off one last job, which was released in 2010 to modest box-office success.