Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Producer Program: Episode 1

NYC Media is part of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment. It is the official TV, radio and online network of New York City, informing, educating and entertaining New Yorkers about the City's diverse people and neighborhoods, government, services, attractions and activities.
   Part of their work is a six-episode series called "The Producer's Program," which features a multitude of different Hollywood producers covering different facets of producing. Here's episode 1.
   (Note: There are two irritating ads at the start. Fast forward to about 1 minute 17 to skip.)


4 comments:

Kathy Smart said...

What is a producer?
• Somebody who comes up with an idea and then has to figure out how to do it
• Somebody who buys or develops material, hires a director, finds a financier, whether it’s a studio or independent
• Decide the amount of money it’s going to take to make the movie, how the money’s going to be spent, where the money’s going to come from
• Get the movie stars, assemble the crew, go on location
• Oversee the production, over see the post production, get involved in setting up the distribution and marketing of the film
• Take ideas all the way through to release
• Move things to the next step
• Omnivorous set of skills
• Part psychologist, part deal-maker, part motivational speaker, part hard-ass
• Investment banker, businessman, creative
• Decides something should be movie/TV show, does everything possible to produce it
• Making a movie is jumping off a cliff with a budget and a script and you have to get everything landed with a parachute by the end or you’re in trouble
• If you were building a house, the producer would be the contractor
• A producer is a traffic cop, gets a lot of different people together and looking in the right direction
• A producer is like the conductor of an orchestra
• A producer is like a real-estate developer creating a movie instead of a shopping centre or condominium
• A producer bears the ultimate responsibility for the movie or TV show
• There are different kinds of producers
o Generate their own material
o Help put studio property together
o Line producers do the physical production of the movie
o Line producer is the nuts and bolts guy who hires people that bring lighting, sound, transportation, responsible for budget
o Executive producer who gets credit but is not so involved
o Producer who have developed/found material, got it going, found director, put whole thing together and made the movie
• TV producing has changed a lot due to cable and Discovery Channel. 4-5 people to sell ideas to. Now cable has 500 channels and 30-40 buyers for particular producer.

Kathy Smart said...

How do you become a producer?
• As many producers as there are, there are that many paths to becoming a producer. Everyone comes with unique skills and unique hopes and desires.
o (Current) dean of university was persuaded he could change the world through movie making
o Man picked up his first movie camera at 11 years of age and persuaded father to give him film. Was being writer and director. Directors must have singular focus and concentrate on one story for over a year. Producers get to tell many different stories and deal with many different creative elements and people in the course of a day.
o US free style ski started doing ski movies and acted. Learned finance and deal making in family real estate business.
o Worked in textile business but liked TV, films, literature and dealing with ideas and words
o Always wanted to be a producer. Training program in William Morris a month after graduated college
o Child of the film business. Parents making documentary film style shorts, involved in movies and movie world. Wanted to make spells with cameras.

Kathy Smart said...

Pieces of the Puzzle
o To make a film you have to have a lot of departments
o Sound
o Lighting
o Make-up
o Hair
o Wardrobe
o Set (production designer)
o Editing
o Marketing
o Music
o Sound
o Noises all around
o Cast
o Director
o Writers
o Producer
o Casting director
o Production
 Assistant director
 Unit production managers
o Grips
o Electric
o Production design
o Art direction
o Construction
o Set design
o Strike (tearing down the sets)
o Transportation
o Cinematography
 Cinematographer
 Gaffer (lighting)
 Camera operator
 People moving things around
• Electricians
• Camera department
o Props
o Writer, director (maestro), production designer to design the look of the picture, costume designer including hair and make-up, director of photography who is responsible for the visual look of the picture, visual effects (VFX) supervisor, music composer, line producer to break down the scenes and figure out of a shooting schedule, figure out the costs and contain them
o Post production
 Visual effects (half the entire budget)
 Editing
• Regular editing
• VFX editing
 Storytellers
 Composers, musicians
 Sound effects
 3D, adding $10m to budget
o Marketing $20m-100m
o Networks will pay
 Top end: $500-600,000 per hour
 Mid range such as Discovery Channel $300-500,000 per episode
 Low end / low budget / D1 audio networks
o Must be sure they can sell show to given range. Then reverse engineer budget for that range.

Kathy Smart said...

The film making process
o Producer can be on film for long time before director is on it. This particular producer bought book, hired writers, ended up writing screenplay himself, finding investors and subsidies then hired director. Now hiring key technical staff. Shoot movie in April, will be in theatres 2015. Will have spent 11 years on it by the time it reaches the screen. Director will have spent 3 years.
o Movies come together differently each time. May start with IP. Studio owns movie, decide to remake. Build movie around release date. Hire right director.
o Remakes of old films, foreign films
o Buy rights to book, develop script, get director, start casting, start budget, get distribution, start making movie
o Sources of movie can be comic book, novel, real events. Most common is original screenplay. Producer starts with idea. Find story, research story, get script written, get studio on board to finance it
o Co-production deals with other countries so get incentives from those countries, pairing up production companies from each country.

Who gets producer credit
o Several companies provide financing and want credit. Companies that work on it want credit. Managers also want their companies to be credited as well.
o Multiple production companies are on a lot of pictures because that’s how a picture gets made. They might not have done anything except provided a major director or actor.
o Whoever puts up money becomes credited as a producer.
o Academy and Producer’s Guild will now only acknowledge 3 producers.
o Credits negotiated/fudged in the past and now PGA is trying to clarify who had significant impact on picture. Not just money or rights but significant role in making of picture itself.
o If your name is going to be on the poster you should have done the work to get there.