So, You Wanna Produce Huh?

Last weekend I watched Sunday Morning Shootout on AMC and they had a very interesting discussion with Don Cheadle about PRODUCERS. Who should get a producer credit on a film? Who should not?

They were primarily referring to Cheadle's Oscar nominated movie "Crash" and Bob Yari who put up the money. Yari wanted a producer's credit, but the Producer's Guild wouldn't allow it. There ended up being two true producers on the film and the others being co-producers, associate producers and executive producers. Don Cheadle got one of the producer credits.

It's common place in Hollywood for famous folks - especially other directors, actors or even producers to lend their name to a project to get it made. You'll find Martin Scorsese does this some. Kevin Smith also "executive produces" a lot of movies. Even "Shootouts" Peter Bart (he's editor of Variety too) was an executive producer for Jim Carey's latest movie "Fun With Dick and Jane". On the show he said he had nothing to do with it (although I believe he used to own the rights to the original script).

What does all this mean? Well, that the PRODUCER CREDIT often gets diminished. Producers do an incredible amount of work to bring a project to life - in the indie world and in Hollywood.

What does a producer do? Well...

- Finds a script they like
- Or writes (or hires it written) a script about an idea they have
- Finds financing (sometimes they actually provide the financing)
- Hires a director (in the indie world more often than not they are the director too)
- Hires the film crew
- Schedules the shoot
- Liason between investors (or studio) and director
- Manages the shoot
- Hires the post house (video editing, audio post, DI, color correction, film out, etc.)
- Manages post
- Hires graphic artists (for website, one-sheets, postcards, etc.)
- Approves artwork
- Enters film festivals
- Manages entire project

Most of these are general items - they all have detailed layers that go within them. It's a heckuva lot of work to produce a feature film (or even a short film).

So, when "producer credits" are just handed out it makes some folks mad, and rightly so in my opinion. But I'm talking PRODUCER - not the other forms of the credit...

I'm not against the "Scorsese" (and the like) executive producer credit. I did that myself with my latest film "Killing Down". I have Sheree J. Wilson as an executive producer. This was part of her deal and helped us get the movie made. I also think executive producer applies to money folks. Give them that credit - or a co-producer credit. There's also of course the dreaded associate producer credit (it's mainly dreaded in Hollywood). People like to be recognized for their contribution. Just make sure the credit fits what they brought to the table.

Really credits are more important (or at least they think they are) in Hollywood. About half the indie films you see have one person listed in pretty much every job. But I do think it's a valid point not to diminish the PRODUCER credit by giving it to your best friend's mom because she loaned you the family's 1971 Falcon to crash in your movie.

Now I've got to go finishes producing my darn movie (yeah, I am PRODUCING). :)

-Blake (Producer, Director, Editor and Various Other Credits)


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network JTS.tv - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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