15 Things Every Producer Should Know

So much of what I learned at the Produced By Conference (presented by the Producers Guild of America) is extremely useful to producers and filmmakers at every level. Over two days, numerous panels featured seasoned producers, celebrities, CEOs, and industry professionals discussing the latest trends and offering advice for navigating film, television, and web production.

On any level of production, producers deal with similar issues, have a lot of the same questions, and each has their own style for problem solving. With new technologies and ever-changing film production resources, a conference like this is beyond valuable for staying on top.

Here were the top 15 takeaways:

  1. ARM YOURSELF WITH INFORMATION

As a producer you need to be able to speak to people. You need to establish trust, be kind, be central in the process so your crew will respect and listen to you. A key part of producing is diplomacy. In many ways, producers have to be politicians. I personally like to think of the director as the General and the producer as the President and we’re at war to make this movie! Choose your battles and learn as much as you can. Make sure to learn from other producer’s experiences and always trust your gut.

Also, when arming yourself with information, stay on top of what’s happening in all aspects of the production world. The latest in film financing incentives, film legislation, new technologies, trends, similar movies (past and present) to what you’re working on now, cultural relevance…absorb as much as possible. When you want to keep learning, that’s also when you know you’re doing you truly love.

This is from a panel that included Ian Bryce, producer of Transformers and World War Z; Tracey Edmonds, producer of Jumping The Broom and “With This Ring”; John Heinsen, CEO of Bunnygraph Entertainment; Stu Levy, producer of Priest and Pray for Japan; Gary Lucchesi, President of PGA and producer of The Lincoln Lawyer and The Age of Adaline; and Lori McCreary producer of Invictus and “Madam Secretary.”

  1. INCENTIVES ARE KEY FOR FINANCING

When financing and packaging a film, it’s critical to have some sort of incentive offered by a state or country to attract production and boost a local economy. Creative is the most important when dictating where to shoot the film or series but having some sort of tax incentive is a must. The balance is backing creative into the tax incentive options. Deborah Wettstein of Indian Paintbrush tells the story about how because of the German tax incentives, Wes Anderson explored a region he wasn’t thinking about and found the abandoned department store that became The Grand Budapest Hotel…

Check out the rest of this gem written by the lovely Laura Boersma for MovieMaker.com.