Producer Of All Things
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Ohio, I'de like you to introduce yourself. Would like to know your thoughts and feedback on my blog :)
WHERE DO YOU FIND A STORY?
"My attitude is ‘Am I interested, entertained, involved, moved?’ My assumption is that if I’m reacting that way, then other people will too. How many other people? Who knows?” Curtis Hanson
So I’ve been looking for a writer to write a story I have in mind for my first feature (to be delivered for 2020) Yes. It’s big. Very big. International Big.
After putting a couple of postings, I have had some submissions by writers, scripts and so on. While reading some that I find to be good, and others I never made it past the first page, I thought to myself ‘How do I know what is a good story? How do I know if this is a HIT?” I went to read this new chapter in Turmans book & it helped a lot, none the less, I think one develops a good sense for an excellent script after having read dozens and dozens of them. That way, you can differentiate good dialogue, good flow, attractive characters, and most importantly, you understand what better engages an audience into a story.
Here are a couple of pointers from Turman’s book;
“You must be true to yourself. Even if you have a demon inside of you, you must be true to that demon” Federico Fellini
- Hitting the books; Inspiration from novels
- Know our history; Inspiration from the past
- Use your imagination; Harvesting your own ideas
- Friends and family; Inspirations from family life
- Read the headlines: Inspiration from the news
- On stage; Inspiration from theater
- Film scripts; sorting through the slush
“If you want to be a producer, you need to recognize a story. It’s always been that way. There is no secret about it. You can get something out of a drugstore library.” David Brown
“Truth be told, the more mainstream your taste, the greater chances of success – Yours and your films”
“What is it about this story that people are suppose to want to see? Because we’re all in the business o giving pleasure.” Bill Goldman
Tune in again for the next chapter….
I have found this book " So you want to be a Producer" to be inspiring. Since I stated reading it (might I add, I’m not even half way through), I landed two interviews with well established production companies. What it did for me was to step back and analyze how I’m approaching this industry.
“I would do my homework so that if I ever had the chance encounter or create that opportunity, I really did know what Larry Turman or Mel Brooks did. So when I got the minute with whomever, they were impressed with me because I knew something about them. I had an understanding beyond just ‘ You are a power player. I need you’ I was very, very persistent. I learnt to, with dignity, sublimate myself to assistants, to do whatever it took to get to the artist” Brian Grazer
Knowledge is power, power is opportunity, opportunity is growth, growth is reaching your goal and beyond. So I started doing more in depth researching and learning more than what is on the surface about the key players in the field I’m tackling.
“The greater number of people you know, the wider you can cast your net, and the better your odds. Just as if you were develop a single movie project, it becomes do or die, whereas if you work on half a dozen, maybe even a dozen, the odds do up that you will actually produce one of them”
I applied to over 40 positions at main production houses, I received two call backs.
“Luck is putting out buckets so if it rains you catch the water” Attribute to Vince Lombardi
So it’s all about creating your own luck.
“The old saw is true: Luck favors the well-prepared. In plain language, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’. In my experience, most smart hard working people modestly attribute their success to luck. On the other hand, those who have been blessed with more luck than talent are the very ones who volunteer to everybody within earshot how smart they are.”
“David Ward was a starving writer driving an old wreck on Sunset boulevard in the rain, when a car in front stopped suddenly and he ran right into the back of this Mercedes. The guy jumps out, furious, and after arguing a bit, the guy asks for David’s insurance. David says, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have insurance’ The guy asks him how he was going to pay, David said ‘I guess I’m not’. The guy asked if he had anything to give. David went to the trunk of his car, got out a screenplay-only one he had written, Steelyard Blues, and handed it to the guy. The guy turned out to be an agent, who read it that night, and sold it the next day to producers Tony Bills, Michael and Julia Phillips. Not only did they produce it, but they produced his next academy award winning The Sting. Everybody I know had some sort of break like that. But that’s the classic one.”
WHAT DOES A PRODUCER DO?
“A producer raises the money. Well, yes, a producer does that, but also a heck of a lot more. A good producer does many different things, and must have both creative and business skills. Mainly, producers want to tell stories. But so do writers. So do directors. So do some studio executives. The difference is that it’s the story a producer wants to tell that usually reach the screen”
There you go. That’s where I’m going with myself. Be the one putting the story on screen.
“The film being shot began life as an idea in the producers head. It was given real life by the producers skillful, relentless nurturing, most likely over several years. It sometimes feels as if you’re pushing a peanut uphill with your nose”
“A producer is dependent on writers, directors, actors, and studios, but it is he who starts the balling rolling, keeps the ball rolling, and makes sure it stays on the rolling path he has in mind.”
For the longest while I was confused as to what it is I really do as a producer, however, the following quote has defined who I am in my mind and has helped put recognition to the efforts I make but never really knew what it was I was actually doing. Now I know my talent;
“A producer is a man with a dream. I say, ‘I don’t write, I don’t direct, I don’t act, I don’t compose music, I don’t design costumes. What do I do? I make things happen.’ A producer is like a chef. You get all the right ingredients together and make a tasty stew. You put the wrong ingredient tgether, it’ll taste bad” David Wolper
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
“What a producer does is generate things. Each day a producer has to get up, create and engender activity. You have to be a self-starter, initiating every phone call, soliciting every meeting – as many as it takes to get the answer that you want or the results you need.”
Once again, Normal.dotm 0 0 1 1 10 Sunrise Multimedia 1 1 12 12.256 0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false persistence is the key! (well of of the keys)
“I call agents. I call writers. I call publishers. I want to know if they have a particular story they love (and maybe can’t even sell) or represent a new writer they are particularly keen about (but cant get started). Each call usually leads to more calls.”
“To be a producer is to be an entrepreneur, starting a business a business from scratch each time you initiate a project.”
“You’ll be scurrying about, searching for new sources of financing. You may be lucky enough to work with a few of the same people more than ones, but it is often a new collaboration”
“A producers basic MO is to explode out of the starting blocks and keep pumping, with focus. If you do not thrive on that and on competition, producing is not for you”
“There are so many different things that must coalesce to take a film from idea to finished product. It’s the producers job to find people to do what he himself can’t do, or indeed may not know how to do. Even Armani, dazzling designer that he is, needs someone to run the factory, and people to cut, sew, fit, pack and ship his label.”
That is such a relief to read! I often felt handicap because of my lack of knowledge in many things. When your in films, it feels like you need to know everything, but that’s not the case as Turman puts it out clearly over and over again in his book.
“Your job as a producer, is to get what you want to get made, the best way you can, and to see that it gets out there in the world in the best way, that it gets attention with a good campaign, and a comprehensive marketing plan, and that you try your damndest to get the people to come. It’s a responsibility that someone gave to you; either a company or private investors have given you money to make a movie, so its incumbent upon you to do what you can, to help them not lose money, to make money, hopefully without bastardizing your own artist dream for it”
and Voila for tonight, I shall leave you with this quote;
“My own philosophy is I never care if my films are hits, but I do want them to make at least one dollar profit so I can keep making them” Alexander Payne