Maryam Rahimi Blogs!
What do you do when your an 'emerging', and I use this word carefully because it could mean something of an experience or something next to nothing of an experience. A filmmaker, more specifically, a producer who is going into an industry where she knows she has the passion and drive to make it, but lacks the knowledge, experience and ‘who do you know’ connects. What do you do then?
You inspire yourself. And more forward. And work really hard towards it, after all, that is what a producer does, works HARD.
The other day I was setting behind my computer after applying to endless jobs with my over reviewed resume and cover letter, and after waiting and never receiving a call, when I just started thinking maybe this just isn’t for me, I decided to pick up a book related to producing and read. Maybe I’ll get inspired. Maybe it’ll raise some ideas in me.
‘So you want to be a PRODUCER’ by Lawrence Turman.
I’m only at page 45, but you should see how my reading has turned out to look like so far…
‘A fight for love and glory, a case of do or die …’
Lyrics by Herman Hupfeld. “As time goes by” (From Casablanca)
I needed inspiration to move forth in my search to reach my ultimate goal; Becoming a Producer. I will quote words from this book I am reading which in turn can inspire you to go forth in whatever it is your doing. Assuming your on my blog, it’s to be a filmmaker, a cinematographer, editor, producer, writer or director…
Turman believes in “ My words is my bond. And yours be too”
Turman believes much of his success drives from sticking to his code of ethics and his word. Something I’ve always felt to be true, however, my lack of experience has not proven me to be wrong or right yet, but it has worked for Turman.
“Unfortunately what can’t be taught is the most important thing: Character-who a person is, his or her feelings and taste. It can’t be taught to a would-be violinist or architect, either. It’s what separates people who have all the skills and the technique from those who also have all the heart and imagination”
So can you be a producer? Is your heart and imagination into it? If it isn’t, you will sooner or later give up.
“A ‘sense of proportion’ is what it takes-when to act, when not to act; when to come on strong, when to deferential or shut up and listen. When someone doesn’t return your call, how many times should you try to reach that person? Do you, should you resort to fax or e mail? That comes down to personal style. It’s like that classic song: ‘It ain’t what you do but the way you do it, it ain’t what you say, it’s the way you say it’ ”
“You have to learn to have work ethic. You learn this job only by pounding at every decision” Doug Wick
“Focus, determination, and a willingness to withstand rejection and ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again’ counts more towards being successful than talent, taste and imagination”
This is where I decided to go back to the drawing board after I applied to many positions in my field and received no response. Do I accept the rejection and move to something else? No. I decided that I am going back to the drawing board and re examine my resume and profile. What have I not put in my resume and cover letter to make these people notice how much I want to be a part of their company/organization? That’s the massage I need to convey.
“Essentially two things cant be taught: Creativity and character”
“You have to work backwards: Start by figuring out everything you’r going to need at a specific time in the future, and then make sure it’s ready when you need it to be ready”
“Producing is working hard; Having a goal, common sense, desire and stick-to-it-iveness; being resourceful, adaptable, and aware of alternatives; not letting surprises, disappointments, even reaction throw you off; enjoying people; accepting challenges; and keeping your eye on the ball and your goal, even when you feel overwhelmed. It’s all about loving movies.”
“I was a wannabe myself, fifty years ago. In my case, I was running way from something: boring, dreary work selling fabrics for my father, who had a tiny two-person wholesale textile business”
Boy can I relate to what he means here, if you read my older posts, you will see where I am coming from.
“I learned a few basic things that has served me well as a producer. First and foremost, rejection: It wont kill you. Second: patience: Most worthwhile things in life are not attained as quickly or as easily as one might hope. Last, playing the percentages: if you call on six customers, you might make a sale; if you call on sixteen, you stand a much better chance; if you call on twenty six, I’ll bet you’ll make at least one sale, if not more; if you call on thirty six, your ahead of me and you know the likely results.”
“A guy in the export business who was living in Hong Kong, desperately wanted to work in Hollywood. He wrote a hundred cold letters to studios, production companies and agencies. He received only a single reply. But that one reply, from CAA (Creative Artists Agency) got him into their mailing room, from whence he rose to being a successful agent, and more important, a happy one. He’s now a player in the game – and a well paid one”
“My MO as an agent was to be informed, be specific, be brief, and meet with everybody. I made sure I saw at least one episode of every TV series on the air so I could be current about the actors, writers, directors and producers”
“Harold Hetch was not at the top of anyone’s integrity list, so after closing the deal I wrote him a letter in the guise of a ‘thank you’ but in reality confirming in writing terms of our deal: ‘Dear Harold, thank you for being forthcoming and helpful during our negotiation for Alan Pakula to produce Flight From Ashiya for Hecht-Hill-Lancaster at X thousands of dollars, etc. Your company’s creativity, support, and financial wherewithal make it an ideal match for Alan and his exciting property. Good luck to all of us.’ Hecht called me a few weeks later to say his company decided they did not want to go forth with Alan’s deal for Flight From Ashiya. I checked with the lawyer the Fringe Agency had on retainer, and he confirmed my letter, although not 100 percent legally binding, was a very strong weapon, specially as Hecht had never refuted it verbally or in writing. So I re-sent a copy of the letter to Hecht with a note saying ‘Sorry, we have a closed deal’ ”
“There’s no straight path to being a producer”
“Experience is always valuable, and sometimes vital, but it doesn’t always trump a clear-eyed, fresh approach”
“William Wyler told me, ‘A successful picture will carry you for four years’ He was right then, and what he said still holds true today.”
“Identify what it is you want, and go after it without hurting anybody else”
“Just as inflation makes money less valuable, so multiple producer credits on a film diminishes the value of each individual producer. Gresham’s law of economic obtains, ‘Cheap money drives out clear’ ”
“Is your story fresh enough to get a really good writer and director interested? Is it strong enough that an excellent screenplay will emerge? Are the characters unique and colorful, so that marketable actors will want to act them?”
These are some things that stood out to me and I can relate to at this stage of my life, of my search to reaching my goal.
If it peaks your curiosity and you would like to read more and see my struggles of making it in this new big city in a field I haven’t worked in before (coming from film, going into television) come back and visit this blog as I will be posting my thoughts, failures, rejections and success.