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Old 12-12-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
Typewriter
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Default What is a producer?

With the recent strike going on between the AMPTP and the WGA I was wondering (for all the stupid people), What does a producer do? I am not "in the business" but I absolutely have no idea what they do. If you have a writer, director, and a cinematographer, etc. what more do you need? Also if anyone could answer how much they get paid and why they do or do not deserve it I would be curious. Thank you for your time.

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Old 12-12-2007, 10:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: What is a producer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Typewriter View Post
If you have a writer, director, and a cinematographer, etc. what more do you need?


The producer is the person who brings those people together and sees the project through to the end.

Quote:
Also if anyone could answer how much they get paid and why they do or do not deserve it I would be curious. Thank you for your time.
Quote:
The pay varies wildly, from nothing to millions of dollars depending on experience and the scope of the project. A good producer is an integral part of the process of getting a movie made from beginning to end, so a good producer is worth big bucks.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: What is a producer?

A producer is a guy or girl with a telephone who knows a writer.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: What is a producer?

Guys, I'm disappointed, I expected a string of jokes.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: What is a producer?

OMG, you have asked the question that is probably one of the most difficult to define in all of Hollywood, so here goes:

Producer - a person who was able to get a 'star' to sign up for a picture and this producer does absolutely nothing else for the entire production.

Producer - someone who knows someone who needs to get an imdb credit.

Producer - someone's related to someone.

Producer - someone who puts up some money and then has absolutely nothing else to do with the production.

Producer - someone who puts up some money and makes life for the director a living Hell.

Producer - someone who actually puts together an entire crew to shoot a movie.

Producer - someone who wishes they were a director.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: What is a producer?

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Originally Posted by Charli View Post
OMG, you have asked the question that is probably one of the most difficult to define in all of Hollywood, so here goes:

Producer - a person who was able to get a 'star' to sign up for a picture and this producer does absolutely nothing else for the entire production.

Producer - someone who knows someone who needs to get an imdb credit.

Producer - someone's related to someone.

Producer - someone who puts up some money and then has absolutely nothing else to do with the production.

Producer - someone who puts up some money and makes life for the director a living Hell.

Producer - someone who actually puts together an entire crew to shoot a movie.

Producer - someone who wishes they were a director.
Sorta funny. But not laugh out loud.

A Producer can also be someone who has spent enough time in the business, knows enough about making movies, has strong enough relationships with bankable stars, and has developed good enough material to convince backers to invest millions of dollars in a movie.

A Producer might also spend months and months going through multiple drafts with a writer on a spec project (for which they don't get paid) and then spend additional months or even years (for which they don't get paid) trying to make the movie.

People like to dump on producers because they think producing is easy. It isn't.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is a producer?

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Originally Posted by SBScript View Post
A Producer can also be someone who has spent enough time in the business, knows enough about making movies, has strong enough relationships with bankable stars, and has developed good enough material to convince backers to invest millions of dollars in a movie.

A Producer might also spend months and months going through multiple drafts with a writer on a spec project (for which they don't get paid) and then spend additional months or even years (for which they don't get paid) trying to make the movie.

People like to dump on producers because they think producing is easy. It isn't.
Great post.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:38 AM   #8
Charli
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Default Re: What is a producer?

The reason people dump on the 'producer' title is that it's thrown out like candy, no longer sacred. What's that phrase? What the Hell does an Executive Producer do?
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: What is a producer?

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Originally Posted by Charli View Post
The reason people dump on the 'producer' title is that it's thrown out like candy, no longer sacred. What's that phrase? What the Hell does an Executive Producer do?
If Producing credits are so easy to get and worthless, then why do people fight tooth and nail for them?
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:55 PM   #10
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: What is a producer?

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Originally Posted by boski View Post
Great points.

I think most writers know that real producing isn't easy; it entails all those things that you enumerated, some of which take years to develop with no renumeration, just like learning to be a marketable screenwriter.

I think people dump on producers mostly because it's become a kind of running gag, like lawyer jokes.

But the thing that rubs me the most about a lot of producers, especially the ones that beginning writers have the most access to, is that they don't have any money. They can't even option a script for actual cash.

To me, a "producer" without money is sort of like a writer without a script.

Doesn't mean I won't work with them, but it seems kinda pathetic to me to be a producer with zero money for optioning/developing scripts.

IMO, when you hang up your shingle as a producer, you should have some cash or a line of credit to at least option some of the scripts you think you can sell. You're starting a small business for goodness sakes! Invest a little money. Put it on your credit card and write it off as a loss if you have to. As a "producer" that's part of your job description: pay the writer. Start getting used to it.<<<<<<<

Shoot, I wish people paid for development. I wish WE could pay for development. But, when you accept the kind of producing deals that come with overhead and development money, you're also chaining yourself to another organization which may be more restrictive than you'd like. We'vve decided not to go that way-- and there are downsides to the freedom that we have, such as the lack of development money.

Also, unfortunately, the state of the business is such that development money is much more rare now than it used to be. Everyone works for free now, and that includes writers who make a crap load of money--even these guys have to write specs, come up with takes and treatments, and that sort of stuff to get jobs, and they do it all for free--these days, at least outside the studio world, money just doesn't often go out before prep, and that often includes money to the writer.

Heck, a good friend of mine had a movie with two oscar winners attached scheduled to go into production and the company (founded by a guy w/ 300m dollars) refused to pay him a God damned penny on the option. He was broke and had a new baby and they wouldn't even give him 5k!!! But they were going to make the movie, so he had to say yes.

Yep, it's a brutal business and most of the guys at the top are d-bags.

>>>>>At least the new writer brings an actual finished script to the table.<<<<<

A script, yes. A finished script? Almost never. There's a massive gap between the two.

>>>>>And if that script's good enough to attract a producer, I think the producer should be prepared to offer some option money. Now--I'm not talking WGA mins or anything, but at least a little something for the effort.

Just my .02--which coincidentally just so happens to be exactly same the amount of my last option offer.
Hey, it would be great, believe me, I'm with you on this one. At the same time, recognize that even scripts that are good enough to convince a producer to put in a crap load of free work are almost never all the way there and will require subsequent drafts.

Also, people should remember that for every script a producer takes on (at least in our case), they have had to wade through hundreds that they won't, and no one's paying us for that work. So, it may look easy when someone options a script and sells it a couple of months later and collects a 5-6 figure fee (only if it gets made) but there was a LOT of work involved in getting to that script that can sell.
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