Producing : Becoming a Producer by Martin Reese

Martin Reese

Becoming a Producer

I know this has probably been asked 10,000 times, but how does one become a producer? I have shot my own short film before. I have written a number of short films. One even made the quarterfinals of the Bluecat Screenplay Contest. I think I have skill sets that I could use to produce films. In my day job I manage design and construction projects worth millions so I know how to work with people and put together teams. Just don't know the best way to translate those skills to producing or know if there is a way. Thanks for any advice. I know there are not shortcuts, but I need to know at least where to start.

Tony Cella

I'm curious as well. Producing short films and interning with production companies is the way to go. On the job experience beats film school when feasible.

Marlin Adams

It is about the dough-re-me! Yes, Creative Producers are not easy to come by, but as a CP I can tell you that if you don't have a source of money, then you can't be a producer. Period!

Pamela Preston

Not true Marlin there are several kinds of Producers. Usually Executive Producers supply the money. Line Producers work with Budgeting and maintaining set with UPM and PC. Creative Producers work with Director and EP. It all depends on what kind of producer you want to be that determines the work you want to do.

Martin Reese

Thanks for the comments. I want to be the guy that puts together the projects and gets them financed. When I produced my own film I used my own money. So Executive Producer would be more along the lines of what I am talking about. I know a number of talented people. Is it just a matter of finding the right script and putting together the team and then pitching the project?

Walter Harris Gavin

I agree with Pamela. What I would add is that you need a vision and passion for wanting to tell stories, to connect with audiences in new ways. I would also say that you need to know how the business works, whether that be entertainment, non-broadcast or client driven and some knowledge of all of the various disciplines that it takes to bring your project, film, video, narrative or documentary to life and beyond. It does just stop with the last frame of film is exposed or the last scene is edited. Then comes marketing, advertising, promotion, audience development all are part of the producer's purview.

Martin Reese

Very helpful comments.

Pamela Preston

Most people who you go after for funding want to know a few things. How are you going to sell it, make their return and possible profit. Are you going to do only one thing do you have several other projects lined up. If you can get A List or B list talent on board or agree to be part of the project helps.

Doug Nelson

Martin – there are no specific requirements for becoming a producer – you don’t need a license or state certification. Basically, if you can spell Producer – you can be one. Becoming a successful producer requires a great deal of knowledge, learning, experience and dedication/determination. Production is essentially rooted in the economics (the business side) of film production rather than the creative side. To be a Producer, you need to be able to raise the capital required for filmmaking – is that really what you want to do?

Martin Reese

Actually that is what I want to do. I think there are a number of viable projects that are being overlooked and I would like to learn how to get them out there.

Pamela Preston

Please disregard people who seem to be one track. You can do what your heart desires and don't let the people who appear to be evil or jealous bring you down! Go for your dreams and disregard people trying to get in your way.

Martin Reese

Thanks everyone for your positive comments.

Regina Lee

Hi Martin, nice to meet you. Are you talking about "Hollywood" producing or independent producing, with no reliance on Hollywood? If you go indie, assemble your team, pool some funds, and just do it! At the very least, you can put your show on Vimeo or YouTube, or you can self-distribute on VHX. On the other hand, "Hollywood" is a business of apprenticeship and relationships, just like many other industries. You make the leap after college. You work your way up by interning, becoming an assistant, becoming a junior exec, getting promoted, etc. You build your network along the way. Since you're an adult already with a great job, it would be a big leap of faith for you to "start over" in Hollywood. I would hate to advise anyone to leave your stable life behind to start at the bottom in Hollywood and roll the dice. So how does anyone "skip a step"? You have to bring something to the table that is valuable enough to allow you to skip the bottom rungs of the ladder. Typically, that means you bring in financing (your own equity or from partners) or you bring in a piece of valuable material (e.g. "the next Harry Potter"). If you bring value in, you can skip the steps of being the newbie in Hollywood, working your way up the ladder. Best of luck.

Philip Onions

That's good advice Regina!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Please, let's keep commentary respectful and refrain from offensive remarks. Offensive commentary will be deleted. Thanks.

Rafael Pinero

Surround yourself with talented people, choose a project you like and get the financing, that's how you become a Producer, disregard any stupid comments that are not helpful. And also you need to be very passionate about filmmaking because it's not easy.

Rafael Pinero

@Martin, I will let you produce a film together with me and show you what I can.

Boomer Murrhee

Best of luck Martin. Keep your dreams alive.

Royce Allen Dudley

Martin, I also did construction and film... the big managerial difference between the two is you find a bunch of creative people in entertainment that you must deal with who are... "difficult" ; much more so than in any "real world" industry. You sound like you have the organizational and leadership skills to helm a project. You may need only the business card and the phone with the right numbers on speed dial. Good luck!

Chad Catuara

Martin, Welcome. I think you may qualify to a more lateral of a move. Most productions have a construction coordinator and higher up into art department production design. One feature I worked, the Production Designer had creative visual control of what was photographed. The best comparison of film making to real world I have ever heard related a producer to the developer in a real estate project. I believe from someone in the Lorimar (DALLAS) days. And there's a firm on this site offering a software program related to the fund raising accounting nuts and bolts. Commonwealth Capital Advisers.

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