Monday, December 28, 2015

Hollywood 101

Hey everyone. So I thought about this for some time, and I've spent a good amount of time compiling this list. My goal has been to formulate essentially an extensive list of things I want to remember about becoming a producer. Not the BS lists you see, but something that is culled from real experience. Most information I've read and or heard about producing has been so surface level that it's basically public knowledge. "real" producers don't share their knowledge too deeply or share anecdotes - it gives away too much about the inner workings of Hollywood. From time to time, I'll write about things that have happened in my journey, good bad or otherwise and really - I hope it illuminates things for someone. If you find this following list or anything I say on this blog useful, please message me and let me know!

So without further adieu, here it is - the most "un-Hollywood" reality check list of what a producer needs to know. Notice that 95% of it is relationally based. there is a reason for that. More discussion about that in future posts. This list is 'in progress' and may be added to from time to time.

  1. Desperation Kills
  2. Networking is king. You will succeed or fail based on your networking skills.
  3. You don’t know everything. Get help.
  4. The greatest story in the world does you no good unless you can sell it..
  5. Call/email your contact list regularly. Even if you feel like you're being a pest.
  6. make back ups of your phone book. multiples in different formats.
  7. Know where your project is going before you shoot it
  8. Don’t ever make a film with unknown actors. Have at least one well recognized name.
  9. Technicality is not everything, but professional sound is a must.
  10. Everyone thinks they have good projects. Everyone thinks they’re a genius. Not true.
  11. Avoid politics. Avoid pride. Both of these will kill your career.
  12. Strive to be underestimated.
  13. everyone does things for their own reasons, not someone elses.
  14. unfortunately, people are selfish. Appeal to their selfishness and you’ll get what you need. And related -
  15. do your best to be as unselfish as you can by helping other people. The people you help succeed will remember and by and large help you when they get there.
  16. Network with “the old dogs” in the business who have been cast aside because of changes in the industry. They are invaluable assets.
  17. Take everyone who shows some smarts and determination seriously. You never know.
  18. If you want to succeed, get into distribution.
  19. always return phone calls and emails. I hate it when people don't respond.
  20. this is a business first,- not an art form That is the sad truth. it costs too much money to do to 'risk it all' on anything less than brilliance. the only way Forrest Gump got made was because some enormous figures in Hollywood were willing to stake thier reputations on the art. Terry Gilliam, Marty Scorcese, and George Clooney are slight exceptions. But then again, they are uber famous and carry a lot of wieght.
  21. be willing to "risk it all" for the art. If you have something that is brilliant - be a bulldog about it and learn how to mitigate the risk. It can be done.
  22. Surround yourself with critical people you can trust who are willing to tell you the truth. Even the Bible says “the wounds of a friend are faithful, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”
  23. Never ever ever be arrogant.
  24. There is always someone bigger.
  25. a producer is someone who knows how to hire better people than him/herself. A director is just a person who knows what he/she wants.
  26. Be friendly to people.
  27. never ever be a screamer or throw around attitude. It just makes you look like an ass and people will dislike you and talk about you behind thier backs.
  28. don't use people.
  29. Pay attention for good opportunities when they present themselves. Don’t be so hung up on your own thing that you can’t see it. Don’t be too proud to work on other people’s stuff.
  30. learn about acting, gripping, set dressing and all of the trades you can. Gain an appreciation and understanding of their needs.
  31. read “Hello, He Lied” by Lynda Obst. Classic.
  32. Today’s PA is tommorow’s producer. They will remember. (including me)
  33. crews will work long and hard for someone they feel respects them and has a vision.
  34. the more money you have, the more security you can buy
  35. Producer teams work the best. One is good at the business stuff, one is good with the creative stuff.
  36. Be prepared for the 3 – 5 year turnaround it takes to make a film. If you have something that could become a classic, be prepared to wait longer.
  37. Carefully choose your battles.
  38. Know your limits.
  39. drivers and PA’s are your friends.
  40. Compare your project to classic films you love. Does it measure up? If not, kill it.
  41. Hire well known crew people when possible.
  42. Learn about ancillary markets and multiple revenue streams.
  43. Make friends in the music industry.
  44. Don’t ever quit or you will never make it.
  45. a great soundtrack can save an otherwise bland project.


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