Real Answers


I just want a show stopping song-and-dance number and my name up in lights.

I’m just doing it for the show stopping song-and-dance number and my name up in lights.

When it comes to filmmaking, directors get all the glory- no doubt about it. Aside from acting it’s one of the more glamorous jobs to have on a movie: you get a lot of attention and you get to exercise a lot of creativity and control. So it’s no surprise that in a graduate program for film production the vast majority of students want to be directors.

This makes for a lot of captains and not a lot of ships. For there to be ships there have to be producers.

Producing is a lot less glamorous than directing and a lot more logistics. There is a lot less creative payoff to be the producer than to be the director. On the student level glory and creative payoff are the currency of what makes a project worthwhile: after all there’s no actual pay involved.

As someone who is pretty good at organizing stuff and staying on task I’ve gotten to do quite a bit of producing so far: and I am proud of the work that I’ve done but for the past few semesters I’ve been searching for a good philosophical reason to pursue producing. It’s one thing to put in the hours to get the credits in order to graduate: that is Producing: The Job. It is another thing entirely to put in the hours to build towards something meaningful and fulfilling: that is Producing: The Vocation.

So for a long time now I’ve been searching for an idea of producing that could change it from a job to a vocation: from something that I do because it needs to be done to something that I do because it is interesting. I finally had my first class of Intermediate (“Real World”) Producing yesterday and I finally began to get some answers:

Why be a producer? Because producing is a job for a Renaissance man/woman (shall we call them “Renaissanceans”? “Renaissanceux?”). What producing may lack in glamor and glory it makes up for in range and scope. Producers have to learn how to do everything from financing to feeding and how to be everything from a leader to a scapegoat. There is never a dull moment and that’s OK.

This seemed like a good reason. But wait, there’s more:

Why be a producer? Because being a good producer will make you a better director. The best directors are also producers because that is how you keep control over your project. And while this might not be a reason to break out into song in a rousing rendition of “I Wanna Be A Producer” it at least gives me a good excuse to go ahead and learn everything I can about producing while I’m in the program.

These were only partial answers: it wasn’t an eye-opening “Eureka!” moment, but they seemed like breadcrumbs in the right direction. If nothing else these reasons make the pursuit of Producing seem like a step in the right direction instead of an ominous side-track.

This seems like an auspicious start.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 13, 2015.

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