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November 30 at 2:15pm

Why The Indie Film Industry Needs Producers

By Ted Hope

Time and time again, I get the impression that the “Film Industry” generally does not value producers. I suppose I shouldn’t deduce that The Studios’ abandonment of Producer Overhead First Look Deals means that the business doesn’t value Producers, and just that The Studios need to control costs or that they have other ways of accessing content, but…

Well, it’s hard not to feel that it’s just that Producers aren’t respected. I suppose that financiers willingness to under pay Producers should not lead me to think that they don’t know how much a Producer does. Maybe they are just trying to get a good deal. I suppose that I could take it as flattering that experienced folks in the business, assume that my overhead is covered, that my assistant’s salary is taken care of.
So what is it that Producers do for the Film Industry at large?
  1. Producers bring new investors into the business, both in terms of sourcing them, and structuring deals that make sense from an investors’ perspective
  2. Producers look out for investors’ needs (substantially more than distributors do), as Producers think long term and need private equity to stay in the game.
  3. Producers provide development supervision to get the scripts right — and they usually get a lot more writing done without additional costs — because the authors know they are doing it to get the best movie made, and not just to justify their jobs.
  4. Producers inspire talent to embrace work for affordable yet just rates — because everyone knows that the producer is doing also for the love but for a whole lot longer.
  5. Producers counter-balance industry pressure to increase costs and keep movies’ budgets at levels that make sense — which is good for the industry.
  6. Producers innovate — be it in the search to deliver a better film or to control costs, innovation is in their blood.
  7. Producers develop talent and take the chances on emerging artists.
  8. Producers keep in touch with the audience, weighing where their tastes and habits are.
  9. Producers bring content, talent, technology, audiences, investors together.
  10. Producers help show the business and the culture where they might aspire to be going.

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