I wanted to share my thoughts on Producers. What they do and why you should try and find them. As an Indie Filmmaker you have to wear a lot of hats. Some filmmakers are also cinematographers, composers, sound designers and of course producers. So being an indie filmmaker can mean being the majority of your crew.
I should really start by saying that I've been producing my own films since 2007. It's just something that I've HAD to do. I know a lot of other directors but producers seem to be an elusive group. It wasn't until I achieved a small amount of success with a couple of short films that I started meeting producers. Everything started happening after I entered a 60hr film competition last October. My film, '88', performed very well. It placed third from 1400+ teams. Whilst that was happening I also completed my short film 'STAY' and started entering it into festivals around the world. What I had was an accomplished short film available to view online and a beautifully shot short film that was password protected online. In short I had a body of work that I had available to showcase to the right people.
I had three short film scripts written and I knew I wanted to bring in producers to help get them off the ground and into preproduction. I started by putting some calls out on Shooting People. I also arranged some meetings with producers through some mutual acquaintances. Finally I sent some emails off to people that I'd met in the last few years that I knew produced shorts.
My meetings went well. I met some producers that were working beyond where I am in my career. I used these meetings as opportunities to ask lots of questions. I also used them as great networking opportunities. They're in a different league from me today but who knows where I'll be in a few years. Those connections may still come in handy further down the line. One particular producer stood out to me. He was a Creative Producer. Someone that wanted some creative input into each stage of the writers and directors process. This was interesting for me because I had always had an idea that the producer would take care of money and organisation. I'd had my first lesson that different producers will bring different skill sets to your film.
I had some responses from the SP call out. I met a couple of very different producers. Both of whom I'm now working with. The first was none creative. He stated right from the off that he liked the script but he didn't want to get involved in any part of the creative process. He was just there to facilitate. He would make phone calls and organise every element of the shoot. He was coming at this from a very practical side which is great for me.
Another producer asked me lots of testing questions about the story and script. He came from a creative background as he also directed shorts. This was in stark contrast to my first meeting but I appreciated the input that he had and having seen his shorts I also had a respect for his opinions.
The third producer was very regimented. I'd say somewhere in between the first two producers. She had script questions and ideas. She also had great funding ideas. Importantly she wanted very defined roles. Nothing was to be done without a discussion and once a decision was made, for example, on actors we wanted to cast, she would be in charge of approaching agents about the casting. Even though I had crew that I was intending to work with she still wanted them to go through her. It was her film and she was producing. Again it was a different approach to both the other producers but I wasn't arguing. It took a huge amount of work off my plate.
Each producer had a different idea for funding. One is looking at a crowd funding campaign. Another at private investors. The third looking to secure the 'talent' stating that if we get a certain calibre of actor then he'll easily be able to find that funding.
For me the most important thing is that I'm working with a range of different producers. I'll know after these three short films who I want to work with and who I have built a strong collaborative relationship with. I want to build a career telling stories. When it comes to funding it seems a lot more proactive and helpful to do so as a team with a proven track record of success. For me personally at this stage it isn't about the money. It's about building myself a team of people that will be more fundable in the future. I'm playing the long game here.