The entertainment world is evolving at such a pace. Since the pandemic, the battle between streaming and the movie theater has meant that content providers have had to trim budgets, resulting in young talent not being able to come through. What does it really take for the next generation, not just artists, writers, or filmmakers, but producers to come through the woodwork? It’s not easy, but perhaps the combination of the following tactics can be an inspiration to anybody out there looking to make it in the world of producing.
Embodying an Entrepreneurial Approach
Many creatives find themselves at odds with the role of the producer. Producers find themselves having to play bank manager, and put up the finances themselves, but that’s not to say that an entrepreneur can be creative as well. Take, for example, Ryan Kavanaugh, who founded the financial model that completely changed how Hollywood financed movies, the modified version of the Monte Carlo method of fundraising, that worked by building a model of possible results for any factor.
But the world of creativity and being a producer does yield some worthwhile individuals. You could argue that Michael Douglas was the first of his kind to be an actor/producer, as opposed to the writer/directors that are so commonplace, but the cynical will, no doubt, look at the fact that he had a leg-up because of his father, Kirk.
For those who are on the hunt to be a producer, the best place to begin is with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Understanding the Support Already Out There
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, film director David Yates, and film producer Duncan Kenworthy are the funders of the National Film and Television School in the UK, which covers the entire field of filmmaking. In the US, there are a number of other opportunities that are designed to ignite a film career. For example, Sundance Ignite partnered up with Adobe to create a path for young filmmakers to get better at their craft. However, this has more of a focus on the filmmaking side of things.
But this is where the Producers Guild of America can provide resources. For example, anyone who has completed a graduate program can apply for the Debra Hill Fellowship if they have completed a graduate program from a specific university, such as UCLA, USC, NYU, or the University of Arizona. This is an opportunity for the individual to be a movie producer despite it being an expensive career field.
There’s No One Linear Path
The role of movie production is a very specific discipline, but the role of the producer can vary depending on the production itself. For example, a producer needs to, first and foremost, find a suitable idea or script, but they are also responsible for acquiring the funding, making sure the production runs smoothly, managing all scheduling, finances, and other aspects of the production, and afterward, must secure distribution and marketing for the movie.
There are so many different portions of production that it is pivotal for an individual to recognize that there is no one linear path. Many producers go into production after having acquired experience in other aspects of film production, whether as a camera person or editor. Many people who complete bachelor’s degrees in some type of filmmaking discipline may not find themselves easily suited to the world of producing, which is why producers start by working in the industry in a whole number of different areas. Producers usually earn their crust by spending many years in lower-level positions, so they can confidently handle every aspect of film production. Therefore, it’s vital to support those at the very bottom to give them the footing they need to develop throughout the industry.
One of the biggest issues is a lack of entryways for younger people who do not have the financial support. The world of filmmaking is now, more than ever, one where a person with more money, or who was born into money is going to get higher-end positions. From the perspective of any working-class filmmaker, the playing field is very unfair. Therefore, it is vital for any aspiring producer not just to go through a bachelor’s degree, or understand the progression they want to make, but they also need to learn to fight against a system that is against them. This can mean budding movie producers need to earn their stripes over a very long period of time.
Tracking Industry Trends
For a movie producer to become a fully realized one, they must start to act like one before they get the role. Producers are people who live, eat, and breathe the art form they work in. And this cannot be underestimated, not just because it provides an entryway into the desired role, but it gives the individual the footing they need to deal with what is going to be thrown at them on a regular basis.
Being aware of changes within the media, for example, the streaming versus movie theater debate can help someone to become more aware of anticipating future developments within the industry, which will, in turn, impact the projects they intend to produce. Because a producer is someone who runs the complete gamut of the movie industry, anyone out there looking to become part of the next generation must use the most amazing resort, social media, to make their mark.
It’s not necessarily about a linear role where you work through the ranks anymore, although this is the most common method. In fact, you can benefit from, very simply, creating good work. Good work gets noticed, and this can provide a ticket to the big table. Movies are not just in the movie theater, they are on every known platform, whether it’s Vimeo or YouTube, and it’s vital to think about this going forward.
The next generation of movie producers should not be hindered by class or construct, but must remember that there is more than one way to skin a cat in this industry.