selecting the right producer

Savoir choisir son producteur

Learn not to throw himself on the first producer came



I know that this title should make you laugh some of you who say : “If I already had the chance to have one, I would be happy” well think again ! Last week I had the chance to be invited to an event really amazing. It was 3 days of Pitch dedicated to apprentice writers and directors, just out of school, who were given the opportunity to come and pitch their project facing a panel of professionals : tv channels, producers, writers, financiers, etc… and all this in Germany.

In addition to pitcher and have the feed-back from experts about their project, the word was also given to the producers and the channels to debunk some of the false beliefs and to give these young people the right keys for them to succeed the next step.

And you know what ? Well, I’m not the only one to carry the good word, and I would like, today, you report the words of a producer German on his profession and on the ways in which authors/directors must conduct themselves with the producers and vice versa.

The demystification

In a first time, it has hammered home to anyone who would listen that what we think we know of a producer, or at least what inexperienced people think of a producer, is false.

  • They are rich and very happy to be able to spend/to help the authors and directors of their choice.

Many people think that the producer actually has a lot of money otherwise it would not be a producer…which is false. In effect, a producer will never put a euro in his pocket for your project. Even if the projects in the package, the dream etc…they will never produce on their own funds…it is their death ensured in case of failure.

  • Accompanied by a beautiful young woman (or a handsome young man)

The stereotypes have the hard life…

  • Do not lead that of the Rolls…or are driving in a Rolls-royce.

Of course, one can not hide that some producers (on the fingers of one hand) ride in nice cars…and yet…as they are often all of Paris…they are riding a scooter or take a taxi. This is another big cliché.

  • They drink and buy champagne for everyone
  • Everyone loves them… or at least like their money
  • Have a network and friends everywhere…and especially of influential friends

You will understand, especially if you follow this blog for a while now, this is all fake…When I heard this…I told myself…ok…my English is a bit rusty, I had to misunderstand…and in fact…not at all, I had very well understood.

How a producer, with as much craft behind it, as many of the films produced, co-produced, sold to the international, can still not speak of his craft in the beginning with so many enormous shots ?

Answer : Because a lot of young (and less young) think again as this. How is this possible ? After his speech I went to see her to ask her that question and she said that the script writers or film directors (inexperienced editor’s note) thought of finding a producer was the holy Grail, in large part for these reasons !

Limit, once the producer focused on the cradle of your project, as a good fairy, the job, the more complicated was done…and we could, in our turn, to live a happy, rich and make a lot of children !

Dear reader of the blog, I beg you, if you think about it would thathalf a nano-second…stop it right away, just want to do this job because you go to the front of big disappointments and loss of time.


Don’t worry, we have finished with the shots. In a first step it is necessary to know how to make a tri, that is to say, many are called : producers’, as many call themselves ” Filmmakers.” But in truth little is really.

Have a fun day watching the credits of your favorite movies or series and you will see that there are a multitude of “producers” but only a few are really. For example you will see : delegate Producer, executive producer, associate producer, co-producer, producer, etc… one day, I will laugh, you will even be able to see : “The guy who knows the cousin of a guy who has already seen a producer !” appear on a generic. In short, there are “producers” everywhere today.

Okay I’m exaggerating…but I’ll give you an example of speaking : Imagine that you have found a producer for your film but you are missing a little bit of money and that you are doing what you should never do : put the money personally in your film. And well, you know what ? You just have to pay you, with this money, your place in the credits as a producer ! And you know what ? You’re not really a producer as much as the job of a producer that is everything except putting his money personally on the projects it supports.

More seriously, the producer is just responsible for the film he wants to produce. For this it must have some essential skills :

The skills of a producer

  • Know and have knowledge in all the steps of creating a project. If it is documentary, fiction, web-series, feature film or cartoon (standard or long) it needs to know master : the writing, the filming, the technical must or will be used, the editing etc…ATTENTION : This is not to say that it knows to mount ! But he has knowledge that enable him to understand the ins and outs of editing.

Imagine a producer(trice) who do not know all the steps. How do you want it to be able to understand the work to be done, to guide the author or the director, or estimate a budget…and just to be credible in the face of the wearer to project who knows what to do ? Would you have confidence in a person hesitant or who tells you stories ? Not me ! This to me is already happened to talk with people who were “producers” or “directors” or “writers” and speaking for two minutes with them…I knew that the person in front of me knew less… and could not help me really.

  • It is necessary that the producer knows exactly where it wants to go. Once again, this may seem odd, but a production and a producer who has no vision, desire, editorial, it is necessary for you to ask questions.
  • It is necessary that the producer has a vision of the market as a whole. What is the channels or platforms want ? What is fashionable or will be fashionable in 2 years. This may make you laugh to say that no one can predict what is going to work or not in 2 years. Yet in the middle of the animation production times are much longer than the filming of a movie, an animated series where a long – that’s 18 months of work at the minimum ! Despite this very long time of design and production, the producers are successful (and often) to be in the move…it is necessary that the producer of fiction is also a little devin…you as a writer/producer you also need to ask you about what you are writing to know if in several months you will be, in your turn, in the sphere of influence.

  • The producer must also have real management skills. He (she) must be able not only to you manager you, but also know how to take the necessary decisions, sometimes in the great adventure of the production of a film or a series. Without this sense of management…this is death…the unsaid, the ” betrayals “ of some members of the team will turn to a conflict…and as the producer will not be able to manage the conflict, all of this will turn to open warfare…and guess what ?! It is you who will paumer…your movie…and a little bit of all of the world. I know how hard it can be for an author or a filmmaker, especially if he is a “novice” in the middle, to know or recognize a producer without this skill…To be completely honest, for the more experienced as it is complicated. But I’m here to give you solutions non ?! So that’s one thing almost foolproof : Ask ! And to do that it is simple enough at the bottom, just take what the producer has produced (short, long, series, etc) and to find the people who have worked on it. Once this is done you only have to make them ask questions. So if you are technician, go see the technicians. If you are the author, going to see authors and if you are a director…of directors. Why ? Because according to your post these are not the same reports that you have with the producer, or even the same track or the same involvement.
  • The producer must also have the skills and knowledge of producer. It is as dumb as a board ?! And yet, as I said earlier all the world or almost today , is called the producer…and yet few are, and, a fortiori, few have the skills and knowledge. This is not to say that it is not necessary to work with the young producers, this is not it at all I’m trying to tell you. But this young producer (or less young) should know how to produce a film, that is to say…do not have to pay the developer and not put money in equity in a film that the producer produces. He must know perfectly the film financing : cnc, region, cosip, sofica, Ifcic, bank, tax credit, tax shelter, procirep, adami, tv stations, studio 37…that this will help, pre-purchase, distribution and co-pro…etc…depending on the country, gender, etc…You must have understood to be the producer this does not invent.
  • Have a national and international network. I’ve dealt with in the watermark above. The producer must often make alliances with other producers and make use of foreign funds. Even if they are not the basis of the application requires that the producer know what he’s doing. But above all, he must be able to rely on a network of trust that will allow him to set up the project that he defends. This network should be able to find partners in production, to accelerate and facilitate the meeting of decision-makers of strings and being able to touch the right person at the right time. This is why it is unthinkable to produce the feature film or series one day to the next day when, as a producer, we landed out of nowhere. The producer must create a network and especially a network of trust.
  • This is not all there is to know of the people, of the channels if the producer does not have the business sense. Without the skill of marketing the producer is dead. It must dealer the budget, the percentages with the different partners, etc…to not eat and stay with clopinettes. I’ve known a production company that has developed a feature film for 3 years…they have invested a bit of money between travel, the prints of scenarios, the restaurants, a small option contract etc…The scenario was top notch, frankly, but they did not have the network to be able to mount their project, and especially as a “young” producer (their company had never produced long) they were not taken seriously. Yet they had the bottle in the business, but not to the position of producer. Anyway, all of this is to say that they have put 3 years to assemble the project with a script at the top. They finally find a co-producer who listens to and reads the script. Result, it is wrapped up and decides to co-produce the film, finally, to be really sincere, he decided to produce the film…this producer is a great producer who has a storefront. He has the habit to produce, has the network and if it has a film it is immediately taken seriously…the financing fall…the distributor also…in short it brings all the financing…which resulted in the production who has rowed for 3 years leaves with clopinettes. Why ? Not only because they were not armed for this, but mainly because they did not have the marketing skills or business.

A real producer is

What I will tell you now must remain etched in your memory for life ! Then you’ll understand the title just above is a little provocative and it is on purpose. But hold on the for said, a producer must :

  • Be able to solve problems that occur at all stages of the production.
  • Its role in the production of a film or a series it is always to learn to keep the balance between quality, budget and timeframe of the film. I would like to be more specific on this point. I know at this point it is hard to say to a director : “You have to cut 20 minutes of a movie,” or “You must reduce your characters” etc… in short, the kind of conversation that does not have an author/producer ;o) And it is in this way that a producer is important because he needs to be able to push its author to keep the same quality in writing with 10 or 300 thousand euros or 3 million less than expected. The goal of a producer is the same that the producer/author : get the best film possible with the resources available. To think that a producer wants, at all costs, take out the film out is a heresy because it is his reputation, his company and its future projects that are in the games…just like the author, director
  • Tell you one thing, if the producer made remarks on your scenario, this is not for you grate on the nerves ! It is simply because he has glimpsed an interesting track that would take your project even further. Either he has not understood correctly your project or your project has the interest , but still requires adjustments.
  • The producer is not your enemy but your partner. I repeat once again, even if I you the hammers for years now ;o)

Yes but how do you choose a producer ?

  • Ask yourself why you need a producer where why you want to be a producer. This is not a stupid question, far from it. If you want to find a producer to find the money… Forget it. If you want to find a producer, and not to listen to it… Forget it. On the other hand if you want to find a partner and live an adventure in sharing and collaboration , then go for it.

I just want to put a caveat on what I just wrote above. All producers are not awesome ! I’m not going to lie to you. For some, they like your project, support you, limit you are a demi-god. The producer asks how he was made to live without you until now…(I swear to you that it is true) and the commissions, the decisions of the chain links of the chain, your project is throwing around…and then you become the worst shit ever created…you no longer exist, it is finished.

  • Study, take a look at what this manufacturer has done and produced. Find what he likes to produce. It is simply a study of ” market “. You ask if the “product” or “the work” that you have in your cards is what he is looking for.
  • Is that what he tells you to talk to you. Find and work with a producer it is a human encounter before. You need to not only hear you ” in the life “, but especially on your project. It is necessary that what he told you about his visionon what he wants to put in place and that feedback make sense to you. If this is not the case, do not do “business” with him and go your way. You’ll eventually find another producer who you will be and who you correspondrez.
  • Ask concrete questions as to how it will proceed to produce your film, as well as on the deadlines and possible partners. It is by asking questions of this type that you will be able to detect a “quack” of a producer who knows what he’s talking about. If the answers he gives seem to you strange, if the time periods do not correspond to the reality, go on your way. On the other hand, if you do not know the answers to the questions that you ask, stay ” worthy “, take notes and analyze the answers after the fact. Ask questions to clarify ambiguous areas. Above all never sign anything in haste.
  • Talk to her partners and the people with whom you want to work to find out if the producer is on the same wavelength as you. This is an important point, do not put yourself in a door-to-fake with names wrongly and through. If you have no idea of people, partners, do not say anything.
  • Ask him or her questions on the cost of your film, the production and the structures which he (she) is thinking to finance your project. According to the answers that you will give you will know right away that you have to do. There are not 36 solutions to produce a film. If the answers are weird or crazy, tell him politely goodbye…and run ! ;o)
  • And what you need to ask yourself first is : do you trust this person who is in front of you. Is it that you think that you are going to share the same vision of the project or if you are going to be able to improve your project with this producer.

This is article about : Learn how to do not jump on the first producer came. I hope that this article will be able to help you find a producer, but mainly to find a good one.

I know that you are very verys many, often, to be lost. You should not hesitate to ask me questions here. I would like to be able to have a particular link with you all to allow you d’to be moving faster and more confidently. Especially as most of the time you block for, almost, nothing.

Thank you for all your messages of support, of friendship or compassion due to my little health problems. Thank you to all. Today everything goes for the better, I’m actually a little scared, but in the end, more fear than harm. I’m in great shape.

I try to be here, on the blog or with the members of the Masterclass as possible in spite of my professional activities that I take a lot of time. But you know what ?! Thanks to this I can further share my knowledge and help you to go further.

I will tell you very quickly.

Please do not hesitate to ask me your questions or comments below this article.

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