Many independent filmmakers shy away from producing films, even though in the long run they end up doing it without actually trying to. There is a stigma that goes along with producing where creative individuals think that if they produce one film they will forever be labelled as a producer, and be viewed as a suit. In my opinion – well, let’s just say that this isn’t a very productive way of looking at things in life. When you are starting out as an independent filmmaker, you actually have to produce your own films if you want to make them happen. Here are some quick tips that may help you discover the beauty of producing films.
One of the main points you need to deal with is actually getting to know your industry. Get out there and start meeting filmmakers and creating a pool of people you’d like to work with. Choose what types of films you like and meet people from different departments of cast and crew. It’s important that you have at least a pool of people you can always call up and recommend them for a project you’re producing. Raindance organizes a fantastic event each month called Boozin’ & Schmoozin’ and a lot of scriptwriters, actors, cinematographers and many different people from the industry join together for a fun night of networking and hanging out!
Nobody likes (or trusts) a flaky producer. You need to find a good script and then use your pool of people to allocate roles to the ensemble you feel would work best together. If you are working on a project, make sure you have knowledge of all the departments and what they require. Start having meetings and writing e-mails to your crew to keep them updated on what is going on. People expect you to have all the information regarding the film you are making, or to at least point them in the right direction. Check that everyone has everything they need while producing your film – and make sure they actually have it.
Always be aware of your surroundings and what you can bring to the table. Think about all of the projects you’ve worked on and what you can take away from them in the sense of contributing to your project. When I was directing a film, a friend of mine sent me a fantastic location for shooting which I didn’t use at the time. A year later I remembered that it could be helpful, and used it while producing a film for a friend! Make a list of all the information you come across.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Why not find an Associate Producer or a Co-Producer? Things are always easier when you work in a team, and there is nothing wrong with having extra help from talented individuals who share your vision and are fighting to achieve the same goal. I’m sure that you know at least one person that is trying to get into the industry, and would love to help out on a project and get a credit at the very least.
Make sure your crew and cast are fed
Ahh food. If you’re making a film most of your money will go on location and many other aspects of the filmmaking process. Food is the most important one (well, in my opinion in any case). You don’t have to spend a lot of money on catering and insane ordeals – if you organize your time and plan properly, you can make a fantastic feast with a small budget. It takes time and thinking, so that’s why everyone always goes for Deliveroo. And most importantly, make sure there is some cheese.
I know it sounds absolutely boring, but contracts and permits are a very important part of producing. It doesn’t actually take a lot of time to make sure everything is in order, and trust me it will help you save time when you are on set. Make sure everyone signs that contract and make sure they read it!
Here is a list of contracts that will most definitely come in handy in order to help you while you produce!
Working closely with the director
As you probably know, there are many different types of producers. Even the line producer has a creative side and can contribute highly to the project. If you think of yourself as a creative producer, then you know you can most certainly add to the team by working closely with the director and developing the story. If a friend or somebody asks you to produce, and you are very early on in your career (or even further down the road) check if the shoe fits and take the opportunity! You’ll be surrounded by creative individuals and ideas will come to your mind in order for you to put your own story on the screen.
Have a look at what our very own Elliot Grove has to say about Producing
And make sure to check out the Producer’s Foundation Certificate starting very soon!
Eleonora and me worked on this article together, so why not take a look at her blog posts here!