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Becoming a Producer

Updated on December 12, 2017
Kenna McHugh profile image

I've written, contributed to several books on film. I like to share the insights of the business as best I can for those who appreciate it.

You can forgo film school, save money, and work your way up the industry latter. I spoke with an owner of puppet artist company, who works in the film industry. He told me he rather hire someone who isn’t fresh out of film school. He likes working with people who work hard and are willing to learn the ropes.

The list of self-taught directors and producers are endless. Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Francis Ford Coppola are just a few to name. Each one has their story of how they worked their way into the film industry and became successful. You can too.

A to Z Producing

A producer makes a production happen. In Myrl A. Schreibman’s book “Creative Producing from A to Z” he writes, “The producer is the one who is able to obtain the creative ingredients to prompt a project to go or the person who is able to raise the funding to give the project a green light but who then turns it over to another producer who makes it happen.”

In order to become a producer, it is important to learn how to take on the hat of a producer by having the mindset of being willing to be the creative force behind the project whether it’s a movie, TV or Cable show or theatrical play.

Tom Cruise Film Website

Tom Cruise sponsors a film website, which is highly ranked by Google. There you can find information on how to become a film producer. The site says, “… learning how to become a movie producer puts you in the driver’s seat of a film production. The producer is possibly the most misunderstood, yet most important person involved with any movie. The producers – people like Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer – all join a film project at the very beginning and commit themselves to seeing it through to completion. In short, they’re the generals running the entire production, doing it all.”

Nothing could be closer to the truth. Producers are the ones who make sure the project gets done. They are the CEO or the general of the camp. It’s hard work, and yet, has many rewards – like an Oscar or food on the table.

Film School or Not

Would you go to film school?

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How does one become a producer?

You can attend a film school with strong alumni and network. There you can meet students who have the same desire as you to produce movies. Writer and director Nicole Holofcener told me in an interview how she hooked up with her producer. While she was in film school in New York, she met her producer for Walking and Talking. The movie was her first feature film and launched Catherine Keener, Liev Schreiber, and Anne Heche careers. Holofcener noted to me that her producer friend was instrumental in getting the film done and in the movie theaters. In the same interview, she told me to film school is a great idea as long as you have the funds.

© 2014 Kenna McHugh


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