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Becoming a Producer

Updated on February 5, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

I've written, contributed to several books on film, and worked in the film industry. I like to share the insights of the movie business.

No Film School

You can say no film school and save money. You just work your way up the industry latter. I spoke with an owner of puppet artist company, who has worked in the film industry for decades. He told me he rather hire someone who is not fresh out of film school. He likes working with people who work hard and are willing to learn the ropes. I can understand this because film school students tend to have preconceived ideas of what it means to work in film.

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 own story of how they worked their way into the film industry and became successful with no film school.

A to Z Producing

Becoming a film producer is an exciting choice of profession. 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.

Some producers take on certain responsibilities of filmmaking like earning tax or industry incentives, financing, product placement or distribution deals. They work that part of the business until they are a professional and know all there is to know about the particular aspect of film producing. They are brought into a film production because they have a producing talent that is needed for the production.

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.”

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 film producer?

You can attend a film school with strong alumni and network. There you can meet students who have the same desire as you - 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. They met in school and he produced her first movie 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 going to film school is a great idea as long as you have the funds.

Tim McGahan Describes Producing Winchester

Being a Producer

The character of being a producer and the related jobs that go with the position is nothing short of an adventure. Once a producer is successful, it is very rare he or she will quit the film business because it is a creative and rewarding job. When you become a producer, you will hustle and work very hard because many people will count on you. Their jobs will be in your hands.

© 2014 Kenna McHugh

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