A couple of weeks back, I went to the Producers Masterclass run by Chris Jones of of Guerrilla filmmaker fame and featuring Stephen Follows.
Though I’ve been producing for a number of years, albeit reluctantly (see definition later) it was a useful and insightful weekend.
Others I met there ranged from those with a couple of features under their belts to complete newcomers. So not an easy task to cater for such a wide range of abilities
Producing is not as “sexy” as directing. On Uni degree courses the numbers of student directors far outnumber wannabe producers, so I was pleased for Chris that his relentless on line marketing had produced a very full house.
Now Stephen Follows is a nice guy and has produced a couple of lovely shorts, which interestingly he also wrote.
He reckons there are 6 types of Producer
Practical Producer(who only has knowledge of what he/she has done so far),
Smoozer Producer, (wheeler dealer, life and soul of the party type)
Money Producer (probably someone from the money business)
and Creative Producer (big picture & broad talent.
I think I’m a reluctant Producer, which type are you?
There was a additional Friday session on negotiation by Linda Potgeiter.
I immediately realised I had been to one of her session before, but it was worth doing it again as it’s easy to forget these skills. She forced us to talk, engage and negotiate with the person sitting next to us. Which for me doesn’t come naturally, but is a process which was repeated several time throughout the weekend, so I was soon striking up conversations with total strangers.
The queues for coffee, lunch and the loos being especially fruitful. In the lunch queue, I even had a very interesting conversation about production with a first AD, who turned out to be nothing to to do with the Producers Masterclass, but doing a course on Hypnotherapy.
Chris Jones who was also wandering round grabbing promotional interviews about the course apparently had a surreal interview about producing with someone from the same Hypnotherapy course.
From Stephen’s list, I’m obviously a reluctant Producer
He told us that Directors need Ego, but producers need to have no ego.
A director takes the credit , but as a producer unfair things happen.Very little is your fault, but everything is your responsibility.
I saw this in Edinburgh last year. He did the two day in one, basically by talking VERY fast. all good stuff though and it is essential for independent filmmakers now.
It was a good weekend. Lots of good stuff and opportunities for networking. the only downside was I think Chris tried to pack too much in. Some of the questions over ran, so the whole of the planned Saturday two hour session on casting, crewing and coping was missed out. It’s promised to be provided on -line in the future. Though this wasn’t an area that I needed much help in, I felt that for many first timers these skills of production management were what they came to find out about.
It’s not easy to run a masterclass covering such a wide spectrum of topics and for such a range of abilities, so all credit to Stephen, Chris and the team.
Well worth the money.