by Dianne Duncan Perrote
The Producing Master Class at Script DC 2016 was, simply, phenomenal! The panel was facilitated by veteran award-winning producer/director and media executive, Phylis Geller on Friday night with three producers present: Jenny Halper, Lisa Thrasher and Sara Elizabeth Timmins. To begin, panelists were invited to throw out words describing the work of a producer: entrepreneur, champion, legal mind, visionary, inspirer, team builder, talent scout, developer, problem solver, risk taker, workhorse, organized, creator…..always keeping in mind that “the buck stops with the producer.” Producing requires tenacity and patience. There is no one way to get a film made.
There was some clarification regarding titles such as Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Line Producer, and Associate Producer. What is a vanity credit? How many producers can be on a film? Films were named that have as many as 31 producers!
Saturday morning, an additional three producers joined the panel: Monica Lee Bellais, Nina Noble and Adam Leipzig. Ms. Geller facilitated these talented knowledgeable participants to share their unique experiences in a digestible format. Movies are a collaborative effort! What’s needed for development? What do you need to get started? An idea in a short treatment format and a writer then attach a director or a talent. Look at the END. What is the market? What is the genre? Who is the audience going to be? Once the idea is out there the producer needs to know whether to sell it to the studios or to look for investors. One option is to go to people already working in the genre.
Working with the writer the producer talk about the vision of the concept, how to present it and the turning point. Tone is discussed and the all-important opening scene. Working with a writer on book to screen is another option. Panelists urged aspiring producers to be open to the magic of input from bringing on new eyes and new voices while simultaneously acknowledging the importance of choosing a team of people that can work together. Stories of challenges with difficult situations and creative resolutions were shared. We learned that it is not possible to copy write IDEAS and TITLES can’t be copywriter.
Don’t miss Script DC next year; it’s extraordinary to have access to such knowledge, expertise, experience, integrity and wisdom.