Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What exactly does a Producer Do?

I'm often asked, "What does a Producer do?"

Since no one has the appropriate opera music to play to cue my response, I usually just sigh.

But if you MUST know, here's a partial list:



> Find good scripts (this task resembles any Indiana Jones movie when he's looking for buried treasure while being chased by Nazis)

> Convince someone with money to invest the script (for reference look up "dog and pony show" in Websters)

> Listen to a director throw phrases around like, "My vision", usually with the request for some profoundly expensive and useless piece of equipment.

> Try not to develop a xanax addiction while waiting for your funding to drop into your bank account.

> Find your screenwriter at noon face down in a glass of gin at Musso and Franks mumbling, "They're ruining my script".

> Ask your lawyer to ask their lawyer what it felt like when his soul slipped out of his head and what is was like to actually meet Satan.

> Tell the actresses they're pretty

> Tell the actors they're pretty

> Tell the agents to get off my back since I still have those digital photos of their BJ at Mike De Luca's last party (insert Bryan Singer if you're gay).

> Tell the studio executives they're pretty. And smart. They really like that.

> Smile and nod when studio executives give you notes, generally trying to change your pensive tone poem on social inequality into a musical version of PORKY's.

> Smile and nod when one of your investors insists on having their boyfriend in the movie

> Listen to the director yell and scream when you pass the above message on.

> Hire and negotiate everyone's contract (which is why my hair is gray)

> Listen to more of "my vision" with a request to shut down the streets of downtown LA for a full day.

> Send expensive bottles of liquor to all your vendors.

> Try not to say ANYTHING when your studio executive says, "No, I've never heard of CITIZEN KANE".

> Tell your DP there's no more money in the budget for that department

> Tell the art department there's no more money in the budget for them

> Tell the visual effects department there's no more money in the budget for them.

> More of "my vision" when the director wants "one little scene" and "only needs it shut down for a few hours" when referring to LAX on Friday of Labor Day Weekend.

> Repeat to yourself "I will not cry" when the driver forgets to engage the emergency brake and the entire prop truck slides off the cliffs of Malibu Canyon into the ocean.

>  Explain calmly to your director that when you asked for a "better character arc" that did not mean adding a boat to the script.

> Try not to develop a xanax addiction when your lead actor finds out about the SAG clause that states he doesn't really need to do nudity, regardless of any other signed contracts.

> Tell the teamsters you're only shooting a $40,000 mini dv film with money your mom gave you.

> Since your director does know CITIZEN KANE, remind him/her he's not Orson Welles. But if he'd like to be, remind him of the hubris which lead to "We Will Sell No Wine Before it's Time".

> Send expensive bottles of liquor to the buyers at all the distribution companies

> Hold your editor's hand during the first 3 weeks of post while the director does his/her cut, while reiterating, "I know, you'll get it soon and you'll be able to do it right."

> Persuade director not to cut out all the scenes with the actor that wouldn't sleep with him/her on set.

> Try not to develop a xanax addiction when you find out your investor's boyfriend, who you put in the movie, has run off to Mexico with one of the other actors from set.

> Tell editor to remove all scenes from film with investor's boyfriend. And the actor he ran off with.

> Send every PA and intern you have to the Chateau Marmont bungalows and pull your composer out of his ten day coke binge, send the hookers home and tell him the soundtrack is due!!!

> Get the audience drunk on champagne at your first screening, prior of course.

> Tell the film festival programmers they're pretty.

> Try not to develop a xanax addiction when your film print comes back with the entire sound off by 3 seconds.
> Trade gossip on Drew Barrymore to US WEEKLY in exchange for a mention of your film's theatrical opening

> Convince your lead actor to get caught in a dui or hooker scandal just prior to your film's release. Photographed with Paris Hilton, also a plus.

> Strongly imply to your prettiest actor that he "drop the soap" when he hand delivers the preview dvd of the movie to Perez Hilton.

> Same at Kenneth Turan's house (head reviewer at LA Times)

> Same with Leonard Maltin

> Send emails to reviewers that panned your film asking them what the highest grade of public school was they completed

> Try not to fall into alcoholism while deal making at Sundance, Toronto and Cannes.

> Allow the largest gay publication in the United States - The Advocate - to call you a Cougar for the free press.

> Try not to develop a xanax addiction while waiting for the first Box Office results

> Try to close your next movie deal before said BO results hit Variety

> Repeat above steps.

For those of you I've worked with in the past.... darlings, of course I'm not talking about YOU, only the other people I've worked with. Kissing the air next to your cheek.

2 pithy remarks. Click here to Comment:

Michelle said...

Okay, THAT - was frickin hysterical!!!

ChadDarnell said...

This list is brilliant. I can't wait to see you next Tuesday.