Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Giving thanks is an important part of my job as a producer. In order to get a film made, I have to rely on so many people to support the project in order for it to be a success. From colleagues helping to find and develop the best script to writers willing to toil for years over their work to directors giving their creative vision to agents introducing the project to their clients to mentors offering their advice to investors taking a chance on you and the project to cast and crew working hard for free or low pay to family dealing with long work hours and months away on location to organizations or festivals offering to screen or promote the film to audiences taking time to pay for or watch your film--the list goes on... And today I thank them all! 

The film industry works at a really fast pace and it never goes to sleep. I am working 24/7 or 31 -- as some say today -- as a film producer. It isn't just a job; it's a lifestyle. It is very easy to become self absorbed and to only think about yourself and your projects. But this business is all about relationships and nurturing them. You may have a great script but if you don't have the relationships to get them considered properly then you are dead in the water. And part of nurturing these relationships is giving them attention and thanks. 

Even those at the top need to give thanks. When I was working for a top producer, I helped him coordinate his thank yous. He and his colleagues would be sure to acknowledge birthdays or holidays or new babies or big moments -- like winning an Academy Award --  with lavish gifts. Each year at Christmastime and Hanukkah, huge campaigns of giving thanks are being waged all across Hollywood. Every agency is showering their clients as well as their assistants who are the gatekeepers to their clients with gifts and thank yous. I have a closet full of "thank yous."

Film productions are no different. At the end of each shoot, which can last from 2 weeks to 6 months or more, the production presents the cast and crew with wrap gifts and a wrap party. Producers know how much time and energy it takes for one person to work on a film and they want to acknowledge their hard work. 

It may sound like an expensive proposition to give thanks in the film industry. But even a nice verbal thank you or written thank you can go a really long way -- as evidenced by the scrutiny we bring to celebrities who don't thank all the right people when they are being honored. The size of your thank you isn't as important as the size of your heart. If your heart is big then those around you will be grateful and know you are thankful for their help. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! 

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