Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finding Projects

As a producer, I constantly have my eyes and ears open to new ideas for films. I find myself hearing or reading stories and thinking, hmm, that could make a good movie. As I come across these ideas, I let them ruminate for a bit. I write them down and stick them in a computer file marked Movie Ideas and if the idea sticks with me, I may decide to pursue it a little more. I may even write up an outline for it and then run it by a few other people. See if it sparks their interest. If it seems to garner enthusiastic responses from others then I feel I am on to something. From there, I actively devise a plan for finding a writer or director for the project. 

Taking on a new project is an involved process. As I have already mentioned in previous posts, it can take years to get a project off the ground. I have found that I need to LOVE an idea and basically be obsessed by it needing to be told cinematically in order to passionately pursue it, day in, day out for a decade. When I first started out as a producer, I was a like a puppy at a dog run -- you'd find me running around, sniffing out every story and piece of talent I could find, pouncing on anything that seemed like a fun, exciting idea, and without much regard for protocol, approaching seasoned film professionals with my excitement. It got me noticed but over time, my style has changed from being the hyper newbie to a being a more skilled and confident storyteller and letting the story, not my excitement, drive the evolution of the film.

Nowadays, I am very discerning about the projects I take on and I put much more thought into whether or not an idea seems sellable and marketable. Often we filmmakers can get caught up in a really cool idea but if we had just taken the time to step back and really figure out who the audience would be, we would see that we were creating a film for a really tiny niche. And I hate to say it because I love the excitement and passion behind a filmmaker's journey but some stories are better off dreaming about than being put on screen. I don't think I'm selling out when I say that it's important to think about getting a return on your investor's money as you are telling your story. 

I realize that my exuberance in the early days kept me moving toward my goal of producing but it's the experience and taking the time to really evaluate the value of an idea that will result in success as a producer. 

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