Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Film Producer = Glorified Accountant

Yes, that's right. At the end of the day, after I've read scripts and books and dreamt of my next films, I am an accountant. A bean counter, if you will.

I'm pretty sure I work in QuickBooks more than I work in Final Draft or Movie Magic Budgeting.

Receipts, credit card statements, checking accounts, etc etc, fill my inbox and my brain as much as the stories I want to tell.

When I decided to become a film producer, I dreamt of being on set working with writers, directors and actors and the time I would spend premiering films at festivals or theaters with red carpets leading to them.

I don't believe I dreamt of having the recent QuickBooks software so I could track the financing on the multiple films and the LLCs that created them.

The troubling fact is that I still haven't taken a seminar on QuickBooks and I really need to. Instead I've fumbled around in it, making mistakes and the life of my real accountant miserable. I believe I was driven to tears in our last meeting, claiming "I don't know what I'm doing!"

For some reason, I have fought getting to know this accounting program. I think my fear has been that once I know it, it will suck me in forever and all my creative energy will seep away.

Well, quite the opposite is happening. By not knowing the program, I am making my life so much worse. Like anything, the more knowledge you have, the easier it is. So this year, my plan is to commit to really learning QuickBooks and embrace the fact that I really am a glorified accountant. Let the games begin!


The Filmmaker said...

Really? a Glorified accountant? I'm an aspiring director and I've never looked at the producer that way. I always tried my best to collaborate with the producer and to make him or her feel like apart of the creative process.

Asking their opinion about the scene, taking suggestions, really try to make the producer feel like my colleague and not just someone managing the budget.

Jane Kelly Kosek said...

Hi Jabari,

That's great to hear! And I too work with wonderful directors who do count on me for creative input. And I live for the creative side of filmmaking.

In this post, I just meant that with producing comes a great deal of money and financial management that can make you feel like a glorified accountant at times. When you spend weeks typing in figures and going over them a million times and filing taxes and investor reports etc, it can be overwhelming. And it's a facet of the job that many people are unaware exists or at least to its extent.

Thank you for being a great director who collaborates and sees the value in a producer.