Saturday, June 16, 2012

10 Things You Should Do If You Want to Become a Film Producer

Here are a few tips that I feel are extremely helpful if you want to become a film producer. There is no road map to becoming a film producer. Everyone's journey is different. That can be incredibly freeing but also overwhelming and scary. If there's no road map then how do you figure out how to do it?

Hopefully, these ten tips will help you get closer to your goal!

1) Get experience. Work on film productions. Assist a producer on set or in an office. If you can't find a paid gig then work for free.
2) Watch movies and read scripts and novels and articles etc. Producers develop stories so you need to be an avid watcher and reader of stories.
3) Learn about how to start and maintain a business in your state. Every film you produce is its own business. You will need to know how to start companies and follow the laws in your state.
4) Educate yourself on how to make a film. Read books and blogs written by successful filmmakers. Sign up for seminars and workshops. You can usually learn a few new things from each resource.
5) Attend film festivals. You can learn about current trends in indie filmmaking, watch films, attend panels, and meet people who can help further your career. Any festival experience is great, not just Sundance.
6) Constantly develop new film ideas. Start a development report and keep track of the stories you believe will make strong films. You never know when you will have an opportunity to pitch new ideas and you need to have a strong list going at all times.
7) Keep up with trends. It's important to have an idea of what is popular in the world. Films are often a reflection of the times. And remember you are developing ideas that need to be relevant in a couple of years so predicting trends, while seemingly impossible, is always the goal.
8) Work with new people. It's great to build a team with whom you like to work but don't be afraid to work with new people or incorporate new people into your team. Each film has its own family unit. And families can be enhanced by new members.
9) Become a social media guru. Embrace Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social media platform works for you. You are building a brand and you need to get that brand in front of your audience. The best way to do that as an independent filmmaker is through word of mouth and one of the most effective means of spreading your words is through social media. For example, I write this blog to help spread my brand. Hopefully, I'm helping to teach others as well.
10) Last but most importantly, Network! Get to know people in all areas of filmmaking because you will be working and often managing every aspect of a film's creation. Ask people to lunch or drinks or create a dialogue via email. Reach out to screenwriters and directors and learn about what they are working on. Ask to read their new projects. Engage talent and literary agents and managers and learn about their clients. Approach production companies, sales agents and distributors and inquire about what they are seeking. Keep your eyes and ears open about people with money who may be interested in investing in your films. And be friendly with other producers and think about how you can help each other. No matter how you network, just network everyday.