As a producer, I love working with directors. I get caught up in their passion and joy for bringing stories to life. I marvel at a director's creative vision and have spent most of my career finding the means to bring the visions I believe in to life.
The producer/director relationship is like a marriage. They're passionate, exciting, unique and emotionally charged. When making an independent film, you go into a project as partners and the idea is to remain partners in that film for its life, right?
And in like a marriage, it takes equal effort to ensure the health of a project.
There is a phase when a producer/director marriage is tested. It's usually after the premiere is over and the theater doors have closed.
It's the time when your baby is being let out into the world to find its place. It's such a critical phase in your baby's life. A phase when your baby needs you both there, supporting it, introducing it to new people, and contributing to its success.
It's not the time for either of you to pack your bags and take off to solely focus on creating a new baby and leave your old babies behind.
When this happens, it's like your spouse just left you after years of an amazing marriage. It hurts your partner (director or producer) who believed in you and did everything in his or her power to make the film a success during its creation. And worst of all it hurts your baby - the beautiful thing you created out of love for storytelling.
If you're going to make a film then commit to every phase of its life. Your film needs you. And so does your partner. There may be cases when you explain to your partner that you can't be there for them all of the time and that's okay if you give your partner a heads up and it's a mutually agreed upon arrangement. Every relationship is different. The key is respecting your partner and his or her time and ensuring the health of your baby.
Every time you tell your partner, you don't have time to do something, you are making your partner do it all. It's not like that task goes away. You have just put it on the very shoulders that are crumbling from having to take care of the baby you created together. It's disheartening, sad and exhausting to be the one carrying all of the weight. Don't do that to your partner. Figure out a way to be there or to find help.
You went into this journey together and created something you both so badly wanted to create. Don't abandon the journey. Take it together to the end. Otherwise, your film doesn't deserve to be made.