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Film Degree Worth It for a Producer?

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#1 John W. King

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 06:26 PM

Hello all,

 

Within the past few years, I've been hearing that getting a film degree won't actually get you anywhere in the industry, only the people you know and the talent you have can. Well, does the same apply for a producer?

 

 

Merely curious.


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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 07:47 PM

The best training for a producer is business or law, not film school.

 

Producer's can always hire the production talent they need.  What a producer needs is a knowledge of how to deal with banks, distributors, and private equity.  None of this will be taught in a film school because the people who teach in film schools have never got a movie financed and into the market place.

 

R,


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#3 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 11:33 PM

Pretty rough write-off of film schools, and a bit unwarranted. 

 

This debate is eternal. Many great people have come from them. Like many things, what you get out of film school is almost directly tied to what you put into it. 


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 01:35 AM

Some producers have suggested having a law degree is a useful qualification. I know a few who have one.


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 04:46 AM

Richard is pretty much so right in terms of producers-- Business or Law, and a really good credit goes a lot further than film studies. I wonder if another avenue to look into would be marketing/advertising-- honestly can't say whether or not it'd be applicable as I took none of those classes and didn't really run in those circles when I was in school, but one would think, would be helpful in the whole selling what you shot bit.

 

(note, i went to film school, I can't say i regret it necessarily; but I certainly wouldn't do it again, nor advise others to do it unless they really thrive in that type of environment / are going to one of the top film schools / aren't certain they want to do film. )


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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 12:48 PM

I am speaking specifically about the job of a producer.  Which is a job very few people on set even understand, let alone those outside of the movie industry.  If the average crew member knew half the story behind what it took to get the movie they are working on into production, they would be shocked.

 

Now have a look at this picture, what is this?  This is the bank deal for my latest movie. All those yellow tabs are places I have to sign. This is only one half the paper work, the other half is the distribution contracts, actors contracts, co-pro documents (mountains of them) the list goes on.   There were four law firms involved, and I had to pay the fees for all of them.

 

There isn't a film school in the world that preps people to deal with this.  This is where your business and law background would prove invaluable.  Yes, I've set myself up for a classic response from Phil Rhodes, it's coming.  :D

 

R,

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#7 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 07:15 PM

Surely you must have had a broker or an entertainment attorneys help with some of that.  Looks like a nightmare.  I know a guy prepping an indie feature with an attorney who is also a broker/producer.  Efficient but expensive.  Dude has an hourly rate close to my day rate.   There are film financing attorneys who specialize in these types of deals but I'm not sure how easy it is to retain someone.  Can you speak to that?  Any advice on finding someone?


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 15 June 2015 - 07:17 PM.

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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 07:29 PM

Yes Michael, as I said, there were four law firms involved, one of them was mine.  That's all well and good except a producer still needs to have a solid understanding of ALL the paperwork.  Why?  It's the producer that signs with the bank, not the lawyer.

 

And it is very expensive, $350.00/hour adds up real fast across four law firms.  FYI, the producer must pay for all of the banks legal costs as well.  Tip of the day.

 

R,


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#9 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 12:06 AM

I would expect the first necessary step is to get the script to name talent and their L.O.I's so you can get a presale contract for the investors.  That would lead me to assume the casting director seems like the first hire.  Or would it be the attorney since you'd need them to write an offer letter for the actors you want.   Without the financing secured, is it mostly bridge loans to cover the dealmaking process?  Since so many parties need to sign off before you can actually get the money so that they will all sign off.  Please write that book on this.  haha.  You know, after you wrap and all.  But a book for dummies with no track record.  Shine a light on this obstinately quixotic process.


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 16 June 2015 - 12:08 AM.

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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 04:05 AM

There are a number of books about producing:

 

http://www.amazon.co...=film producing

 

http://www.amazon.co...4VBKWKCGW9RH2NA

 

http://www.amazon.co..._bxgy_14_text_y

 

http://www.amazon.co...W2S1TP19SQZ3VX5

 

Plus others.

 

Also short courses:

https://nfts.co.uk/o...business-skills


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 16 June 2015 - 04:07 AM.

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#11 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 09:04 AM

Thanks.  I actually bought a few books for other people years ago. Before producing myself was even a consideration.   The American Bar one looks interesting.   I still think Richards would be an interesting read since he's producing as well as directing.    


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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 09:39 AM

Please write that book on this.  haha. 

 

I've been asked a 100 times to do this, I already have a title, Make Your Own Damn Movie.

 

Chapter 1: Do not make a movie.

 

R,


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#13 Justin Hayward

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 12:28 PM

There are no "producer" classes in film school, because every new film student would drop it after the first day.  :lol:   What's considered producing in film school is simply organizing a student film, which doesn't often include lawyers, but there is something to be said for securing a location, figuring out how to get talent, finding insurance if needed... things like that.  And if you really want to be a producer, there will be no shortage of student films that will happily bring you on board if your only fee is "experience."  But, come to think of it, you may be able to do that anyway without paying tuition.    ;)


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#14 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 01:41 PM

The National Film & TV School in the UK has producing courses: https://nfts.co.uk/o...sters/producing

 

Doing a student film often isn't producing in the fullest sense, it's probably more production management, a producer secures rights, puts in place a package with director and talent, gets funding, distribution and numerous other aspects required in the life of a film.. 


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#15 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 01:59 PM

There are no "producer" classes in film school, because every new film student would drop it after the first day.  :lol:   

 

Ha Ha, quite right Justin.  It's more difficult than young people can imagine, and yet.....one can learn. Many have done so.

 

R,


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#16 Phil Connolly

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 02:00 PM

The National Film & TV School in the UK has producing courses: https://nfts.co.uk/o...sters/producing

 

Doing a student film often isn't producing in the fullest sense, it's probably more production management, a producer secures rights, puts in place a package with director and talent, gets funding, distribution and numerous other aspects required in the life of a film.. 

 

The NFTS Producing course covers more then just production management (they have a separate course for that). It does cover some of the business side. The tutors they get in are working producers and the head of the School is Nik Powell (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0694252/)- who does understand the business of film.

 

I don't think film school can ever fully prepare you for the industry but some courses do give you a good place to start. 


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#17 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 02:04 PM

 

The NFTS Producing course covers more then just production management (they have a separate course for that). It does cover some of the business side. The tutors they get in are working producers and the head of the School is Nik Powell (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0694252/)- who does understand the business of film.

 

I don't think film school can ever fully prepare you for the industry but some courses do give you a good place to start. 

That Nik Powell. Respect.


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