So, I've been learning and moving my way up the producer ladder for about a year and a half now and the knowledge that I have garnered about film making and "behind the scenes" stuff has just been amazing.
I could have NEVER learned this stuff in school. Hands on is the only way to do it, for me.
I've co-produced enough films and been on enough sets that I can now comfortably refer to myself as an actual producer.
I can break down a script, do a budget, arrange locations and permits, arrange and/or do crafty and first-aid. I know the roles that each member of our crew plays, what they are responsible for as an individual, and what they are responsible for as a team. Hell, I can even cast, although I leave that to those who are better at it than me.
I've handled emergencies, I've been a "personality-manager", and I've settled disputes. I've also had to play "hard-ball" with people -- which I don't actually like to do, but can do it if I have to. Mostly I leave that to one of my partners. You know, the whole "good cop/bad cop" thing? Well, I'm the good one.
As much as I've learned about producing, I'm going to admit that to get to where I am today, I had to make a lot of mistakes.
The good thing about mistakes, though -- at least for me -- is that you only have to make them once. Then you NEVER forget.
And I've made some pretty good ones.
Once, I shut down a set by plugging in the kettle for tea. It blew the power to the whole location, right in the middle of shooting a difficult scene. It was, like, two in the morning and I will never forget the look of exasperation I got from our electrician as he's rewiring to get things up again.
To this day, I still haven't lived that one down and it happened at least a year and a half ago.
Ah, well, live and learn. And I did learn. Ever since, whenever I want my special tea, I am very careful to check with craft services and the electrician to see which plug I can use.
Anyway, I know that a few of you who read this blog are aspiring producers, so I want to share the BIGGEST thing I've learned about producing.
GOOD, FAST and CHEAP.
Those are the magic words when it comes to producing, but the catch is, you only get to use two of them.
You can make a movie GOOD and FAST, but it won't be CHEAP. (you want everyone to put their other projects on hold to work solely on yours to get it done, you have to be prepared to pay. Alternatively, we can hire a couple of extra editors to get it done for you, but again, you have to be prepared to pay for it)
You can make a movie CHEAP and GOOD, but it won't be FAST. (you want everyone to work for cheap and you want us to pull in favors for you, then you have to be prepared to wait. Your project is on the "roster" with the others)
And finally, you want to make a movie CHEAP and FAST, it won't be GOOD. (and for the record, in respect to my professional reputation, I ALWAYS decline these projects and I hope you would, too)