Being a Producer Requires Extreme Self-Criticism

Being a producer requires self-criticism Film Criticism
"Only Superman never has to wear a seat belt in a car." - Muhammad Ali | © Pixabay

Anyone who has reached the career level of producer would do well to think outside the box from time to time and create a higher-level reference system for self-monitoring.

Once a person is able to do what he must be able to do in order to perform his job and function, only the amount of his own available energy determines his success or failure.

Being a producer is a demanding management job that promises many adventures. It can usually only be reached by adventurous routes and not without hurdles and detours. However, once you have acquired a management position in a film production, are able to negotiate properly and can state with a clear conscience that he or she is made for this profession, you will discover the fascination of filmmaking anew every day.

Five simple questions will help you recognize a good producer:

  1. Does the producer put his own position above the result of his work?
  2. Is the popularity of his person more important to him than taking responsibility for his actions and making unpleasant but necessary decisions?
  3. Does he ignore facts and make decisions based on emotion where the facts clearly contradict them?
  4. Does he prefer superficial harmony to constructively addressing and resolving conflicts?
  5. Does he have the ability to admit his own mistakes? Or does he want to seem flawless and blame others?

Job description producer

If the profession is a vocation, a source of pleasure and thus dominated by fascination and pressure to perform in equal measure, there is a risk of forgetting the essentials. Because not only the film to be created is essential.

Also important are the endless number of people involved in each film making process. For a seasoned producer, that’s a trite observation. And yet, not every producer looks in the mirror every day and engages in self-criticism with those around them. And if so, complicating matters is the fact that, unlike Snow White, many mirrors around a producer tell fairy tales.

The producer function is always about influence, self-awareness, self-knowledge and ego. Bad movies can’t be avoided in the movie business. It’s different with bad habits and your own abilities. If you want to improve them, you can improve them.

Putting your own position above the work result

There’s no such thing as a free lunch in the movie business. Every producer has worked hard for his position over a long way. Once he has reached his professional goal and the long-awaited position is finally on his business card under his own name, a new phase in his professional life begins. The first projects and years you grow into your new position as a producer, consolidate your skills and position and proceed with due caution.

Eventually, success or routine takes over. Then it becomes dangerous. It is not without reason that in the media business, and not only there, it is true that what makes you big makes you small again! Long-term success as a producer only comes to those who treat each project as their first. Success in film is only possible collectively. At the end of the day, the viewer (or client in the case of an image film) is not interested in the makers, but in whether the film, i.e. the producer’s work product, is good.

Putting your own popularity above your responsibilities as a producer

Dealing with competence can be pleasurable. Power has addictive potential. Becoming film producer is something many people dream of. A producer can fulfil (his) wishes. Sometimes he is supposed to, giving in to negotiations and spending money on the unexpected or forgotten is even imperative to the success of the project. But if this ensures one’s own popularity instead of film quality, a producer has misunderstood his profession.

Film projects are created in so-called socio-technical structures and clusters. Socio stands for the social, human component. However, success always requires a (“technical”) infrastructure and framework conditions. The responsibility for the functioning of this complex double structure lies with the producer. At the end of the day, no one will say thank you if a film production has to be cancelled or fails due to lack of responsibility and the half-finished film cannot be used by the film team as a reference for a next job.

Putting feelings before facts

Those who produce films work with feelings. You can only work with your feelings if you admit them and stand by them. But feelings can be colossally deceiving, especially in the usually highly complex production of film and video at the intersection of project work, communication and art.

Numbers and feelings are not twins in the business of film and video, but distant relatives. They have to learn to approach and appreciate each other over and over again. It is one of the most difficult tasks of the producer to reconcile emotions and facts. In the fast-moving film business, those who believe that yesterday’s experience is a guarantee of tomorrow’s success may feel good about it, but they rarely have a future.

Putting harmony above confrontation

Brawlers and aggressors like Harvey Hollywood rarely make it to executive positions in film. But neither do purring cuddly cats! Many people don’t like conflict. They find confrontation stressful because conflict usually means change, is often painful and frightening.

In almost every film project, situations develop in which confrontation is unavoidable. Avoiding confrontation for the sake of harmony is wrong. However, it is just as wrong not to try to restore harmony after confronting and clarifying the situation.

Putting invulnerability above trust

No human being is flawless. No one is free from personal feelings. Producers who try to position themselves as error-free decision-making machines are making the biggest possible mistake of all. You can’t show your weaknesses as a producer any clearer than that.

Regardless of what functional level you’re at in the film business, everyone on a film crew experiences things and processes that are wrong, annoying, or painful. The producer bears the ultimate responsibility for these. Strong and trustworthy are those who, as decision-makers, can admit that they are neither faultless nor invulnerable.

The producer: In summary

A producer should leave his ego at the cloakroom at the beginning of the project and have enough backbone to walk upright through his production. The collective intelligence of film crews is astonishingly high. Whoever lays instead of delivers, whoever only plays producer instead of being, fails to recognize the responsibility of his function. And is in the wrong place.

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

Zachery Z.
About Zachery Z. 60 Articles
Zachery Zelluloid war in der Unterhaltungsindustrie tätig. Er schreibt unter Pseudonym, weil er weder vertraglichen Schweigepflichten verletzen, noch das wirtschaftliche Fortkommen der Berufsgattung Anwalt fördern oder Freunde brüskieren will. Sein richtiger Name ist der Redaktion bekannt.

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