In a business relationship, what is said is important. Mostly even more important is what is written. But most important is what is not said. And that cannot always be read between the lines. This article names 10 facts that a film producer would never admit.
Before a surgeon operates on his patients, he is legally obliged to inform his protégé about actual and possible risks. A film producer or a video maker for contract productions therefore takes a different view. Even though the knowledge gap between provider and service recipient is often as spectacular as between doctor and patient.
But who, what, to whom, why, and when, as in the case of a film production, there are hardly any rules in the moving image business. Where there are no rules, it is similar to the question of what determines the length of a miniskirt. Its limits are determined by two factors: decency on the one hand and the floor on the other.
Evaluate film producers
In professional communication with moving images and in the film business, these three factors determine the rules of the game:
- the character of the responsible leader,
- the strategy with regard to the sustainability of customer relations, and last but not least
- the life experience.
5 things that no film producer says soberly
Any film producer with enough experience knows
1Dead as a coffin nail
Videos are projects. Projects are prototypes. Whether already during the project analysis, during the planning of an imagefilm or only during the project management and implementation. Projects can go to hell.
|Project expertise||Insist and establish that not only successes but also failures in communication are addressed. One often learns more from failures than from success.|
Even if the competence is there. This is not only stated by statistics, but, as is shown time and again in films, which wander through the world as seemingly dead zombies, misunderstood and forgotten.
2Even great talents have bad days
About Kim Jong-il they said in North Korea that he does not have to go to the toilet. That is because the Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Committee is so strongly and continuously committed to his country that the energy required for this purpose effortlessly burns all the body’s own pollutants and therefore does not have to eliminate them. Whoever does not possess this privilege of the “dear leader” is what we all are: a human being.
|Error rate||When filling key positions, make sure that one person per function is on an equal footing with the service providers and can step in as a back-up to ensure that communication works from crisis to crisis.|
People have good and bad days. Even the Pope has to go to the bathroom. It doesn’t have to be like the director who found out on the first day of shooting in one of my first films in the USA that his young wife was leaving him for a Tantra teacher. The poor man was no longer usable on the set from that moment on.
3Unsuitable for film
Filmed Excel spreadsheets have a charm of their own. Namely none. There are contents and facts that are better consumed where they belong. On paper or online, as font, graphic table or chart. Explanatory videos are grateful recipients for almost everything, but sometimes even this genre can’t help. Unfortunately, the same has to be said about people who, because of their photogenicity, either prefer to have only photos taken of themselves (a single image can be retouched and optimized less elaborately), or do not belong in front of a camera at all.
|Skills||Moving images transport emotions and information. This transport is only possible through identification with people. You can like numbers and tables, but you can’t love them. Communication always has an emotional component.|
If a video does not improve the desired statement, but worsens or falsifies it, the moving image is the wrong recipe.
4Costs based on experience
There’s a quote by the great Stanley Kubrick that says, “What you can’t write and can’t explain, you should tell in a film.” If you as a film producer know what film can achieve, you will agree with this.
Only: explain this to the purchasing department of a major corporation when you’re making a commissioned film. Your contact person from the procurement department will be enthusiastic or will use your arguments as excuses. Or despair. Because he doesn’t want to pay for impact, but for individual parts.
|Experience||Experience has not only a price, but also a value. Declaring and communicating reserves openly promotes both the quality of the work and customer confidence|
The unspeakable, understandable, usually triggers greater fears in people than a project or production interruption, which can be delegated to the legal department.
5Roosters and fighting dogs
In beautiful Berlin I was allowed to work on a film at a young age. The director was highly motivated, the story was great and the young leading actress was disturbingly attractive. On the second day of shooting we were categorically refused entry to the location by a representative of the production company.
The entire crew stood on the Alexander in icy cold, legs in their stomachs, wondering what was going on, while I, in my function as production manager, desperately tried to get the responsible film producer on location. After hours of waiting, we left irritated. Two days later the shooting was stopped. The next day and after some crisis meetings it turned out that the film producer and director did not agree on the content of the film.
|Congruence of objectives||Strong film works are neither created by screwing them together nor when they are used according to regulations. Fight conflicts about this in advance.|
It is a truism that director and film producer should pull together. Where internal power struggles rage, the quality of the film is the first victim. In such cases it is advisable, not only as a producer, to wait for the end of the wound cleaning, which is usually conspicuous in the end.
Another 3 things that no film producer admits
AIt’s only a movie
The most beautiful film and the best video is nothing without an audience. Without a distribution strategy no film finds its audience. And without an audience a film can neither develop its power nor its impact. Whether a large or small investment: Few videos deserve not to face the judgment of their audience.
|Marketing||Plan measures at an early stage and also consider them for image and product films.|
And no! YouTube is not a synonym for film marketing. Virals that are supposed to become a huge success by themselves are like Hollywood stars: for every success there are hundreds of thousands of desperate attempts to make the impossible possible. Content is King. But distribution is queen. And stupidity is eternal.
Those who know exactly what they want do not need creative minds. You need mathematicians who derive numbers from the formula in their own briefing. Agreed: The creation must be to the point. It must provide the necessary answers. But please in an original, unexpected way. Creative, in other words. That can be painful. A good movie producer knows this.
|Concept development||Trust is by no means everything, but without trust everything is nothing. That too is what connects film and communication.|
Where expectations are only to be met, but not exceeded, no golden boy can be won.
CWhen the half-life is halved
The stronger the flood of media, the higher our media consumption, the shorter the span of memory that we have in our minds when we watch movies and watch films. It is a privilege to accompany and implement major film projects as a film producer. But whereas the marketability of an image film used to be 5 to 12 years depending on the industry, today it is often only a few months.
|Life span of the video||Movies can be for eternity. At the movies. For the video budget in a commissioned film the following applies: achieved effect and frequency = success.|
Der Innovationsdruck treibt viele Marktteilnehmer zu immer neuen Bestleistungen in immer kürzerer Zeit. Es ist nicht die dümmste Strategie, statt auf Großbild-Dinosaurier auf kleinere Film-Einheiten in größeren Stückzahlen für Social Media zu setzen.
Which is not what the film producer says either:
★The sun shines above the clouds
When you say film, as a film producer you think of HBO, of Netflix and of the big screen at eye level with the big screen. This is where the standards for storytelling are defined and visually, culturally as well as in terms of content are set anew. At the highest level.
|Expectations||Clarify not only from the perspective of the client and sender, but also from the perspective of the audience|
For the Videojournalist, who is supposed to deliver the same quality as a one-man show (film is film? video is video?), this is an almost impossible task. Therefore and again: there are videos that better never be made. However, this is comforting, even in Hollywood.
★The cake recipe thing
Sensitive spirits with an aversion to strong words please skip this sentence from here on. My probably most important promoter and teacher in dealing with moving pictures used to declaim – at that time with frightening frequency for me – in sessions with raised hands: “You can’t bake a cake out of shit”. There is nothing to add to this.
|Storytelling||Storytelling consists of three words: story, telling and talent (the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland).|
Conclusion: Wise is a film producer, if …
After a certain age and workload it is simply no longer worthwhile as a film producer to hide the truth. Speaking plain language is the motto.
Quite simply because at the end of a hectic day you sometimes don’t know who you told what and who you didn’t tell. “Blessed are the stupid, for they know not when they are deceived.” If you’re a film producer who lives by this motto, you’re sailing on the wrong track.