Are Producers And Reps Spawns Of Satan?


Welcome to Hollywood
I swear in this post.  A lot.  I'm in that kind of mood. 

You have been warned. 


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Producers 'n managers 'n agents.  Oh my! 

Who are these mystery men of Hollywood?  Well according to popular myth, producers are the money-men who constantly get in the way of artistic vision, agents are the sleazy used car salesmen of the film industry, and managers?! As far as anyone can tell, they suck off the teat of artists, but no one's really 100% sure exactly what they do.  And collectively, they all screw screenwriters.  (They screw actors and directors too, but mostly screenwriters.) 

These are the stereotypes, and they're bullshit. 

Did you catch that?! 

Bullshit. 

Great producers, managers and agents aren't just the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers. They are true artists, no less valuable than great actors, directors, and screenwriters - and just as hard to actually find. 

I may get some flack for calling them artists, but I stand by it. Can you put a project together, secure financing, recognize and bring in the precise elements necessary to bring it to life, juggle dozens or hundreds of cast, crew, deadlines, and tasks that all make solving world peace look easy in comparison... and actually pull it off against ridiculously bad odds? 

Art, baby. 

Do you have the balls to stake your entire career on a hunch that the one script you found, out of a sea of thousands, is not only the quality that studios want, but also timely, marketable, and irresistible? Are you that in tune with what strikes a chord with audiences? 

Fucking art. 

Is your eye so finely tuned that you can identify a mighty oak from a seed buried under six feet of shit, and have the balls to commit a good chunk of your heart and soul to nurturing it? 

Fucking Picasso. 

Seeing good reps and producers do their magic is a rare thing of beauty.  But these professions are portrayed as the enemy, Satan's bastard children, a necessary evil.  They're anti-artist, whose sole purpose is to throw monkey wrenches into the creative process, screwing everything up, and generally causing conflict. 

D'uh.  Of course there are conflicts.   If there are no conflicts, people aren't passionate enough about the project. 

Passion.  The cornerstone of art.  Never for a second think that reps and producers aren't as passionate as you are about a project.  And with good people, conflicts push a project forward to a place where it's far better than it started out to be.  And that's how it should be.  A collaboration of artists where everyone just wants to make a fucking awesome movie. 

These guys don't get enough credit for what they do.  Sure, they might get a film credit, or a public thank you, or a nice bottle of hooch from the talent, and yeah, they get a paycheck, but really, they get the short end of the stick.  Nobody outside of Hollywood gets to the end of a movie and says, "That was beautifully produced, or, "Man, whoever set that up was a genius!," or, "That career has been handled so well..." 

These guys aren't grunt workers babysitting artists. They're an essential part of the artistic magic, without which, nothing would ever get made. 

So why so much hate for these all but invisible behind-the-scenes artists?  How can these wonderful, gifted people, be labeled as spawns of Satan? 

It's simple.  A truly great screenwriter is one in a million.  So too is it for truly great producers, agents and managers. 

And, like screenwriters, there are some truly bad producers and reps lurking around out there too.  It's these bad seeds that fuel the negative stereotypes.  Bad ones, screw you out of deals, don't negotiate in your best interest and can burn entire projects to the ground. They prey on naive screenwriters hoping to break in. They are nothing more than talentless hacks looking for easy money conning inexperienced wanna-bes with promises of fame and glory. 

The Bitter Script Reader has a few good posts about this nasty breed here, and here.  Read them.  He is much wiser than I.

And there are some pretty basic red flags you can watch out for too.

1) Pros don't charge for reads.  (They make their money from getting your script made, not raping your pockets.)

2) Pros don't require you to use services as a condition for getting read, or getting priority reads.

3) Pros avoid conflicts of interest. (ie:  If he's repping you AND negotiating your deal?)

4) Pros don't charge for a chance to be considered for production.

5) Pros don't make your skin crawl or seem to have no clue about what they're doing.

If you come across any of these, or even the hint of any of these... Well, I'm not saying they're scum-sucking bottom feeders, but do yourself a favor and do your research. 

No deal is better than a bad deal.  And you owe it to yourself and your scripts to find the best pros possible to bring your work to life.  If something seems too good to be true?  It probably is.

Now back to the producer, agent and manager love.  Next time you're blown away by a film, thank one of these guys.  They deserve it.  (And if they're cute, single, and look like Clive Owen, give em my number.)





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