“A producer needs to be creatively talented and financially aware,” says Dr Angus Finney; journalist, editor and now a producer at Two Four 54 Tadreeb, a professional media training academy in Dubai. But this does not come effortlessly. The business of making films is intricate as it was highlighted in the Production Management workshop as part of the Gulf Film Festival 2012.
Producers are the crucial ingredient to the mix that goes into making successful films. It is these individuals who must perform various tasks, right from locating a script to hiring a director, to making sure the film sees the light of day. “A producer must have the taste, the nose and the gut for a good story,” says Finney. They are an intensive lot who pour their hearts and souls into their projects, with very little in return and in the case of independent filmmakers, they create a product right from scratch with little help from the production companies. For the big wigs, production is a tricky trade too, as everything from the idea, to the final product must ultimately appeal to the audience.
Packaging a film is essential to ensuring it is sold and distributed in one, if not numerous markets. According to Finney, “Packaging is not the outer look, glossy ads and posters that make a film. The package is the very core of the film- the script, the producer, the director, the budget and the cast.” It is the arrangement of this package that will either make or break a film. The person in charge of the package is the producer. In the trade of making films, producers remain the key element to creating a product for the audience. By understanding the package available, a skilled producer can create a film that works creatively and financially too. Production management then, is not a clear science with tried and tested formulas. It is more like a game where you must understand the players- the product, the financiers and the audience of a film and make them play for your team.
Festivals, financiers and film markets are where the producers head on to, after completion of their films. Selling a film is nearly half as important as making it. As Finney said, “If a film repays its budget, it will make money every year through internet streaming, TV rights and more. If you get to the point that you can repay your money, you’re in business.” We go the cinemas to experience the magic. With the right producer and the right technique, any film can do just that.
By Rabab Kazi