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Questions on becoming a producer?

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
It's never too late. If you want to work in TV or film one way to do it.... is to move to LA. It's where it's all made. That's always one option. Intern and work extremely hard and soak everything in and slowly move up the ladder.

The best advice I can give for anyone starting in TV or Film is:

  • Show up on time. (or even earlier)
  • Work hard. No slacking.
  • Do what you're asked and if you're not sure what people want ASK.
  • Follow through and finish what you started.
If you have drive and follow through you'll be able to do it. If people see that you work hard and follow through and care about your work you'll be hired again.

Although I would suggest finishing your GED. As for the major it would probably be TV/Film with a focus in producing.

Hope this helps. I'm currently an editor working in LA. I did the crazy drive out here from the East Coast without a job or anything waiting for me in 2001 - so it can be done.
 

Spreckles259

New Member
Yo. First of all, don't worry about how old you are. What's going to determine whether it's too late or not has more to do with your commitment, drive, and persistence. How far you are currently along the path to what you want to do is not a benchmark for success, imo. At the same time, if you feel like you haven't "done enough", then get out there and do it. I agree with everything the above poster said. Get an internship, start making short films, something. That'll help you feel like you're gaining the skills and life experience you need that could be beneficial in the long run, but even better is that you'll actively be a part of something you love and enjoy.

If you're interested in a path you could possibly take, one of my close friends is finishing his master's in producing at Chapman University. He received a bachelor's in film production at Berkeley first. He is TAing for three different professors, teaches two classes at community college (he taught a course on the Beatles while at Berkeley), and helped to produce three different student films this year. He interned at IMAX for a while--they've offered him a job and he hasn't even graduated yet. Like you, he absolutely loves movies.

He knew what field he wanted to be in from high school. But what ultimately got his professional life to be "damn near perfect" (his words) is his time management, work ethic, drive, and ability to learn, and his involvement--whether it be through TAing, interning, or being on a set. He got involved, and the degree to which he did it and how he went about it (with intelligence, and class)--that's what's gotten him the knowledge, experience, (and yes, connections) that's led to the position he's in today.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
But what ultimately got his professional life to be "damn near perfect" (his words) is his time management, work ethic, drive, and ability to learn, and his involvement


Bolded and underlined the above. It really all is about work ethic and drive - if you have it... you'll succeed. :)
 

DJ

Member
If you want to be a producer, I would strongly suggest looking into programs that will help you achieve that goal. As mentioned above, Chapman University is a fantastic film school, and if you're looking to transfer, they have an undergraduate creative producing program that might be perfect for you. Studying business is also a good way to get ahead of the film production crowd if you want to be a producer. Moving to LA is definitely a smart move as well, as you'll be able to network much easier there and perhaps find gigs as a PA or intern. There are lots of ways to go about it, but they all take a ridiculous amount of work, especially with how difficult it is to break into the business nowadays.

Below, I'll give you a little background and kind of how I went about it. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

I started with a degree in business administration and a minor in film / video from Drexel University. I then went to grad school and graduated from Chapman University in May '12 with a MFA in film / tv producing. I started out as an intern in October '11 with a very successful veteran Hollywood film producer. I worked with him a few days a week, while also going to class.

In the middle of my first semester, I started searching for my own material to produce -- scripts, pilots, and ideas for reality tv shows. I was urged to do so (and so were my classmates), by an agent from Paradigm that visited one of our producing classes. The film producer I worked for also recommended I find and develop my own material as well for the experience.

I then started networking with producers and production companies via IMDbPro -- just sending out cold emails to take general meetings, have a phone conversation, or exchange a few emails to try and build a working relationship and find out what they look for in projects they develop and produce. This proved to be incredibly beneficial. At first, a lot of people won't respond, but you just have to keep making contacts and introducing yourself.

I spent almost my entire second year networking and developing scripts and ideas, so I had an arsenal of projects to take out once I graduated. By March of my second year, I had been offered a job as an associate producer on a reality show, which I accepted. I'm still working on that reality show as a story producer. I made the connection on a random cold email, and it eventually turned into a job offer.

The most important thing is to really have the drive to want to do it because it's a long, hard road and without a real passion for producing, you will wonder why you're putting yourself through it. I did it because I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do, and I knew I would regret it if I didn't try. If you really have the passion to know you could work 20 hours/day, 7 days/week, then you should absolutely have what it takes. A lot of people want to get into the industry because they think it will make them famous or "high-profile" or whatever, but the ones that succeed get into the industry due to their sheer passion for entertainment and the biz.

Good luck!
 

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