WHAT DOES A PRODUCER WANT?

I have enjoyed this forum and thought it might be time to put in my two cents. I have produced exactly one movie which makes me a neophyte by movie standards—but a weary veteran by normal human standards.

Part 1

What do I want as a producer?  Good music for my movie!  That’s the beginning and end of it.

If I can get good music out of someone with the social skills of Rain Man, I’ll try it. (I’m probably already working with at least one person like that.)

If I can aim preposterously high and ask a huge composer to take a look at the film and see if he or she will do it, I will try. What’s the worst that would happen? They say no.

I probably have no money or little money but I’ll make the compensation work because I know music costs money. I am not stupid or unreasonable. You get what you pay for.

On the other hand I have no concern whatsoever for the working conditions of composers. NONE! Wearing my normal human hat, sure, I think it’s a shame composers do not have a guild the way actors, writers and directors do. But as a producer, I hate all the guilds, they are a pain in the ass.

I am a buyer in a buyer’s market. Sorry, I didn’t make it that way, but that’s how it is. I can throw a rock down Sunset Blvd. and hit a composer.

I have already been a desperate “seller” for probably two to three years—or more accurately “beggar” as I have begged for the money, begged for actors to do the movie, begged for locations and everything you can imagine under the sun—and a lot more you can’t.

As Marlon Brando said about making a movie, I have been pushing a pea with the bridge of my nose from here to Petaluma…and now all I want is GOOD MUSIC and to be DONE.

So if your music sucks—goodbye! Moving on!

If you are weird and not very human and treat me like an asshole who is scheming to screw you over—don’t worry! I won’t screw you over because I won’t even have the second phone call with you. GOODBYE!

If you assume that I am like any other producer who may have bad taste or poor ethics—DUMB! I am not responsible for any other producer. All I know is I have practically killed and bankrupted myself to make a movie and if you respond to my movie and can make great music for it—GREAT! If you hate the movie, just say you don’t think you can help and maybe point me in the direction of someone who can. Then I’ll owe you one.

I go through life begging for favors and giving favors too—I don’t forget. Be human, be cool, and we’re friends for life. Be a nudnik and GOODBYE!

This is me wearing my producer hat. I don’t care who is offended. I am serving the movie. It doesn’t matter that it’s MY movie, it’s THE movie, and I serve it. It is so brutally difficult that I do not have the slightest amount of energy to deal with people who are needy and complaining…IF I DON’T HAVE TO. If I have to? Sure, I’ll put up with it. That’s my job.

Is this fair? NO. Do I care? NO!

Are you an entry-level composer with a chip on his or her shoulder and mediocre music? GOOD LUCK. And GOODBYE!

Are you a great composer who is like Rain Man to manage? I’ll try you. But that’s just me.

Are you a great composer who is totally awesome personally and professionally? THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!

Discussion

Part 2

Let’s say I am a movie producer and you are a composer. I have produced exactly one movie, so that is true, and if you are on this group, chances are you are a composer.

Probably, I can’t help you.

For one thing, I don’t have a movie right now. For another, even if I did, I probably have a composer already…or a famous composer I would want to get…or all manner of choices besides YOU, a stranger.

What can you do to get on my radar?

You can ask me to listen to your music. It’s your choice whether to roll the dice. If it sucks, I’ll be mildly annoyed and never listen to anything else again. If it’s average, I’ll go, “oh, okay.”

If it’s great, I’d definitely make a mental note for the next time I had something appropriate.

But keep in mind—”great” is a tall order. I have ACTUAL great music on my iTunes. The Beatles. Michael Jackson. John Williams. Hours upon hours of the world’s greatest music. You are being graded on a steep curve, my friend.

So how do you get on my radar?

First of all, you can be a likable, interesting person. I can’t teach anybody how to do this.

Second of all, you can TRY TO HELP ME. How? Easy. Just say you’re a composer and that you’d love to hear about anything you CAN HELP ME WITH. You’re offering to be a FREE RESOURCE. Yes, I said FREE. No strings attached. Like this:

“Please call or email me if I can ever help with anything related to music. If you have a question about music or need a referral or a reference check or ANYTHING—call me. I would LOVE to help.”

Here’s why this will work.

Because I DO IT ALL THE TIME MYSELF!

How do you think I made a movie? By meeting people to raise money, hire talent, find crew, find a distributor, find a sales agent, and on and on.

I meet people in cafes. I meet people on airplanes. I meet people in elevators. I meet people EVERYWHERE. And I say the same thing: “I’m in entertainment,” or “I’m a producer,” and “if you ever have any questions just ask me.”

It’s not a trick! I’m not trying to worm my way into anybody’s life. Most people I will never hear from—I have no expectations.

If anybody gets offended, WHO CARES? I was just being nice.

Why am I so confident? Because—I honestly WAS just being nice! I am happy to help anybody whose path crosses mine.

For one thing, it’s a nice way to be. It makes me happy to help people.

On top of that, IT’S GOOD BUSINESS!

So to circle back to my opening—if we randomly meet, I probably can’t help you. You’re welcome to ask, but I can’t invent a movie just to give you a job, and I can’t refer someone I know nothing about to other people.

But YOU can help me. And you can help yourself in the process.

Train yourself to make it second nature to help anybody whose path you cross.

It really does work and bring rewards.

And even if it doesn’t, it will make you feel good.

Discussion