Posts Tagged ‘Jack Stack’

About The Film Producer

In Book, Communication, Griot, Movies, Networking, Self Improvement, TV Shows on October 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

The producer is the business head of the film, the person who assembles all the pieces of the jigsaw, be they the script, actors, cash, director… And a good producer is also a creative person who may not know how to ‘do it,’ but knows what needs to be done.

Prod BluePrint

A good producer is also an artist. Not a frustrated director, but a kind of business minded reflection of the director. They know what a great movie is and they will strive for it. They will always have the best interests of the movie at heart (and not their ego), they are pragmatic and at best, can work with the director to make the most of this opportunity (opposed to in conflict, and that also means that the conflict doesn’t come from the director too).

Prod BluePrint2

Producing a low budget film is a thankless task. You have no money. You have no real creative control. You’re inexperienced, so you make lots of mistakes that eat into your non-existent budget. Most cast and crew distrust you at best, and at worst, downright hate you! And to add insult to injury, no matter how hard you work on the film, not matter how much of your creative influence is embodied in the film, no matter whether you mortgaged your grandmother to pay for it, the director will get ALL the glory. Get used to it. No-one knows or cares who the producer is and people perceive the director as the entire creator of the work. If you want to drown your sorrows there too, having had the same treatment. The director is god, everyone else made coffee (except the camera person and actors). At least that’s the way 99% of the world will view it.

So why do it? It’s a good question. The truth is, I’m not sure. Yes, a low budget film can be a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but more often than not, it isn’t quite that. The experience can be invaluable, but so can the life of changing experience you would no doubt get from a car wreck. I guess it comes down to this. You just really want to do it and the challenge alone is sufficient fuel for the journey and the respect and acknowledgment of your very close peers who know ‘the truth’ will give you the measure of glory that you will be ‘cheated out of.’ And without doubt, there is a heady sense of achievement from attending the premiere for you movie, or the opening night of your theatrical release, or by renting it from your local video shop, and by finally ringing round all your friends to tell them that your movie is on TV next week.

Prod BluePrint3

The producer is the most powerful person in the film crew. They are the business and management head of the production. Whatever the problem, the buck will stop with the producer. ULtimately, they are the people who have the power to sign cheques, and hire or fire. But there’s so much more to it, most of which is downright unpleasant, except for the pathologically optimistic career motivated ‘I want to be a producer’ types. Fundamentally, producing can be often about as far away from filmmaking as you could possibly get whilst remaining theoretically within a film crew. You never get to hang out where the action is at, or ever get near to a camera or actors. The producer’s primary tool is a telephone, not a camera.

Put together a business plan outlining your overall strategy, timescales, cashflow, statistics, targets, short and long term goals, plot synopsis, storyboards, casting ideas, etc.  This will help when you speak to bank managers, accountants and investors.  It will also force you to consider the long term issues faced by you and your business.

Put together a business plan outlining your overall strategy, timescales, cashflow, statistics, targets, short and long term goals, plot synopsis, storyboards, casting ideas, etc. This will help when you speak to bank managers, accountants and investors. It will also force you to consider the long term issues faced by you and your business.

Prod BluePrint5

Let’s just assume for the purpose of this chapter that there is a film making that is producer and director, and together they are the writers. The director is perhaps the more talented writer, the producer being good at creative broad strokes and criticism. Nonetheless, together they are considerably stronger together than they would be alone )a fact that can often be forgotten). When it all goes horribly wrong and someone has to do the dirty work, probably YOU…YOU will feel like quitting because YOU feel you are doing much more than your partner(s). Will you be better off alone? No, you won’t I fear. Stick it out. Keep the peace. Build bridges.

Prod BluePrint6

So much of producing is just good old common sense. Look at the script. How are you going to do it? Can you do it? Make calls and see if what appears to be impossible is actually possible. Ask other film makers about their problems. Ask professionals for advice and help. If you make the right approach (polite and flattering) you will almost always get good free advice.

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Money. You never have enough of it. Not even on big budget movies. Having said that, working with a normal budget would afford the producer the luxury of being able to buy themselves out of most problems. On a low budget, you do not have the luxury, so must avoid costly mistakes wherever possible. This id obviously a bit of a problem because you are inexperienced and will therefore make simple mistakes. Add to that the fact that what you are doing in the first place, working outside of the system and in an unorthodox manner, is a direct invitation to unforeseen problems. Still, you have to get through it. Just think ahead. Always consider ‘what will happen if…’

The primary tool of the producer is the telephone. It's amazing just what you can get for free if you make the right approach. Always be courteous, professional, cheeky and respectful, and follow up any help with at the very least a thank you letter.

The primary tool of the producer is the telephone. It’s amazing just what you can get for free if you make the right approach. Always be courteous, professional, cheeky and respectful, and follow up any help with at the very least a thank you letter.

It will be the producer’s job to keep a tight grip on the financial reins. Wherever possible, you should seek to avoid payment of anything (bills, etc.) until after the shoot. Whatever your budget, I would lie about it and claim it is less. Everyone involved will base their calculations on your budget- what they think they or their equipment is worth, or how much budget their department should have. Understand that you will run out of money and that no all debts will stop you dead in your tracks. It’s not a popular thing to say, but if push comes to shove, you want to be paying the people who stand in the way of completing your film and pay in second position the people who are just complaining that they have not been paid but can’t do anything about it. This is financial crisis management. It will happen. Please don’t send me angry e-mails about this. I am not suggesting it as a cunning way to do crafty business, it is an observation of what will probably happen and the best way to deal with it for all concerned.

[Ref. source: The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint by Chris Jones]


So just the other day, I quoted the great Jack Stack
who pointed out that business has an ‘honesty lack.’

Now I’m not saying that the truth should be hemmed,
but according to Chris Jones – it’s appropriate in film.

Especially when your budget is concerned,
tell the truth to vendors and feel the burn.

So whatever your budget is, you always want to project less,
because a film production task is always quite the test.

Money. What money? You’ll run out quick and easy.
Keep relationships smooth – your attitude “breezy.”

It’s not impossible to be honest and make a great piece,
I’m Qui
and I just wanted to exhale this guerilla release.

Are you ready to produce a film? Be sure to have lots of fun.
Just follow the cinematic steps: 5-4-3-2-1.


Teen Film Troupe1 Teen Film Troupe2

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The GREAT GAME of Business

In Book, Networking, Self Improvement on October 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

Photo Flipbook Slideshow Maker

Jack Stack said:

Jack Stack Myth pg23

Page 23 — Being honest with people was unheard of at Melrose Park and at most other companies in the 1970’s. The whole mentality was, Cover your ass. If your job was to get parts, you never told your suppliers how many parts you really needed, or when you really needed them, because they’d screw you every time, or so the experienced schedulers told me. They said, “Lie, kid, lie.” If you’ve got enough parts to last you a couple weeks, tell ’em you’ll be out of stock by Friday.” It got to the point where nobody trusted anyone else’s numbers, and for good reason. They were all lying to each other to cover their asses.

But I had an advantage: I didn’t need to cover my ass. I didn’t have a family. I didn’t have any responsibilities. So when suppliers asked me what the situation really was in the factory, I told them the truth. I told them exactly how many parts we had in stock and how long we could go before we’d start having problems on the assembly line. I discovered that the more honest I was with them, the more they relied on me. They had their own scheduling problems, and they were desperate for information they could count on. As a result, they protected me. I was their source, and they made sure they never let me down.

The same thing happened when I began dealing with the shop floor. There we had a situation where nobody believed the schedules they were given because, once again, everybody was covering their asses. Let’s say the schedule called for the assembly line to make fifty Model X engines and fifty Model Y engines on a given day, but the people on the line have enough parts to fill the quota for the Model X’s. Instead they’d do two days’ production of Model Y. That tay they kept the line up and running, which meant their asses were covered, but they totally discombobulated everybody else, who now didn’t know what the line needed or when. So I went to the guys in assembly, and I said, “Look. From now on we are going to live by the schedule we put out, and we’re going to schedule from the assembly line all the way back. If a part isn’t here when it’s needed, we’re not going to make do with the parts we have. We’re going to shut down the line.”

Everybody was shocked. They said, “You can’t do that. The assembly line is god. You can’t shut it down.” I said, “Oh, yeah? Just watch me.” As it turned out, I only had to shut it down once. After that, people got in sync real fast. They decided that if I was willing to shut down the line to give them a schedule they could count on, they’d make sure they got parts there on time. As for me, I made sure they had everything they needed fto meet the schedule. If one department got in trouble, we’d send other people in to help out. Sure enough, our production began to go up. When I started the job, we were doing about 100 engines a day. By the time I left a year late, we were up to 300 engines a day.

Jack Stack Page25

[Ref. source:  The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack]

Whew! Thank God for myth busters and the Great Game of Business,
I’m Qui
about my the future, I’m on my honest REEL’ness.