The producer must ensure that a film is produced on time and within budget.  The producer is not the only one involved in the making of a film though.  There are many participants and each participant must function well as a group in order to ensure the success of a film’s production.

Film Production Talent RelationshipsGreat motion pictures are the result of a team of professional artists coordinating their individual talents in order to form a greater whole.  Collectively, these artistic professionals are referred to as a film’s talent.

A film’s talent includes its:

  • Actors
  • Assistant directors
  • Casting directors
  • Cinematographers
  • Composers
  • Costumers
  • Directors
  • Editors
  • Make-up artists
  • Set designers
  • Special effects
  • Transportation specialists
  • Unit production managers
  • Writers

All of these elements must coordinate in order to produce the final product.  A producer must be an expert in relationships, therefore, in order to ensure not only that a film’s talent works together to create the envisioned story, but that it does so within the time and budget restraints of the film.  Read on to learn more about the producer’s role in maintaining a productive relationship with a film’s talent.

Selecting a director

One of the first tasks of film production requires the selection of a director.  Choosing the right film director is important, as the director is the individual who attracts talent by having a reputation for respecting actors and giving them creative freedom within their role in the film.

Producers can select a director before, during, or after the development of a film bas begun, depending on the specific needs of the producer.  If the producer would like help in creating the story then he or she can choose a director while the story is being developed.

Having two creative experts working on the development of the story can help uncover some creative ideas that might not have otherwise been uncovered. If, rather, a producer wishes to select someone best able to carry out an already finished vision for a film, the director can be selected after the story has been fully developed.

Finally, in selecting a director, it is important to analyze a candidate based on his or her past performance.  Are they known for being able to reliably finish a film that is within budget and on schedule?

Working with talent and their agents

Since a film’s talent must effectively and efficiently work together in order to produce a great motion picture, producers are curious to know whether talent candidates will be a good fit for a particular film before hiring them.

Producers set up creative meetings to see if they and the talent candidate will be able to work well toward achieving a particular film’s artistic goals.  In order to assist them in negotiating fair deals and in searching for a project that is best able to advance their career, talent hire agents to represent them.  Agents also protect their clients from misrepresentation.

Undercapitalized producers may try to get funding for a film by telling a lender that they have hired a particular actor before actually doing so in the hope that the lender will give them more money under the assumption that talent has already been acquired. If that particular actor or actress does not participate in the film, the lender may try to sue.

In order to protect their clients from this sort of misrepresentation, agents usually require that they be present in any and all meetings between their client (talent) and a film’s producer.   If a producer wishes to meet with talent without their agents being present, they should be prepared to submit, in writing, that:

No representation will be made to anyone outside the production company that any relationship exists between the talent and the production company

No deals will be made without the talent’s agent being present

If the creative meeting goes well and the producer wishes to pursue the talent, the producer prepares to negotiate a deal.

Deal negotiation

Talent can be acquired during both the development and the production phase of a film’s production.  Sometimes lead acting talent is acquired long before film production begins in order to make sure that they will have an open schedule for filming and other times they are acquired only when film production is ready to begin.  The producer will also have to choose whether to negotiate for a non-exclusive deal or an exclusive deal.

An exclusive deal binds the talent to a specific performance schedule but is more difficult to negotiate and is more expensive as talent will be expected to turn down any and all other offers during the specified time period.  Non-exclusive deals have an unspecified start date and do not interfere with talents’ other activities.  Because of this it is easier and often less expensive to negotiate a non-exclusive deal.

In addition to determining what kind of deal to offer talent, producers will have to be prepared to discuss dollar offers for talent.  To prepare, producers should familiarize themselves with what talent has been paid in the past, in order to determine whether the talent’s current quote will be negotiable.  It is also important to keep in mind the budgetary constraints of the film when negotiating talent.  If lead talent asks for too much money then a producer is faced with the choice of negotiating for a lower price or selecting from other candidates.

Profit sharing

In addition to set dollar fees, talent can be offered a part of the final profit from the motion picture’s performance.  This can have the added effect of motivating talent to do their best in telling a great story as a great film usually turns a larger profit.

Talent Reserve

As a safety net, producers should also have backup talent in mind in case negotiations with primary talent are not successful.  This ensures that production remains on schedule and within budget no matter the outcome of primary talent negotiation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the production of a motion picture requires that producers be adept in managing people.  Great films are the product of individuals working together to complete a story’s vision.  Not only must they work together but they must work together within the constraints of a specified schedule and a specified budget.  In order to ensure that this can be done, producers are faced with the task of choosing the best talent team for producing a particular motion picture.

Producers must be able to negotiate well with talent and the agents that represent them and must have back-up talent choices in case negotiation with primary talent is not successful for whatever reason.  In addition to money, profit sharing can be used as a means of attracting the best talent.  Lastly, producers should never forget that respecting talent and allowing them creative freedom in the film goes a long way in ensuring the best performance from all talent involved in its production.