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Creative Producer – Line Producer

FIRST SEMESTER – PRODUCING

The pre-production, production, and post-production crews, the different producers and their functions

  • Crew and the producer working in the pre-production phase
  • The shooting crew and their jobs
  • The post-production team and their tasks
  • The different producers

The role and tasks of the creative producer

  • Choosing the right screenplay and the proper writer for it, overseeing script revisions
  • Requesting analysis and a script-breakdown
  • Packaging (bringing in commercial elements)
  • Choosing the director
  • Finding and choosing producing partners, setting up a co-production
  • Financing, applying for competitions
  • Managing a production from start to finish
  • The post-production control
  • Applying for film festivals, hiring an international sales agent
  • Monitoring, accounting and distributing the income

The role and tasks of the line-producer and the first assistant director, (shooting schedule, budget, call-sheet)

I. First stage – Preparing the pre-production

  • Round of duties with the screenplay
  • Shooting schedule
  • Assigning the actors and the stuntmen
  • Preparing your own production manual
  • Creating a budget
  • The involvement and the tasks of the first AD

II. Second stage – Pre-production

  • Setting up meetings
  • Location scouting
  • Finding the right actors
  • Locking the shooting crew
  • Overseeing the bookkeeping

III. Third stage – Finalizing  the necessary elements

  • Locations and cast
  • Adjusting the budget and the production plan according to them

IV. Fourth stage – Locking the budget and the shooting schedule

  • Technical review of the locations
  • Daily call-sheets

 

The script supervisor’s role and tasks

  • Script breakdown and measuring the scenes’ durations
  • Script continuity sheets
  • What should we pay attention to?
  • Common mistakes

 

The art of negotiation for a producer

I. The psychology and techniques of negotiation

II. Solving the conflicts

III. The tricks of negotiating a deal

IV. Background information and market research

V. A competitive bid

VI. Successfully negotiating a deal

 

How a producer makes short films, students films

The guide of micro-budget feature films for the producer

Micro-budget – A case study for the producer

How can a producer acquire the art of micro-budget filmmaking?

How can a producer get his/her own micro-budget film going?

I. Why should a producer make a micro-budget film?

  • Possible reference
  • A producer should find a distributor
  • A growing portfolio for the producer
  • Making connections (networking)

II. Financing a micro-budget film

  • The jungle of film financing
  • Private investments
  • A producer pitches his/her film to a production company
  • Tax breaks and loopholes
  • Pre-sales and co-productions
  • Crowdfunding
  • Sponsors
  • Subsidies
  • Funds from various foundations

III. Distribution, cost deduction for the producer

IV. How can you market and sell your micro-budget film?

  • Theaters
  • DVD
  • Non-traditional DVD
  • Video-on-demand (VOD)
  • International distribution

V. Packaging and producing a micro-budget film

VI. The differences and similarities of micro and low-budget films

 

One of the main financing strategies for micro and low-budget: CROWDFUNDING for the producer

I. How does it work?

II. Types

  • Traditional
  • Project-centered

III. Rewards and compensations for the backers of the producer

IV. Traditional financing vs. crowd funding

  • Investors vs. donators
  • Similarities and differences in packaging

V. The crowd funding package

  • Introductory video
  • A set goal

VI. Choosing rewards

  • A copy of the finished product, film-related gifts
  • Creative collaboration
  • Creative experiences
  • Creative whatnots

VII. Crowd funding surfaces throughout the world

VIII. Who will contribute?

IX. How can a producer reach the supporters?

  • Online marketing campaign
  • Personal network (Facebook)
  • Writing articles and getting them published on news sites
  • Forums
  • Search engine optimization
  • Click-based advertising
  • Link exchange, link purchase
  • Classic advertising
  • Newsletters, forwarding list building, database purchasing
  • Viral marketing
  • Mutual investments
  • RSS marketing
  • Video marketing

 

SECOND SEMESTER – PRODUCING

Money earning opportunities for the producer in the film business

I. Making a film for another producer, production company, or distributor

II. Producing a film on your own

III. Hybrid method (fusion between the previous two)

IV. The types of business plans prepared by the producer

V. The 5 big mistakes of business plans

  • Too long
  • Comparing our film to a hit movie
  • General business plan (vs. specific, tailor-made for the particular film)
  • Missing crucial presentation material
  • The sales strategy is undetermined

VI. Sales incomes

VII. A short summary of the business model for the producer

  • Production
  • Marketing
  • Distribution

VIII. A film’s value on the market

  • American sales
  • The rest of the world
  • How can we raise the value of our film?

IX. A producer acquires sales projections and understands them

X. Tips and ideas for making a sales projection

XI. Networking for the producer

 

Packaging

I. Ideas, tricks, and agenda for the producer

  • Script breakdown and budget
  • Collecting similar films and casts
  • Contacting managers and agents

II. How a producer positons his/her film

  • Steps to get our script read
  • Bringing in the main cast

III. How a producer finds distributors, co-production partners, and sets up short meetings

IV. How a producer gets the script read by distributors and establishing a co-production

V. Packaging agents

VI. Bringing in a well-known producer

VII. The various ways how a producer finds marketable actors

  • Look them up on IMDb Pro, to see who is representing them
  • Contact their agent or manager
  • Pitch your idea, and ask them whether you can send them your screenplay
  • If they don’t respond after two attempts – continue with your list

VIII. How a producer works with a first-time director

IX. Who can a producer contact with his/her film?

 

Financing, marketing, international co-productions

I. How a producer involves a private investor

II. Sponsorship vs. investments

III. How a producer creates a buzz around the film

  • Website, YouTube, Facebook ads
  • Marketing forums
  • Guest posts on blogs
  • Managing the mutual investments
  • Search engine optimizing our website

IV. From the final budget back to the money needed to produce the film

  • The final budget is dictated by the market
  • The producer has to fit everything else inside this budget

V. How a producer finds and measures the target audience

VI. Finding the film market financing

VII. International co-productions: advantages and disadvantages for the producer

 

Preparations for the film market and the meetings

I. How a producer acquires the rights

  • Option vs. purchase

II. Elements of a successful producer pitch

  • Adaptation, remake
  • Original story
  • Franchise

III. Writing a strong logline

IV. Preparing for questions regarding the writer

V. How the producer prepares the presentation material of the project

  • One-sheet
  • Synopsis
  • Sales projection
  • Contact info, CVs
  • Marketing and distribution summary
  • 90-second trailer
  • Realistic list of actors for the main character
  • Website, Facebook

VI. Financing plan prepared by the producer

  • Pre-sales
  • Tax breaks
  • Gap financing
  • National cultural subsidies
  • Private investments
  • Various co-production agreements

VII. Steps before the producer takes the project to the market

  • Making producer, production company and distributor lists
  • Personalized producer pitch

VIII. Things to do on the market for the producer

  • Taking notes on the meetings
  • Getting into offices
  • Executing the 5-minute meeting
  • Networking
  • Keeping contact after a meeting

IX. How meetings go

X. Things not to do on the market

XI. Selling the completed film

XII. Building on success

 

Producing tasks after the completion of the film

I. Contacting distributors

  • Traditional distribution vs. self-distribution
  • Limited theatrical release
  • Getting an audience for the film (self-distribution)
  • Traditional distribution income vs. self-distribution on the internet
  • Film festivals
  • Filmmaking from start to the final income

II. Producer research

III. How a producer negotiates with an international sales agency/distributor

  1. Total purchasing price vs. percentage deal
  2. The importance of details
  3. How a producer monitors and distributes the film’s income

 

Presentation, financing and the production paperwork of a feature film (a producer case study)

I. One-sheet

II. One-paragraph

III. Director’s concept

IV. Press kit

V. Letter of intents

VI. Pre-sales projection

VII. Financing plan

VIII. Registering the screenplay

IX. Product placement list

X. Development schedule

XI. Shooting schedule

XII. Post production schedule

 

COURSE BUILDUP

We recommend attending the two basic level producer semesters mentioned above mandatorily:

12 x 3 hours. The lectures are going to be accompanied by presentations (prezi), and the discussion of practical examples. There will be guest lecturers in addition to the planned curriculum. Students will be frequently given homework.

 

Producer advanced level:

The additional two (optional) semesters are for those producer students who aim to become producers or line-producers.

In these advanced producer courses, we will discuss the students’ projects step by step. We will help location scouting and casting for the production-ready screenplays. Together with the students, we will compose the first AD’s script breakdown and the shooting schedule. Focusing on each project, we will teach how to organize a crew, how to prepare for on-location sound recording, and the daily business of producing.

We will discuss work and rest time, the tasks of the assistant director and the script supervisor, the group-leading role of the cinematographer, following the safety requirements. Our producer students will work with the people from our directing class to make short films. We will prepare for every stage of the production together.

Discussing the producer students’ own ideas and projects in a workshop-like environment in addition to visiting productions and post-production studios, are also parts of the program.