Surviving Film

Today, I’m going to look at “Industry Survival Tips” from “The Complete Film Production Handbook.” On first pass, it is clear that this chapter doesn’t line up exactly with any from the “The Game Producer’s Handbook.”  While the chapter in the Game Producer’s Handbook is more centered on the role and responsibilities of the “titled” producer, this chapter in the Film Production Handbook is more about working effectively in the film industry in general.  Despite the inexact comparison, there is valuable information that I want to reflect upon.

This chapter also contains a good amount of numbered and bullet-ed lists of advice.  However, it is more industry-focused.  Common themes include networking and being aware of harsh realities of finding work.  Again, advice that I wouldn’t say is only film producing specific.

However, I will say that it surprises me how many times networking is mentioned in this chapter.  The line that I think is the most insightful is actually “Those in positions of hiring want to work with their friends and the people they like.”  It’s not hard to notice that certain directors often work with certain actors or certain groups of actors work together a lot, and I’m sure if someone went through and looked in depth at movie credits, even more people actually work together very often. There was a small section specifically about good work habits for producers, which again was very similar to that in the Game Producer’s Handbook.  Some tips I thought were particularly meaningful to my own experience (as things I’ve learned the value of or am still struggling with):

  • “Anticipate the needs of others.”
  • “You don’t have to know everything – you just have to know where to find everything you need to know.”
  • “Make time for the other things in your life that are important to you. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities.”

The other big theme besides networking that I’ve known about but hit close to home to see mentioned in the book was that of being passionate and well-informed.  My roommate is probably one of the most well-informed people at my program – in regards to gaming, animation, sports, entertainment in general.  I really look up to him, and sometimes though I just don’t know how he finds the time during the day to keep up with all this news.  Sometimes I feel like I get home from a long day, read about something interesting, and he already knew it yesterday.  It’s something I’m concerned about because passion and enthusiasm are states of mind, but if I don’t know things, I just don’t know things.  My personality and work style aren’t the same as my roommate but I’m interested in what I can do to adapt.

It seems that surviving in film is not too much different from being an efficient producer in gaming, but I think it’ll be easier to probe for specific answers through interviews, which I have also conducted seven-and-a-half so far.  I’ve got a backlog of interview notes that I need to transcribe here, but look forward to at least one every week.

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