Insights from The Hollywood Reporter’s Producer’s Roundtable

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem.

Assalam alaikum wr wb, fellow scribes,

I wrote some notes on the Studio Executive’s Roundtable organized by the Hollywood Reporter, watched via the Black List screenwriting blog, Go Into the Story.

The lessons I learned below are only lessons because I’m a struggling nube. If you have more to add, please let me know in comments!

What is your take on awards in general? I think it’s nice to get recognition, but some of the most wonderful movies don’t get the attention they deserve and some truly awful or fair to middling ones get far more attention than they deserve.

I don’t put much stock in awards in terms of the kinds of movies that I should watch and gain inspiration from.

Anyways, here what I got:

  1. Producers feel pressure too. There’s a whole lot of money riding on this stuff.
  2. Production issues are far more unpredictable than distribution issues.
  3. The greatest moments are when a movie exceeds expectations – does that mean that we shouldn’t give them high hopes?
  4. They are just terrified of their hard work going to waste. Difference is – their hard work involves tons of disappointed people.
  5. People say that it’s just business, it’s not personal. Movie choices are hugely personal.
  6. What do Academy Awards mean to producers? The achievement of the good life. The achievement of something great in the eyes of your peers.
    1. The difference between profit-loss for independent films.
  7. It starts always with falling in love with the material (that’s our job!) Then the analyses happen.
    1. Once that material has caught you, you find ways to try and make rather than not.
    2. However, there are some movies that are just marketing fodder and some that are all about the execution.
    3. It’s a combination of passion and the amount of financial risk that that project can bear that configures on whether the film can get greenlit. Life of Pi got greenlit because a) Ang Lee got involved and b) The passion of the…someone?
  8. What is the cultural zeitgeist? Hurt Locker didn’t do as well because America wasn’t ready to watch war as entertainment.
  9. Awards season is much like political campaigning. If the Academy hadn’t put caps on it, it would go bananas.
  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bgw394ZKsis Impossible trailer.
  11. When your movie has a more intellectual bent rather than pure entertainment value, you always think of awards as a factor in marketing.
    1. However it’s a bit like ‘wishful thinking’ because you don’t really know if you’ve gotten the right elements in place to make this an amazing movie.
  12. Will America stop being a cultural exporter and start being an importer?

Will be posting notes on the Actor’s Roundtable and the Screenwriter’s Roundtable soon insha Allah.

Peace and God’s protection or as we say, Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,

The Happy Muslimah.

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