Join SBIFF for an in-depth discussion in this video 3D kids and dogs, part of 2012 SBIFF Producers' Panel: Movers & Shakers.
Patrick Goldstein: Okay, so I guess the question we'd want to know from you is when you get, let's say, into triple digits, you're the producer of the film, what's going on in your mind as you're saying I've got a the world-class filmmaker here, I've got this--I know this is going to be a fantastic movie, but we're still shooting? What can a producer do at that stage of the process? Graham King: Leave the set, go somewhere else. Mike De Luca: Take some antacid.
Graham King: Right, a lot of Ambien. It really depends on the process. This is my fourth collaboration with Marty, so if I didn't know how he is by now on set, then I really shouldn't be in business with him. But as I say, this was a very difficult, complicated film to shoot with the newest technology, so it did take a lot longer than I would've imagined to begin with. But when you're in and you're in day seventy or seventy-five, whatever, and you're seeing that the work he is doing and sitting next to him at a monitor every day, one also can't help but be carried away with the beauty of what you're making.
So then it's really a discussion between you and the director, or a sort of director telling you, "This is what we're doing," and you have to agree. Mike De Luca: Like Stockholm syndrome. Graham King: Right, right. Graham King: But it's Marty, and again, doing Gangs of New York and The Aviator and The Departed, these are all big movies with him. And seeing the way he works, and then seeing him on this, it was just night and day, because for a man of his--in his career right now, to take on a new genre, to take on new technology, to work with kids, dogs, I mean it was just amazing.
And then I just, my big thing is just-- we're not kidding anyone today on set, right Marty? We're not going to slash anyone's throat, or say any F word or the C word, and keep onto the genre of what we're making. But it was very, very tough. As I say, we built all the sets to scout, so we were in the concourse of the train stations. We got 300 extras, all in 1930s outfit, we got the actors, and then you look over and you've got at least sixty, seventy technicians all working on this brand new way of shooting the 3D.
And so it was extremely complicated, and it took time. Kids can only work four hours a day, including rehearsal time. We found out a little bit later than we should have. The original script didn't have a Doberman, so we added the dogs to kind of be sidekick with Sacha, and as I said, Sacha came up with ideas during the shoot which Marty, I've, again seen before, his collaboration with actors is like no other director I've ever seen. And some of the ideas are good and some of which are not so good, but he likes to try them.
And Sacha's ideas were fantastic. As I say, it added commerce to the movie and more fun to the film. Patrick Goldstein: Now I've heard so many stories over the years about working with kids, and the incredible limitations. So you know going in, you're going to have that limitation of four hours a day. Graham King: Right. Patrick Goldstein: So isn't that already sort of structured into the time? Graham King: Well, it is, but what you don't know is the performance you're going to get out of them.
So that you don't know till you're actually shooting. And Marty is obviously, like most filmmakers of his level, it's all about the performance. So if he has to do more takes to get that performance, he is going to do it. I'm not going to--you tell Marty, "Well, the kids have got to go home now," he is going to be, right, "Well, we're going to continue tomorrow." Patrick Goldstein: And Mike, with Bennett Miller, he had come out of making--he'd made a documentary, he'd made Capote, but he hadn't made a movie quite on this-- Did he need any help and guidance in terms of just figuring out how to deal with the scope of things? Mike De Luca: No, he actually hit the ground running.
He always had a very strong vision of what the movie was to him. And we constructed a production kind of schedule that was the box he could play in, to the extent that that he and Brad, if they were feeling their way around the scene in the morning and wanted to make adjustments to the script, we gave him the time to have Sorkin come down or work with him and make changes on the fly a little bit in almost an improvisational way. He was big on--it was very important for he and Brad to calibrate that performance in a way that Brad and Bennett were satisfied with.
So as long as we gave him that space, which we did, he was really efficient. He really was. It was a long post schedule because we had tons and tons of baseball footage and dialing up and dialing down how much of that people really want to see, or how much of it is effective and how much of it is diminishing returns, that took a while. But it was, I have to say, watching he and Chris Tellefsen and some of the editorial staff work on that cut, it was wonderful for me, because I felt like it was a textbook class in editing. Patrick Goldstein: Moneyball is also the one movie that's actually based on real life, a real character.
And you also, you--tell us about Major League Baseball. They had a lot of input. Mike De Luca: They had approval, like straight-up approval. Patrick Goldstein: Script approval. Mike De Luca: Script approval, and really de facto final cut, because if they weren't happy with it, we were contractually obligated to make changes. If the script, if the cut of the movie departed from the script that they had approved, we'd have to conform it. And because they were speaking for all the franchises and we needed all the franchises' cooperation to show their uniforms and to shoot in the stadiums, they had to be onboard.
And we just made them best friends from the beginning, in terms of showing them stuff early, going above the contractual approvals, really trying to get them to be partners in the movie. And they knew from the beginning it would be good for baseball. It wasn't the kind of movie that would get any controversy or would be bad for the sport. So they were really willing collaborators and we got through it in kind of a friendly atmosphere. Patrick Goldstein: And when you did something that was not strictly true to the actual events.
My baseball geek friends noticed when Billy Beane is being-- Mike De Luca: Isn't it annoying, they pop out of woodwork and tell you what you got wrong? Patrick Goldstein: Hey! You noticed that? Mike De Luca: Yeah. Patrick Goldstein: You've got a little bit of that on The Social Network, didn't you? Mike De Luca: Yeah, a little bit of that on that, yeah. Patrick Goldstein: So what did you do, like the Billy Beane being wooed by John Henry, the Boston Red Sox owner? Mike De Luca: That was a blast. I got to speak with John Henry, which was--I was conflicted because I'm a Yankees fan, but I wanted it. But John Henry is a great guy, so I was siked to get him on the phone.
And the scene where Billy Beane and John Henry were discussing Billy coming over to the Red Sox was originally I think in Boca Raton, and nobody wanted to go to Boca Raton for that scene. We wanted to be in the majesty of Fenway and John Henry, we had to call him for permission. And he was like, "Yes, of course you should be in Fenway. Fenway is a great stadium." It was that level of cooperation that made it really easy for us. And there will be--I mean one of the things, this is how nitty-gritty it got. There is a tarp on the upper deck of the Coliseum, the Oakland A's Coliseum, that's been there since 2006, and we had it in some of our shots.
And in 2002, it wasn't there. So they asked us to like digitally remove it in some things. I mean it was really down to that level of correction, so it wasn't a big deal. Patrick Goldstein: Because I, when the film is actually shooting, I have learned over the years that that's one of the great arts of producing, is you have a filmmaker whose job is to have a vision, and they're intensely focused on getting the vision, and they're often perfectionists.
But at the same time, you as a producer are having to deal with the art of the possible. At some point, you want to move on. You've got a budget to stick to, and I'd love to hear everyone talk a little bit about how you handle that balance. I don't know, Letty, let me start with you. From what I saw in the recent documentary about Woody, you don't have any trouble getting him to finish shooting at the end of the day. He is-- Letty Aronson: No, no, definitely not. Definitely not. He doesn't believe in very long days because he feels the actors get tired.
We never do rehearsal. And one of the things to keep the cost down is traditionally every film is favor-nationed, we pay very little. So the actors who actually join us really do want to work there. And so we don't give out any perks. They can't bring their secretaries and cooks and trainers. They could bring them, but they have to pay for them. We make deals with hotels and bring them in.
But in terms of wanting to move on, I have found it saves money to have the exact opposite attitude, so that if I find that Woody is not really happy with something, I find it better to say, "Let's cut our losses, reshoot this," because if not, we're then two weeks further down and he is still thinking about two weeks before when a particular take wasn't good enough, and then to have to go back will cost more money.
So for us, it's better for Woody to just say, "You know what, if you're not comfortable with it, let's just redo it now." We don't work long days, but that's figured into the schedule. One of the big challenges with Midnight in Paris was that 50% of it was night shooting, and Woody almost never shoots at night. And he thought we could do this movie by finishing up by midnight. And we just couldn't possibly do that. So we had to adjust it so that we showed him that we do all the night stuff first.
And we had to work late, but late for us was 2-3 in the morning. That was very late for us. And he had to adjust to that, and that was an adjustment that he had to make. But otherwise, I feel my job as his producer is to see that all the money goes on the screen, that we can get as much as we can possibly get for nothing, pay as little for anything as we possibly can, so that he can make the movie that he actually wants to make. Patrick Goldstein: Bill, with Terry, his image is of having a very strong artistic vision, but is he really more disciplined on the set than we would assume? Bill Pohlad: Yes, very much, and I--this is the honest truth.
He really was responsible about the whole thing. He has things he wants to accomplish and all that, but if you tell him, if you give him the parameter, even on a day or whatever, and it's a problem he'll go, hmm, and then he'll think about it. He won't be like he'll blow up and there will be some controversy or something. He is very thoughtful about it and very responsible about it. I would say the post was probably slightly more difficult than production just because he likes to have a lot of time which was built in there.
Then he likes to have a little more time because he always like to play with it. Patrick Goldstein: And now, Jim, you were saying that Alexander, I get the impression, does not like a lot of fuss, so is he very directed and focused? Jim Burke: He is. He is, when he walks on the set in the morning, he knows exactly what he wants to do and then he does it. So from that perspective, he is sort of--he is really a delight to work with. Where he gets that is because we plan these movies out for a long, long, long time before we start shooting, and that's maybe one of the reasons why it takes him a while between films because there's a lot of preparation in getting in there and dirt under our fingernails.
But I think the main question you're asking is what does a producer do when we're shooting? And it's been my experience is it's akin to a lifeguard or a fireman, and you're waiting for something to happen and prepared when it does, to pitch in, but also to keep the bigger picture in mind. What movie is it you're making, because there is a lot of people doing different things and sometimes they get absorbed in their art direction or this or that, and they lose sight of what's really important in the bigger movie, and so it helps sometimes to talk to them about that.
Moderated by Patrick Goldstein (Los Angeles Times columnist for "The Big Picture"), the festival lit up the marquee with a panel of Oscar®-nominated producers you'll certainly see on the red carpet on February 26, 2012. These professionals cover a wide range of films, from huge-budget effects movies to smaller, ensemble-casted dramas. Graham King (Hugo), who marks his fourth film with director Martin Scorsese, tells how they worked together to shoot their first 3D film—and their first with kids and animals. Mike De Luca (Moneyball) needed to develop a working relationship with Major League Baseball, who had final cut on his film. Bill Pohlad (The Tree of Life) talks about the 10 years it took to green light his film and the obstacles along the way. Jim Burke (The Descendants) worked with director Alexander Payne to put every dollar on the screen while shooting in Hawaii, known to be an expensive location. Letty Aronson (Midnight in Paris) shares the unique working relationship she has with director (and brother) Woody Allen.
Despite the impressive resumes of all of these producers, getting every one of these feature films to the screen presented new challenges.