Join SBIFF for an in-depth discussion in this video Defining the producer credit, part of 2012 SBIFF Producers' Panel: Movers & Shakers.
Patrick Goldstein: We mentioned earlier, when I asked about Brad Pitt being a producer on two of the films, and I think you all made a good case of what he did. One of the big issues in the film business now, the Producers Guild is moving ahead with plans to have a-- essentially I am going to oversimplify a little bit--but they have binding credit arbitration that would only allow people to be given an official producers credit, which they called the producers mark, if they could really prove they did a certain percentage of work on the film: acquiring the script, running the set, overseeing post-production and marketing.
They believed that there are too many producers that are listed on credits and it weakens--we can see actual value of the producer's credit. And I would like to hear from everyone here who are working producers, do you think that's a good idea? Mike De Luca: I do because, I know working at a-- when I worked at a studio, two studios, there was a, not a habit, but sometimes the credit was given out to compensate for something else.
It did get kind of cheapened as a profession in a way because the credits were afforded to people for reasons other than producing the movie, or what they have defined as producing the movie. So I thought it was a step in the right direction. Patrick Goldstein: Graham, I noticed you shaking our head. You want to take the opposite position. Graham King: I think it's very tough. I think every film has its own life, and I think it's very hard to have a set of rules across the board that come on every movie.
Producing a movie at a studio is not independently producing a film. I have been in a position where the PGA took Brad Pitt and Brad Grey up for the The Departed, and I completely forget to thank him at the Oscars and it became a lot of problems. And these guys had a chance to win an Oscar and I think they should have. I think Brad Grey developed--I know he developed The Departed. He put Marty in it and Leo in the film. And he had got an amazing offer to go on a studio, and him and I spoke about it, and he went to do that.
Well, I think he got most of the work done, because with Scorsese you don't do much more. He will take care of it. The PGA, they threw him off the film, and he had his probably his once a chance in life to pick up an Academy Award. So I just feel it's hard. I feel that-- Mike De Luca: Although producing is always waiting at the end of their executive's career, so he may reenter. Graham King: He may, he may, but if you are in that position, that's very tough to do. He worked five years developing that script. So I think it's--every film is different, and I think if there are three producers and if three producers agree that each producer should be on the film, then they shouldn't be arbitrated. That's what I think.
I don't see the reason for them to step in and say to me, who we financed the film, we made the film, we distributed the film, who should be a Graham King: producer and who shouldn't. Letty Aronson: Right. Letty Aronson: For us, it becomes an issue because in European countries the financers are entitled to producer credit, and the producer credit they hope will entitle them to a nomination. Here, for example, our--we have two people who are listed as producers who are the financiers, and they were not permitted to be nominees.
For them in their home countries and especially if we do a film, say, in this case it was Barcelona or Paris or whatever, we get accreditation as a European film or as a Spanish film and in their country, it's not understood that if they get credit as producers, why can they not be entitled to be nominated? So it becomes a problem. I do agree with Graham that if the people involved agree, then it should be okay.
Patrick Goldstein: Jim or Bill? Jim Burke: I am sort of more in line with Mike, and I think that the act of producing a film is, it's a real job. And some people are with it from start to finish or maybe close to the start and close to the finish and other people are afforded that credit in lieu of money or because they help do one particular and vital thing. So maybe the solution is to, for those people, another type of credit that isn't described as producer but something else.
I don't know. But nowadays there seem to be a lot of people that load up on producing credits, and maybe the solution is to just say we'll agree among ourselves who actually did the work and if we can't, then it gets arbitrated. Patrick Goldstein: Bill? Bill Pohlad: I am with Jim and Mike on this. I believe in a slightly more strict interpretation of it.
I mean it's tough, like on Tree of Life, we had five producers. And in a different sense, they could be all considered as producers. Brad, though, was the first one to say as far as the PGA or the awards go, it should be just the three of us: Dede, Sarah, and I. But then when it kind of expanded a little bit, it seemed like it should be, he had made as much contribution as anybody in the movie, even though he wasn't producing on a day-to-day basis.
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.