I Wanna be a (Creative) Producer

Life has changed a lot – so much so that Ashley Lam insisted I document my experiences.

“Do it for the filmmakers who want to move out here,” said Ashley, “so they can follow your example in real time.”

Because I have a messiah complex, I agreed I’d do it for the people who want a fresh perspective on the industry.

Since my last post, I’ve become more confident in what I want to do – to write and to be a creative producer. From what I understand, creative producers oversee the artistic elements of their films – and makes sure that the work maintains its artistic integrity. Creative producers also understand that filmmaking is a business, but don’t let the business decisions compromise the creative decisions.

Though an even balance of both would be nice.

Though an even balance of both would be nice.

I found that I best learn what I want by first deciding what I do not want.

Yesterday, I met with my producer to discuss who will be playing what role in my upcoming short film, Les MiséraBaristas. While we were talking about who would handle the logistics of the project, it occurred to me that I could never be a line producer. Line producers are in charge of locking down the location, dividing resources to each department, and, most importantly, managing the money. I imagine the art department, camera department, grip department and makeup department sitting at the dinner table, waiting for the line producer to scoop their portions from a great big bowl of money salad.


Mmmm. Money salad.

That sort of responsibility, while genuinely fulfilling to some people, would throw me into a mental meltdown because my brain isn’t wired to solve practical problems quickly. Dealing with a shoot’s logistics requires juggling a lot of left-brain information in a short amount of time, something my right-brain way of thinking doesn’t handle well. The job of a line producer requires a sort of mathematical plugging in of variables and a rigidness of thought to solve problems efficiently and quickly.

My mind ticks a little differently. My favorite problems to solve are aesthetic or emotional dilemmas – my intellectual world is informed by a synaesthetic point of view. Rather than consider things in solid figures matched against fixed constants…

No cash for you!

No cash for you!

…my world is a world of feelings and impressions.

My train of thought is, “This color and that color dance with those textures…”

R and B Dance

“Take me with you, Red.”
‘You know I will, Blue.’

“…but this other color is not in harmony with the mood the characters are setting.”

Magenta anvilled!

Magenta anvilled!

I can read people’s emotions and states of mind well – well enough to comprehend why line producers enjoy their work, but not so well that I can overcome my awkwardness with practical problem solving. I get overwhelmed with the practical things because my brain is too busy dreaming up new stories or clever spins on situations.

Well into pre-production on Les MiséraBaristas, I’m grateful that I’m taking the opportunity to do what I love to do: be creative, and have a team of left-brained people to help me bring my right-brained ideas to life.


About Max

I make puns and movies.
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