So, we’ve talked about being a writer and being a producer, and yep… now we’re smashing them together like PB & J, yo! No, but seriously, what are the benefits of writing films and producing them? Why not just be one or the other? For me personally, it’s about a few things:
* Expanding, exercising, and honing my skills holistically. I LOVE learning new things, LOVE IT. And from my experience (limited as it is), writing and producing are generally two separate skill sets. For the most part, writing is creative while producing is pretty analytical (and social). Toggling between skill sets keeps me on my toes and keeps me excited about a project. (It can be argued though that using analysis in writing and creativity in producing is often necessary in the most McGuyver of ways!)
* Being a writer-producer (or a writer-anything) just opens more doors. In both the indie and commercial entertainment worlds, having dual skill sets provides opportunities for you in terms of more work, contacts, and experience. You’d not only have the skills to conceptualize an awesome story and write it, but you’d also know how to actually fund, develop, and get that script onto the screen. Or, imagine that you are a writer and also line producer, producer, or even an awesome assistant director. In between tearing your hair out about dialogue or shopping your scripts around town, you have a marketable skill set that will get you on films, paid, and credited. There’s no losing here, in my opinion.
* You have a hand in supply (writing) and demand (producing). Bottom line: writers are the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. They are the dream makers and world builders. They give actors characters to act, carpenters sets to build, and filmmakers stories to produce. Writers fashion the supply for the entertainment market, and fresh writing voices will ALWAYS be in demand. On that note, if writers comprise the lifeblood of Hollywood, then producers are most certainly the hearts that pump it. Films and tv series don’t make themselves, you know. There needs to be a dedicated and passionate producer (or many producers) shepherding a script through the dark labyrinth of development hell so that it makes the journey from the page to the screen. Money needs to be raised, ideas need to be developed and honed, and casts and directors need to be attached. Producers do all of this to get films and tv made. The most successful producers do this over and over with critical acclaim and a loyal audience. They fill the demands of the market. As a writer-producer, you essentially are involved in the film production process literally from the very beginning to the very end.
And finally, what is the BEST benefit of being both a writer and a producer?
* YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE’S PERMISSION TO BE CREATIVE. So you wrote a script or a tv pilot. It kicked ass, and you aren’t the only one who thinks so. Someone might have even paid you money to rent it from you because they believed in it so much. But then, Hollywood happens. Development hell happens. A studio going under happens. Suddenly,
you and your script-baby are thrust back out into the cold with a “sorry, we’re closed” sign hung on the door of every studio you turn to.
So. What? You’re just going to let your dream die? Or are you going to transform from writer to writer-producer to see your dream realized? If you are content with the well-known Hollywood game of winning few and losing many (and I’m certainly not faulting you if you are), then sure, let the script go and move on to the next project. But for those of us who are filmmakers and want to literally make film, we no longer need permission from a big studio or network to do so. If I really loved my project and just couldn’t let it go, I’d produce it myself. As both a writer and producer, you give yourself the freedom to create. You don’t need permission from anyone. 😉
And this is how I’m rolling. As many of you know, I have my foot in the indie world and am gunning for a spot in the commercial world as well. Commercially, I’m looking to be a tv drama writer, feature film writer, and eventually, an Executive Producer of a cable or network television drama series. My foci are sci-fi and fantasy, horror, true crime, and political drama. On the side, I also work as a freelance Line Producer and Unit Production Manager, and this is a role I’ll continue to take on for both indie and commercial projects.
At the same time, though, I have also established Rebel Ragdoll, an independent female-identified media production house. Currently Rebel Ragdoll has over thirty creative projects on its ever-growing development slate, and I’m amped about every single one of them. I’ll be even more excited though when I’m finally able to acquire other female writers’ properties and produce them with all female crews.
Rebel Ragdoll is on a very specific mission: to increase the presence of female creators in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, true crime & noir, thriller, action, and adventure. We’ll not only produce novels, manga, comics, and graphic novels, but also film, original tv series, web series, and eventually, video games. I truly can’t wait to crew up with my dolls of distinction and get this mission off of the ground in 2014. Because, yeah, dolls set the trend. As writers, producers, directors, and more, we set the trend. And we do it with or without your permission. 😉
Keep it indie,