What I Look For In A Project: Why Producer Team Is More Important Than the Script, Director, and Actors Combined
There are only two factors that I look at when considering a film investment: the script and the producer team.
I’ve probably just caused outrage from all my director and/or actor readers. Let me first mention that without a strong filmmaker and cast, your chances of making an extremely powerful film are much, much lower than without these elements. The talents of these individuals bring filmmaking to the next level. But they don’t make up for shortfalls in the quality of the script and/or producing team.
Considering the quality of the script is an obvious notion. A bad script has never been made into a great film. But choosing a good script falls into very subjective territory. I’ll leave those gritty details for another post.
The strength of a producer team is largely overlooked in indie film. A director with a script and an actor is nothing but just that until a producer comes aboard and makes that package into a film. When I invest in a film I am not investing in a single idea or piece of talent—I’m investing in what the producers say they can execute. Failure to execute the vision they present will be no one’s fault but their own.
If the director does a subpar job on set, the producer should intervene. If the film doesn’t recoup its budget, the producer has assessed the value of the film too high. Even if the distributor did a poor job of exploiting the film I hold the producer team responsible for engaging this particular distributor.
When Netflix embarrassed themselves in 2011 by splitting their company in two, it was Reed Hastings, the CEO of the company, who came forward and apologized to his investors and customers. Producers are the CEOs of films. They’re the managers of their production LLCs. If I don’t believe in the producer team behind a project then I won’t invest, no matter how enticing the rest of the package may be.