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The Global Film Village: The Produced By Conference by Marla Lewin

Marshall Herskovitz is an instrument of change. He is an award winning producer and the current President of the PGA. He wants to change the world, our business and how we do business. This past weekend he oversaw the first Produced By Conference which took place at the Sony Studios in Culver City.

 

Marshall said during his Sunday afternoon Master Class  "Producers are adept at keeping on Balance. There are no answers so there is still lots to be learned. The purpose of this conference was to help people right now. To help you move forward in your careers. Not to just hear stories from old farts." 

 

More than 30 extraordinary lectures, panels, and social events took place at the Produced By Conference. Far more than anyone could possibly take in. There were at least three different panels going on at all times. It was a very ambitious program and one that was quite successful. Every panel that I attended was packed with appreciative audiences.

 

The core thought of many panels kept to Marshall's message times are difficult but there is hope. Marshall stated "We need to keep at it. One of the things I hate about the business today is it forces you to think about business. You came here because you had a dream to communicate, to move people , to tell stories. Today you are forced to think about things that aren't storytelling. Falling in love with the story and sticking with the story is what made them (referring to some of the industry veterans participating on the panels) great. They can talk about the business but storytelling is what they are all about. You have got to touch people where they live. It is very, very difficult to do."

 

Norman Lear said "In a macrosense all of american business and the planet is having a difficult time.We have to look at new technologoies. All of the answers lie out there. I believe in hope. People will always want to go out, laughing and caring in a group. We need to find a way to monetize our product. We need to find a way to save the planet and go out to the movies."

 

David Picker a former top executive at United Artists said "Everyone has two businesses today. What they do for a living and the movies."

 

Michael London, who produced SIDEWAYS said "Big films in theatres and smaller films at home may be the way of the future. Thinking about the solitary experience of viewing a movie at home, it seems sad. Over the next ten to 15 years people will find ways to make lower budget movies that will succeed and we will be able to come back here and talk about them."

 

Lawrence Bender producer of PULP FICTION the first independent movie to break the $100 million dollar barrier said "Stories need to be told that is what we all crave, the emotional journey."

 

Roger Corman, a legend of low budget cinema who gave many celebrated directors and producer's their first breaks said "Theatres will continue because kids need to get out of the house and because people want to get out of the house. The future will see delivery over the Internet." 

 

Kathy Kennedy who has produced many films with Steven Spielberg added "I was involved with Persepolis, Diving Bell and the Butterfly and now Tin Tin.  I have learned a lot from these films about audiences. Three very different types of movies, with different budgets and audiences. Tin Tin will open in foreign markets 7 to 8 weeks ahead of the United States because the characters are far more well known in foreign markets than they are here."

 

photo by Brenda Landa 

Clint Eastwood said  "the producer is the nucleus of the whole business." He said his secret is he hires smart people who make him look good. He said he makes movies when the "material" grabs him and he might be interested to direct or act in another film, and at 79, he plans to continue making movies, at least that's the plan.

 

There were many old war stories told to emphasize the point that the business is cyclical and is ever changing but everyone agreed that there is a need for both the storytellers and the stories. These things are fundamental to our species. Times may be difficult but the need to tell stories will drive us to find new ways of telling our stories. Whether it is in 3D as James Cameron envisions or in character driven television shows as cable as doing today. Story telling will persevere. We are all grateful to Marshall Herskovitz, Gale Anne Heard all of the panelists, the staff and volunteers that came together to put on this impressive two day event.

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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.

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