By Rebecca Green
The Producer Rate Sheet has been created as a tool for producers who are striving to build a sustainable career.
Producers are regularly asked to give their time and knowledge, with minimal to no compensation, to organizations and individuals outside of their work as a producer. These types of requests come in the form of being asked to speak on panels, participate in listening sessions, talk to a classroom of film students, advise filmmakers, ‘help’ move a project forward, or allow someone to ‘pick their brain.’
Organizations who ask producers to lend their hard earned experience and expertise to initiatives without compensation are also organizations who say they are dedicated to elevating equity, inclusion, and sustainability in the arts. However, asking for free labor goes against these principles and perpetuates an unstable ecosystem. Those who are put in the spotlight or asked to share their experiences are only those who can afford to “give back.”
In addition, filmmakers ask producers to do the work of the producer, advising on various stages of the process and making introductions to their established network, without formal engagement or compensation. These requests are the exact skills a producer has spent their entire career developing and by which they make a living. However, when a producer responds to a request by asking to be compensated, they are perceived as unreasonable.
Producers are inherently generous people. They show up for their peers and provide impactful mentorship that arms the next generation of filmmakers to bring important stories and perspectives to the screen. Producers want to be able to open doors for others and educate our community, but there has to be a line drawn to not exploit the goodwill of producers.
To provide a benchmark and to normalize producers asking to be fairly compensated for their contributions, Dear Producer has created this Producer Rate Sheet.
A producer’s knowledge and time should be adequately valued and compensated by stakeholders who are reliant on our participation and expertise. Whether you lead a non-profit organization, run a film festival, teach at a university, or are a filmmaker trying to get your project off the ground, we ask that you reevaluate your beliefs about sustainability and your policies on compensation using this Producer Rate Sheet as a guiding star.