Thanks for Nothing

Last year I wrote, How To Be Thankful In A Thankless Job, but as Thanksgiving approaches, I’m finding it difficult to find reasons why producers should be thankful.

Almost every day I question whether or not I’m pursuing the right career – though a few weeks ago I went to a psychic for my birthday who did confirm that I am at least in the right industry. I often wonder if my efforts are futile, if producers are truly expendable as written in The Hollywood Reporter piece, How Film Producers Became the New Expendables. And I’ve grown exhausted from the daily grind and emotional ups and downs.

I can no longer see the path forward as I once could – the industry is changing so rapidly. And while those in power say there are more opportunities than ever, those of us on the fringes of that power only see more barriers.  

And I talk to enough producers to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way.

However, while it is important to discuss and dissect our struggles, it is also important to see the good. So, for Thanksgiving this year, I decided to compile some of my favorite Dear Producer 2019 quotes where producers expressed moments of gratitude, appreciation, and joy.

As for me, I am grateful for all of the support you have shown me. For the producers who made themselves vulnerable so that others can learn, for those who have contributed their time and skills to write pieces for me to publish, for those who then share what has been published, and for all of those who send me positive affirmations.

Listen to me when I say this. Take some time off this week. Seriously. Tell your filmmakers you need some quiet time. Enjoy your family, go see a movie, read a book. Just shut it all off for a few days. Everyone will survive and all the work will still be there next week. Do whatever it takes to lift your spirits (like bingeing on Hallmark Christmas movies) and replenish your energy to start the new year. The future of independent film is counting on us. 

Keep Going, 

“Coming from a humble background, I am so grateful that I got the money back in 2006 to move to Bombay to produce and the sense of wonder has not left me. That’s why I produce. I am able to see thru the potential of a story and the talent and I usually find myself expanding the whole vision on where we can take a story. I follow my intuition and sign up for the adventure.”
GUNEET MONGA: The Stories That Choose Us

“I would not have made it through delivery if it hadn’t been for fellow producers like Rebecca Green, Amanda Marshall and Billy Mulligan who understood the struggle. There were others and in retrospect I wish I had reached out even more than I did. Find yourself a community of producers who can help you walk through the process. If you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable asking for help, let’s get coffee.”
AVRIL SPEAKS: The Cost of Distribution

“As producer, we have so many options, but we are choosing to pick your project over someone else’s. The appreciation and the gratitude needs to be there because we have so much to offer. We are the real reason your movie is going to get made. I think that that’s not clear to most directors. They think that they are the magic and really I feel like it’s producers, and we’re helping them create their stories. We’re the magic.”
GABRIELLE NADIG: Producers Award Profile

“I was the oldest living production assistant in New York and I can tell you during that year, when I was PA-ing, every second I could spend on set behind a camera, behind a director, behind a producer, watching what they do, behind craft services, the sound guy, whoever, just watching what they do, added to both my results and my education. That was the best year that I’ve spent in the film business, quite frankly.”
DARREN DEAN: Turning Up the Volume on Unexplored Stories

“We are proud of the work and care that we put into SADIE’s release and we are grateful to now have a more detailed understanding of the distribution process. Not only do we feel that we did right by SADIE, we are much more educated on the issues and difficult decisions facing distributors. Even if we never self-distribute again, we feel our increased knowledge base will be very helpful when working with future distribution partners.”
LACEY LEAVITT: Distribution Case Study: SADIE

“We didn’t have HBO’s green light yet so we didn’t have that legitimacy to lean on yet, you know? It was like the scrappy-producing Olympics. But I had so much fun and was so energized because it was exactly the kind of content I always wanted to make. It was one of the few moments in my life where I didn’t obsess about the outcome, but just worked hard to make this joyful thing.”
KISHORI RAJAN: Cinereach Producer Award

“I want to give back because it is what other people did for me. I am a director and I am a producer, but I am really driven by how I can help our community move forward, get more work made, and how we can collectively support other indigenous filmmakers. My role and responsibility is to foster and grow the indigenous cinema landscape. I want our community to be thriving now, next year, five years from now, 15 years from now. I take that very seriously and make it part of my work as a filmmaker.”
ALEXANDRA LAZAROWICH: Cinereach Producer Award

“On the inside, it never feels easy so if you don’t take the time to step back and say, “What have I accomplished? What are my successes?” then you never see them. I think that’s important and I probably don’t take enough time doing that to actually appreciate my accomplishments, because you’re just so caught up in the grind and getting the next project done. I don’t know that I necessarily understood that going in. You think that you’ll make a project and if it has some success, then all of a sudden you’ve arrived.
JAMUND WASHINGTON: Cinereach Producer Award

“Somewhere you got to find the strength to focus on the wins; to use all the resources you have that can keep you present to this magical and mysterious thing we call life or else you are destined to be blown around by the exigencies of any particular project, which never quite work out the way they were planned.”
JAY PERRY: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts
(not a producer rather my amazing life coach)