THEY’RE ON A BOAT! EYE-Q TAKES TO THE HIGH SEAS p. 40
PRODUCEDBY THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA // APRIL | MAY 2018
LITTLEFIELD “Each year we scare ourselves to death and somehow it all manages to work.”
ENLARGE YOUR VISION
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ARRI introduces a complete large-format system that meets and exceeds modern production requirements, delivering unprecedented creative freedom. Based on an enlarged 4K version of the ALEXA sensor, it comprises the ALEXA LF camera, ARRI Signature Prime lenses, LPL lens mount and PL-to-LPL adapter. The system also offers full compatibility with existing lenses, accessories and workflows.
THE COVER: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
22 THE COVER: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
5 FROM THE PRESIDENTS
20 years after “Must See TV”, his series remain essential.
A family outing
The Alienist team holds a 19th century mirror up to 21st century anxieties.
out to sea.
ON THE SCENE PGA Oscar night party
50 FAQ: THE PRODUCERS MARK
OPEN DOORS Connecting new storytellers
A whole new ballgame
46 MAKE IT SAFE The PGA is giving you the tools to protect your team.
7 FROM THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
34 LIVING (AND DYING) IN THE PAST
40 CRUISE CONTROL Eye-Q takes immersive production
All voices welcome
Dropping the science
56 THE BEST ON-SET PHOTO OF ALL TIME
And the winner was...
ABOVE & BEYOND Inside jobs
Paid in full
COVER PHOTOGRAPHED BY GEORGE KRAYCHYK
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GEORGE KRAYCHYK
APRIL | MAY 2018
PRESIDENTS Gary Lucchesi
VICE PRESIDENTS, MOTION PICTURES David Friendly Lydia Dean Pilcher
The Coca-Cola Company salutes Fellow creators of moments of Happiness.
VICE PRESIDENTS, TELEVISION Tim Gibbons Jason Katims VICE PRESIDENT, NEW MEDIA John Canning VICE PRESIDENT, AP COUNCIL Carrie Lynn Certa VICE PRESIDENTS, PGA EAST William Horberg Kay Rothman TREASURER Christina Lee Storm SECRETARY OF RECORD Gale Anne Hurd PRESIDENTS EMERITI Mark Gordon Hawk Koch NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/COO Vance Van Petten ASSOCIATE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/COO Susan Sprung REPRESENTATIVES, PGA NORTHWEST Darla K. Anderson Sophia Kim NATIONAL BOARD Bonnie Arnold James P. Axiotis Gail Berman Gary Bryman Caitlin Burns Yolanda T. Cochran Karen Covell Donna Gigliotti Richard Gladstein Gary Goetzman John Hadity Jennifer A. Haire
OF DIRECTORS Marshall Herskovitz Lynn Hylden Pamela Keller Rosemary Lombard Kiran Malhotra Kate McCallum Chris Moore Bruna Papandrea Jethro Rothe-Kushel Charles Roven Peter Saraf Jillian Stein
EDITOR Chris Green
PARTNER & BRAND PUBLISHER Emily S. Baker CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ajay Peckham
COPY EDITOR Peggy Jo Abraham
PHOTOGRAPHERS George Kraychyk, Kremer Johnson Photography ADVERTISING Ken Rose 818-312-6880 | firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING PARTNERS Charles C. Koones Todd Klawin Vol XIV No. 2 Produced By is published six times a year by the Producers Guild of America 530 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 400 Beverly Hills, CA 90211 310-358-9020 Tel. 310-358-9520 Fax
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FROM THE PRESIDENTS
ALL VOICES WELCOME In the wake of #MeToo, it feels as though our industry is finally beginning to grapple with its history of discrimination on multiple fronts, including ethnic and cultural prejudice as well as gender bias. As producers, our inclination is always to be pragmatic: beyond merely acknowledging that the entertainment business has, in the past, been neither as fair nor as inclusive as it ought to have been, what can we do about the problem? How can we correct our course and create an industry we can be proud of? To us, the answer lies in playing to producers’ strengths: bringing people together, guiding the conversation, and providing our passionate support to the voices that can connect with the biggest possible audience. For example, on April 5, the PGA presented the inaugural edition of its “Producers on Producing” series, featuring a screening of Black Panther followed by a Q&A with a remarkable collection of guests, including the film’s costume designer Ruth Carter, Black Panther comic-book writer and PGA member Reginald Hudlin, and author/UCLA lecturer in African American Studies Tananarive Due, moderated by PGA National Board member Yolanda T. Cochran. The astonishing box office success of Black Panther has been the movie business’ story of the year, and the opportunity to explore the film’s themes and the implications of its success alongside its journey to production was one that our Guild jumped at being a part of. After all, for ten years now, the
PGA has been building a reputation for putting together vibrant assortments of industry leaders at its annual Produced By Conference. Nine months before Frances McDormand used her Oscar platform to call for inclusion riders on future contracts, Produced By 2017 attendees could have heard Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay pointedly discussing and promoting the goal of inclusivity among film and TV crews, especially at the department head level. This year, the Produced By Conference welcomes such rising talents as showrunners Justin Simien (Dear White People) and Lena Waithe (The Chi), speaking as part of the event’s “Powerful Voices” session, as well as Charles D. King (Mudbound, Fences) who will share his insights as a producer of inclusive stories as part of the event’s film financing panel. Building a truly inclusive industry means walking a long road. Hollywood’s institutional prejudices have been quietly doing their damage for over a century, and it’s going to take a collective effort bigger than just the PGA to achieve an industry-wide degree of parity. We see that challenge as a reason to get excited, rather than discouraged. You’ll find a similar spirit among the ranks of our dedicated volunteers serving on the Guild’s Diversity and Education committees, as well as the PGA Women’s Impact Network (WIN). We’d like to offer those members, especially our tireless committee chairs, our personal thanks, and look forward to saluting them by name in next month’s issue.
As a group, producers aren’t daunted by ambitious goals. 99 out of every 100 projects made started with the odds against them. But every producer knows that if you can bring enough people together, guide enough conversations in the right direction, and provide passionate support to enough talented voices, anything is possible.
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FROM THE N AT I O N A L EXECUTIVE DI R EC TOR
A FAMILY OUTING Yes, of course, I’ve missed you too. Almost a year ago, we decided that it would be redundant for Produced By to feature a column by the Guild’s Presidents as well as its National Executive Director. Upon reaching that conclusion, I readily ceded my editorial perch to Lori and Gary. But last month, I attended a PGA event that was so unique and delightful that I prevailed upon our editor, Chris Green, to allow me back into the magazine so that I could share it with you. The evening billed itself as a “Festival of Comedy” at the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, CA. (You can find photos from the event on page 21.) I confess, I had never heard of the Nethercutt Museum prior to this event and wasn’t terribly excited about driving to Sylmar on a Satursay evening. But this event obliterated my doubts. While I and my fellow attendees turned up for a screening of classic comedy shorts, the first exhibition we were met with was the museum’s first-floor gallery of early 20th century automobiles, all in pristine condition and open to guests to touch and explore. Upstairs, we enjoyed classic short films, including a rarely seen print starring Laurel & Hardy. The films were made even more special being shown via a restored, hand-cranked 35mm projector and accompanied by live organ music on one of the numerous working antique instruments on display around the theater space. Anyone who’s seen those silent classics can testify to the timelessness of their comedy. But it’s another experience altogether to encounter them as audiences did a century ago. The screening left me with a new and gratifying sense of connection to our industry’s roots, a feeling of being part of an incredible century-plus heritage of entertainment and storytelling. It’s a feeling I never would have experienced if not for the PGA and the dedicated, creative mem-
bers who constantly seek out new benefits and programming to introduce to their colleagues. In this case, the credit goes to our Events Committee chairs Karen Covell and Joe Morabito, to whom I’ve already offered my personal thanks. But Karen and Joe are just two among the PGA’s small army of volunteers, all of whom are on the lookout for ways to improve your career—or even just your weekend—with events and programs you might never have discovered by yourself. So that’s what’s brought me back to the pages of Produced By—I attended a really cool PGA event and just had to tell you about it. The simple fact is, I’ve been fortunate to fulfill my role in the PGA for almost 20 years, and I’m still discovering events and benefits that make me want to jump up on the nearest platform and shout about it to everyone I know. In that spirit, I hope that you look on your Guild not just as a provider of screenings, screeners and seminars, but as an extended family dedicated to enriching your life. I can firmly vouch for the degree that it’s enriched mine.
“I hope that you look on your Guild as an extended family dedicated to enriching your life.”
Vance Van Petten
O P E N D O ORS
CONNECTING NEW STORYTELLERS COLLABORATION HELPS REFRAME A 90-YEAR NARRATIVE Written By yvonne russo with Rachel Watanabe-Batton
PHOTOGRAPH BY WILL MENA
GA Diversity has been busy. Over the Together in the United Nations General Assembly Room, “The Role of Producers” past couple of years, our team has participants, from left: NY1’s Grace Rauh (moderator), PGA members Donna Giglotti, represented the PGA on the Inter-guild Shirley Escott, Tia A. Smith, the UN’s Nanette Braun, PGA members Joyce Pierpoline Diversity Coalition, meeting quarterly with and Rachel Watanabe-Batton, Manager of UN’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative Jon Herbertsson our sister guilds, galvanizing collectively to respond to industry-wide concerns like sexual harassment. Along with PGA Women’s Impact Network (WIN), we’ve recently spearheaded “Reel Women of New York” interguild mixers. The events have connected and encouraged collaboration between an incredible array of female producers, writers, directors, actors, cinematographers and editors. We’ve also initiated symbiotic partnerships with such New York stakeholders as SVA’s Social Documentary Film program to host screenings and discussions, and NYU Production Labs to curate conversations like “Changemakers: Taking the Helm,” which spotlighted producers who have taken active steps to embrace diversity and inclusion. In a similar spirit, as part of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations Department of Public Information and the PGA East’s WIN, Diversity and Documentary Committees co-hosted “The Story of Women’s Empowerment Through Media: The Role of Producers,” to highlight the role of producers as agents of progressive change. Developing projects with a creative nucleus of global and local artists and craftspeople does more than just build a professional network— it creates a space for storytellers to reframe and question stale narratives which embrace myths, colonialism and genocide. Even today, these myths persist; their roots are deep. It takes dedicated work and collaboration to question and challenge the core of our inherited narrative. At the Produced By Conference last year, Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay discussed how to create a culture of inclusion by “going the extra mile to diversify the crew,” when they addressed hiring women of color in above-the-line positions. This year’s Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand proposed that inclusion riders be added to new contracts. These are steps in the right direction. Each day new stories are being told by unmuffled voices from places seldom explored or imagined as anything but exotic by traditional Hollywood. It took the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 90 years to offer a Native American actor the opportunity to present a solo tribute at the Oscars, but Cherokee actor Wes Studi, who starred in last year’s Hostiles, made history at the 2018 awards ceremony. Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison had an epoch-making moment, becoming the first female Oscar nominee for cinematography. The film’s writer/director Dee Rees became the first black woman ever nominated for an Oscar in the adapted screenplay category. And audiences have voted at the box office: Black Panther has become, at press time, the fifth highest-grossing film in U.S. history, proving that Afro-diasporic stories can and do reach massive global audiences. The PGA and its members can be part of a critical mass of institutions striving to create opportunities for these new voices. It’s time to take greater strides in telling inclusive stories from the past, present and future that reflect our collective dignity, despair, courage and perseverance.
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M E N TOR I NG M AT T E R S
A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME A great mentor will let you know if you have “the gene.” Written by David Kaufmann
applied for the PGA mentoring program during a time of great change and transition in my life. I had just quit my corporate job in New York City where I was handling the production, licensing and distribution of content for Major League Baseball and moved across the country to Los Angeles with the goal of producing independently. As a producer with a strong background in intellectual property, I sought out a mentor who had found success in acquiring and adapting elevated literary content and long-form journalism. I was matched with the wonderful Paula Mazur, producer of great films like Corinna Corinna, Nim’s Island, and most recently, The Man Who Invented Christmas. Since I was looking for someone to help me expand my horizons beyond my core experience in sports, she was a perfect fit. Paula and I met for coffee and immediately hit it off when we learned that we were both born and raised in the great state of New Jersey. She was incredibly open with me about the ebbs and flows of her own career and the realities of life producing independently, especially how it would differ from my former corporate life (for better and for worse). During our first meeting, she gave me some homework. I was to find four or five books that I loved, think about how they might be adapted and then bring them to discuss at our next meeting. That meeting was planned for an hour, but it turned into three, as we discussed every facet of each book. She helped me to think through the material as she did, not just in terms of story and character but also from a logistical and practical perspective. We went over every landmine that could come up during adaptation and production and spoke about how best to protect oneself throughout the process. We set our third meeting for six weeks later, and I was determined to activate the advice that Paula had given me. During those weeks I acquired rights through shopping agreements (contracts that allow a producer the exclusive right to represent content on behalf of an author) to two new books and a fantastic newspaper article and began the process of adapting them with writers, with an eye on further packaging. During our third meeting, I ran through my progress and the roadblocks that I was facing. She gave me great practical advice based on experiences from her own career, like how best to give notes to a writer to achieve desired story results and keep a project moving forward. As we got up from that meeting, she left me with some incredibly encouraging words: “You’ve got this; you have the gene. Keep going, keep pushing, keep trying. You will succeed.” I feel lucky to have participated in the program and even luckier that I now have someone like Paula in my corner. I carry her advice and the confidence that she helped to instill with me every day, as I continue to work towards a long and successful producing career. ¢
“She helped me to think through the material as she did, not just in terms of story and character but also from a logistical and practical perspective.”
R I S K TA K E R S
DROPPING THE SCIENCE A smart story is a good story—on the screen, stage or page.
THOMAS CAMPBELL JACKSON THINGS IN MOTION PRODUCTIONS | NEW YORK, NY
ILLUSTRATED BY AJAY PECKHAM
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PARTICLE FEVER ART AND CRAFT THE FLY ROOM CLOSER THAN WE THINK
EVERY PRODUCER HAS AT LEAST ONE “MOVIE THAT CHANGED MY LIFE.” WHAT’S YOURS, AND WHY?
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL QUALITIES YOU LOOK FOR IN A PRODUCING PARTNER? WHAT FLAWS ARE YOU WILLING TO OVERLOOK? Enthusiasm and originality but also patience and discipline. Transparency and honesty you would hope to be givens, but alas, aren’t always. Unconventional and niche projects don’t faze me.
WHAT MATERIAL HAVE YOU SEEN OR READ OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SO THAT REALLY CONNECTED WITH YOU?
Particle Fever was an eye-opener for me, especially with regard to how much impact a well executed—and expertly edited—documentary can have! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that it has steered many young people into science. That’s really when I got the bug.
It is (mostly) great that there are so many new platforms for film and video content, but the printed word is not dead. The team over at Nautilus magazine is doing a wonderful (and award-winning) job of telling stories powerfully, through a combination of excellent writing, sharp editing and thoughtful, creative illustration. The Bellevue Literary Press is another powerhouse of storytelling. And the spoken word is thriving at The Moth and The Story Collider.
LORD KNOWS, THERE ARE EASIER AND MORE RELIABLE WAYS TO MAKE A LIVING THAN BY INVESTING IN FILMS. WHAT DRAWS YOU TO FILM AS A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY?
WHAT’S THE QUICKEST WAY TO MAKE SURE YOU WILL NEVER BACK THE SCRIPT I’M PITCHING YOU?
People make a living at this? Seriously, for me, independent film is less of a business and more of an opportunity … for sharing stories, for drawing attention to important topics, for meeting new people and for having fun.
WHAT’S A PROJECT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT BACKING RIGHT NOW? Soon after I met Particle Fever director Mark Levinson, we discovered that we shared a passion for Richard Powers’ 1991 novel The Gold Bug Variations. That sprawling work jumps back and forth from the dawn of the DNA era to the cusp of the computer/ internet age, with plenty of love, loss and music along the way. We think it lends itself well to film and are very excited about the project.
I don’t like to be the sole backer and prefer the creative team to have a meaningful financial stake in the project. I generally steer clear of overly aggressive pitches or those looking for super quick turnaround. Grandiose visions and budgets are certainly red flags.
GIVEN THAT “PARTICLE FEVER – THE MUSICAL” IS IN DEVELOPMENT, WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF ADAPTING A DOCUMENTARY INTO A MUSICAL? Several Broadway professionals have said it is a natural candidate for the musical stage, with its compelling personalities, big stakes, dramatic setbacks and exhilarating breakthroughs. Though I imagine they’ll have a heck of a time trying to rhyme words like “Boson,” “Supersymmetry” and “Multiverse.” Choreographing atomic particle collisions might also pose a challenge. ¢
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O D D NUMBERS
AND THE WINNER WAS… A final roundup on Oscars 2018
WHAT WILL YOU REMEMBER MOST FONDLY FROM THE 2018 OSCAR SHOW?
36% Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph’s presentation for 33% the short subject awards The jet ski contest 14% Jennifer Garner’s moment of epiphany in the audience 6% The standing ovation for Roger Deakins 11% Frances McDormand’s rousing acceptance speech
25% 28% 19% 8% 20%
ILLUSTRATION BY AJAY PECKHAM
FOR NEXT YEAR’S OSCARS, THE PRODUCERS SHOULD BRING BACK:
J. Miles Dale’s Best Picture speech cut off No love for Lady Bird?
WHAT WAS THE NIGHT’S BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?
Overall lack of surprise/ underdog wins No Adam West salute during In Memoriam montage Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s unremarkable competence presenting Best Picture when we all secretly wanted something crazy to happen again
Jimmy Kimmel as host
22% The international flavor of the winners 25% The “90 Years” montage 17% The far-out set
Eva Marie Saint as a presenter
9% PRODUCED BY
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A B O V E & B E YON D
INSIDE JOBS Looking to expand your network in the east? These are the volunteers who can help.
mita Patel and Michael Fox are volunteers who are leading the way in the PGA East as Co-Chairs of the Employment Committee. Patel has been a member of the Committee since she joined the PGA eight years ago and became Co-Chair in 2016. She also volunteered with the Online Video Committee conducting red carpet interviews at the Tribeca Film Festival and has moderated seminar panels for the Guild. “I joined the Producers Guild after hearing about the Job Forum from a colleague who was a member.” Patel knew it would be a great way to make more contacts if she became a member, and volunteering would be a way to grow her network. “I believe a day or two after I became a
M MICHAEL FOX
member, there was another Job Forum, and I was able to get a spot to attend. I signed up for the Employment Committee at that forum and was excited to be able to help producers grow their networks and gain skills to get their next job.” In fact Patel’s most memorable volunteering experience was the first job forum she organized as a Co-Chair of the Employment Committee. “It felt like such a full-circle moment to put together and host a great networking event connecting some of the top employers in New York with our talented members.” When Patel is not giving her time to the PGA, she is a nonfiction TV & digital Supervising Producer.
ichael Fox is the owner/EP of The Beach, a NYC-based video production agency specializing in food, travel and lifestyle. Apart from his service as the other Co-Chair of the Employment Committee, he also volunteers as a member of the Documentary Committee. Fox’s most memorable moment in volunteering was last year’s Non-Scripted Job Forum in New York. “It was definitely a lot of work but rewarding to help organize. It’s great to be part of an event where fellow members get to connect and build new
relationships with production companies and networks.” Helping producers get more insight on the future of our business is at the core of his service ethic. “I like to stay involved with the PGA to help jump-start, or at least contribute to, the conversation.” A member since 2012, being part of the PGA is important to Fox because of the Guild’s visibility within the producing community. “The relationships you build with the other members, professionally and personally, are invaluable.” ¢
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CARA HOWE
PAID IN FULL Itâ€™s the color of money, after all. Why shouldnâ€™t payroll be green? Written by Claudine Marrotte
s a sustainably minded line producer, I incorporated the NYC Film Green Program, the first U.S. government program that promotes sustainable practices on film/ television productions, on my last feature and decided to look at all the areas of production that could be streamlined. Reducing paper was a primary goal, and I have been excited to try digital timecards and start work for crew. However in the past I have had pushback from my accountants, who doubted the crew would be receptive. With that in mind, I set a meeting with my production accountant and payroll accountant to discuss their concerns and asked them if they would experiment with me. Their biggest concerns were the crew would resist filling out their start work and timecards electronically on their phones or computers and that technical issues might delay getting payroll in on time, which could have consequences for union deadlines.
Our first step was meeting with GreenSlate, an entertainment payroll company I have been working with for years, to discuss our concerns and how their tools worked. We had a 30-minute demo that started with a walk-through of the start work forms so we could see how simple the process for the crew would be. My accountants had the opportunity to ask many questions, and after viewing the digital workflows and attractive digital interface, my team was on board to move forward. As most producers know, when you change something that your crew is accustomed to, there will be resistance. With that in mind, I determined to communicate openly with the crew so they would feel connected to the process. During hiring, I told each crew member we were part of the NYC Film Green Program and would be working together to produce the movie in a sustainable way. After the team
Opposite: Crewmembers navigate the paperless payroll system. Left: GreenSlate’s iPhone interface
was assembled, an email went out describing the program and providing resources for the department heads to access information, such as the Producers Guild Green Production Guide, which provides sustainable vendor information, best practices per department and Cost Benefit Analysis reports. In addition, I invited the GreenSlate Team to our pre-production meeting to be available to address any questions or concerns the crew might have. At the end of the meeting, our department heads filled out their start work, with our accountants and Green Slate’s team on hand with iPads if anyone had difficulties. The next step was implementing the new workflow with crew on set. The biggest pushback I received from crewmembers were concerns about the safety of their personal information. I addressed their concerns by explaining how the new workflow was actually safer than its predecessor. Typically when paper start work is used, the AD team employees a Paperwork PA who distributes the paperwork packet to the crew on set. The working crew will bring that paper back to their respective trucks and/or office and start filling it out. As crews get pulled in many directions, a lot of paperwork gets left unattended and sometimes goes lost or missing. When it does successfully get filled out, the crew member then hands the completed paperwork back to the Paperwork PA, who reviews it to make sure it is filled out correctly. At the end of the day, the paperwork gets sent to the office to be reviewed by the payroll team. When it arrives at
the accounting office, the clerk will review and/or make copies of it and submit it to the payroll accountant. In short there are lots of eyes on this paperwork before it lands in accounting, as well as many opportunities for the paperwork to get misplaced along the way. With electronic start work, the crewmember enters her information on the app. This information remains on file with GreenSlate for all future productions, so they only need to fill it out once, a strong benefit for crews working on multiple productions annually. On our production, the line producer, production accountant and payroll accountant were the only team members to have access to the information. The new workflow reduced the time to approve payroll as well. As line producers, we are accustomed to receiving huge piles of start work and timecards each week. Of course timing is always tight. Because of the nature of physical production, we sometimes get the paperwork at the last minute, forcing the accountants to run it to set or pull you out of a dinner on a weekend to get you to sign it. With GreenSlate, I just logged into the online interface and could quickly review and approve start work. Another benefit: if I was remote, my payroll accountant and I could speak on the phone during the review process and both be seeing the same document. Typically I will get start work that includes sticky notes with questions about kit or rates; now we both could view and make notes electronically so the risk of the notes getting lost was greatly reduced. Timecards worked the same way. The crew liked that they were easy to read and if they were on a weekly show, they could just copy and paste each week without having to fill out each individual day. The new workflow saved the accountants time since there was no need to scan in the start work or drop it off at the payroll company, resulting in reduced requests for sixth days and OT. Our implementation was eventually accepted by the crew because they all committed to the process and to helping us be a green production. Based on their feedback, they felt supported, which is always important when trying something new. At the end of the production, I reviewed the GreenSlate “Eco Tracker” to see if our behavior really made an impact. The bottom line: Our show saved over 5,000 sheets of paper and 15,000 gallons of water. The key to our success was communicating with the crew from the beginning, giving them the support they needed to be successful and actually providing results we all could be proud of. ¢
C O M I N G ATTRACTIONS
PRODUCED BY CONFERENCE JUNE 9-10
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JORDAN STRAUSS AND RICHARD SHOTWELL
The Produced By Conference hits 10 years as it returns to Paramount Pictures Studios for the biggest producers’ event of the summer. The roster of speakers already includes Marvel’s Kevin Feige, late-night news satire duo Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, the creative team behind The Handmaid’s Tale including showrunner Bruce Miller and this issue’s cover subject, Warren Littlefield, and Paramount Chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos. The event also marks two auspicious returns: the Sunday afternoon networking/mentoring fandango known as the Producers Mashup, introduced last year to general delight and acclaim, and the one and only Larry Gordon, whose straight-talk insights into the motion picture business were a regular highlight of the conference’s early years. (Then, as now, there’s no press allowed in Larry’s session, so you’ll have to tell us how it went.)
STORYTELLING WITH STOCK MEDIA MAY 12
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRYAN THORNTON
The sourcing and licensing of archival media as a powerful storytelling tool is crucial for many narrative and documentary projects. Often producers are challenged with accessing material, which can prove very difficult and time consuming; often, the licensing process becomes nearly impossible due (primarily) to budget constraints. This event will showcase several documentary producers who will speak about their experiences and the unique solutions created for their projects. The panel will walk through the step-bystep process of sourcing and licensing archival media and discuss new advancements available to filmmakers.
GA COMMITTEE OPEN HOUSE P MAY 2 Have you ever wanted to get involved with the PGA and didn’t know how? The PGA Committee Open House brings together all of the PGA’s committees for an opportunity to share more about the different volunteer opportunities the Guild has to offer. Come join us for a casual evening of food and drink, hanging out with your peers and learning a little more from your fellow PGA members.
Top: Speaker Sarah Schechter offers a pitch critique at the 2017 Produced By Conference. Middle: PBC 2017 attendees network over lunch at 20th Century Fox. Above: PGA’s inagural “Protect Your Team” event in Atlanta Below: Producer Stewart Lyons offers perspective during a PGA “Morning Mentors” session.
This 2-day course will teach members the essential skills of line producing — from pre-production through post. The step-by-step workshop focuses on what producers need to know to line produce independent low-budget scripted projects. Over the course of the weekend, attendees will learn how to break down a script and manage the schedule and budget for a low-budget feature production. Post-production topics will include deliverables and licensing. The seminar is taught by producer and PGA member Maureen A. Ryan. PGA MEMBERS: For more information or to RSVP for events, please consult producersguild.org.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MEERA JOGANI
LINE PRODUCING 2-DAY TRAINING MAY 5 - 6
ON THE SCENE
PGA OSCAR PARTY, GARLAND HOTEL, MARCH 4 The Producers Guild held its 6th annual Evening with the Oscars Viewing and Recruitment Party on Oscar Sunday in the Grand Ballroom at The Garland in North Hollywood. Members and their guests came dressed for the occasion, posed for photos on the red carpet, enjoyed a champagne toast and networking with colleagues and potential new members. The Ballroom was beautifully decorated, with roses provided by Passion Roses. Gift sponsors included diamond and gold jewelry by Bony Levy, a gift certificate from The Palm restaurant, gift baskets by Regenex, an official mounted Oscars poster and original artwork from Arte deChristie.
PGA members and guests enjoy the evening.
From left, PGA Treasurer Christina Lee Storm, Producing Workshop participant Albert Fernandez, AP Council Chair Carrie Certa, PGA member Julie Janata, Workshop participant Paula Wood, PGA member Brian McLaughlin
From left, PGA members Carolina Pacheco, Rebecca Graham Forde, Anand Patel
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL Q. MARTIN
Event producers Paulette Lifton and Jenni Ogden (center) help show off some prizes. Right: PGA volunteer Betsy Ockerlund
A select group of PGA members enjoyed a Wine, Dine and Demo event hosted by Cast & Crew at AOC restaurant, during which they were provided with an outstanding meal as well as a demo of Cast & Crewâ€™s growing suite of digital payroll, accounting and production management solutions. Attendees appreciated not only the new information about the companyâ€™s software, but the opportunity to enjoy an evening of bonding with fellow producers in a relaxed setting.
Producer Marshall Persinger (left) chats with David Benavente of Cast & Crew.
PGA member Jon Tierney is all smiles over dinner at AOC.
COURTESY OF SIX DEGREES GLOBAL
WINE, DINE AND DEMO, AOC, JANUARY 31
ON THE SCENE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DON NORMAN
From left, SEE Program Director at National Academy of Sciences Rick Loverd, Martine McDonald of Journeys In Film, Geena Davis Institute Research Director Dr. Caroline Heldman
PRODUCING AND MARKETING FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, WALLIS ANNENBERG HALL AT USC, FEBRUARY 8 PGA Education Committee members Anne-Marie Gillen, Kate McCallum, and Will Nix along with Employment Committee Chair Kia Kiso produced this informative seminar, hosted and co-produced with Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. The event focused on how storytelling, the arts and media have the power to create social change and transformation on an individual, local, national and global level. The seminar featured a panel made up of representatives from organizations which support the creative community by providing experts, research and other resources as well as education and events on relevant issues. One Hope Wine provided a generous donation of wine for the reception.
FESTIVAL OF COMEDY, NETHERCUTT MUSEUM, MARCH 13
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS COVELL
From left, producers and PGA members David Hoberman and Sean McKittrick, panelist Bonnie Abaunza; obscured, left: panelist Robert Kessel
The Festival of Comedy at the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, CA was a huge hit with the many PGA members in attendance. 110 guests (including PGA members, friends and family) all had a wonderful time admiring the museum’s gorgeous antique cars, and watching four classic silent comedies projected by a restored, hand-cranked 35mm projector and accompanied by live organ music. (The theatre doubled as an exhibition hall for an amazing collection of working antique mechanical musical instruments.) Thanks to PGA member Rick Roberts for allowing us to host this special event!
The Nethercutt’s spectacular collection of antique autos.
Renowned cinema organist Brian Israel accompanies the film.
PHOTOGRAPH BY WILL MENA
STORY OF WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT THROUGH MEDIA: THE ROLE OF PRODUCERS, UNITED NATIONS, MARCH 20 As part of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Producers Guild of America East’s Women’s Impact Network, From left PGA members Rachel Watanabe-Batton and Joyce Pierpoline, the UN’s Nanette Diversity and Documentary Committees coBraun, PGA Board member Donna Gigliotti, NY1’s Grace Rauh, PGA members Tia A. Smith hosted an event to highlight the role of and Shirley Escott. producers as agents of change in advancing gender equality, women’s empowerment, and diversity in society. Moderated by award-winning NY1 reporter Grace Rauh, panelists included PGA Board member and Academy Award-winning producer Donna Giglotti and TVOne network executive Tia A. Smith, alongside Chief of Communications and Advocacy at U.N. Women, Nanette Braun.
onestly, it would have been enough to have given us “Must See TV.” Twenty years ago, if you’d asked anyone to summarize Warren Littlefield’s legacy within the television business, their answer would have rested on those three words. The shorthand slogan for NBC’s dominant TV lineup in the 1990s, anchored by Friends, Seinfeld and ER, the phrase today is a nostalgic grace note from the pre-digital era … the time when any series worth watching was on one of four networks and when NBC Entertainment—under president Warren Littlefield—ruled the TV airwaves. Today, those airwaves are barely an afterthought, first thanks to coaxial cable and later, wireless data streams. Those four networks have lost the battle for prestige programming to once-upstart channels like HBO, AMC and FX, and streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. And Warren Littlefield is no longer the leading TV executive of his time. Instead he’s the only former network president who can, today, call himself an Emmy Award-winning producer. Littlefield, despite his modesty, has become something of a promiscuous award winner; between his two series, FX’s Fargo (created by Noah Hawley) and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (created by Bruce Miller), he’s been honored with multiple Emmys, multiple Golden Globes, a Peabody Award and a trio of Producers Guild Awards (“the three I’m most proud of,” he quips graciously). At this year’s Golden Globes, no less an eminence than FX chief John Landgraf pronounced, “I think it’s fair to finally say that, as a producer, you have now surpassed your great career at NBC.” If you’re wondering why, listen to Littlefield’s long-standing collaborator and MGM President of Television Production Steve Stark: “I’ve been out there in subzero weather with him. I’ve been on calls with him well past midnight. Warren has earned the right not to do that stuff. But he does, because he just loves the job. He loves making television.” Lucky for us, Littlefield is making a bunch more of it—Handmaid’s Tale season two premieres April 25, Fargo year four is in the works, and there’s plenty more incubating in the development hopper of the producer’s first-look deal with Bert Salke and Andy Bourne of Fox 21.
LIT T LEFIE LD Interview by Chris Green photographed by george kraychyk
COVER FEATURE: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
SO, WHAT’S THE READER’S DIGEST VERSION OF HOW YOU FOUND YOUR WAY INTO THE BUSINESS AND TO NBC? I guess it started when I was a young kid, like elementary school age. I spent a lot of time home from school, just watching television. It seemed to be OK with my mom. One day Stanley Campbell, who I went to school with, came by my house and said, “Hey, there’s a rumor you’re dead.” And at that point I thought, “Well, maybe I should show back up at school.” So, very early on I was captivated with the medium. Even though I graduated with a degree in psychology from Hobart and William Smith, I first began working for a small independent production company called Westfall Productions. My first big break there came when I produced a television movie of the week for CBS called The Last Giraffe. My boss at that company, Charlie Mortimer, and another colleague named Jonathan Bernstein, basically taught me what it was to be a producer. Someone gave me a million and a half dollars to go to East Africa and make a MOW. That went on the air in 1974 and for some strange reason, The Hollywood Reporter picked it as one of the top 10 movies of the week that year. Of course that was an age when there were hundreds of movies of the week made every year.
THEY RAN WILD ACROSS THE PLAINS IN INCREDIBLE NUMBERS. Yeah. I’m not sure why The Hollywood Reporter singled us out, maybe because the title wasn’t Policewoman Centerfold, but I knew that was an opportunity to put me into a different playground. So, I used that credit and that little article in The Hollywood Reporter to get a job at Warner Bros. TV, where I was made a Director of Development. I was there for six months and then a job came up at NBC. I applied for it and I was offered a job as Manager of Comedy Development, working for Brandon Tartikoff. Then a whole other level of education kicked in for me, and it was a wonderfully
exciting time. I got to be a part of the Fred Silverman years, the Brandon Tartikoff years and then the Grant Tinker
I don’t think I ever thought that I was the most important person in the room. I think I always knew it was the showrunners and producers who made exceptional content. They were the most important people in the room.”
years … an amazing, amazing time to get to grow up and understand the broadcast business at NBC. After about a decade in the trenches, once Brandon left, I was given the opportunity to be President of NBC Entertainment. I did that until late ’98, when they told me I would no longer be doing that. I had a 20-year run at NBC and of course, the highlight of that was the “Must See TV” years.
OBVIOUSLY, MORE GOES INTO CREATING A STORIED TELEVISION LINEUP THAN WE CAN GET INTO HERE, BUT I’M CURIOUS ABOUT THE LESSONS YOU DREW FROM BRANDON AND GRANT AND FRED AND HOW THAT MAY HAVE INFORMED YOUR WORK WITH PRODUCERS AND ULTIMATELY YOUR OWN WORK AS A PRODUCER. Fred infused us with a kind of “anything is possible” and “do it now” spirit. And believe me, based upon the shape that NBC was in at the time, someone had to think that way. Brandon was thrilled each and every moment of the day to be in a sandbox where he was engaging with creative people and knowing that he could be a spark that would bring content to life. I think Grant’s greatest lesson for us was: respect the audience. Stop looking at the audience as alien beings. He would look at a group of us and say, “You’re young. You’re well educated. You love this medium. Why don’t you start doing programming that would make you race home across the freeways at night to get to your television sets because you had to see it? Start thinking about the audience as you. What do you want to see?” Well, we’d just launched Cheers and Hill Street Blues. These were sophisticated, adult forms of comedy and drama. And while they didn’t start strong, they ultimately became foundational building blocks for what NBC would become. Those were incredible lessons.
COVER FEATURE: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
YOU MENTION HOW THOSE SHOWS DIDN’T START STRONG. WHEN YOU START THAT SENTENCE ABOUT A CONTEMPORARY SHOW, USUALLY IT DOESN’T END WITH, “…BUT IT BECAME A LEGENDARY TV SERIES.” THESE DAYS THE STUFF THAT DOESN’T START STRONG TENDS NOT TO GET A CHANCE. I once had a memorable conversation with Brandon, because Cheers was the lowest rated program in all of network television. Like, it’s not that it wasn’t in the top 10; it’s literally the last rated program on any network. It’s the bottom. “So, what do we do? Cancel or renew?” And Grant happened in on the conversation and he asked, “Well do you have anything better?” We said, “No.” And he says, “Well I think you answered your question.” So we picked it up. It was an incredible lesson. We believed in it. We believed in the auspices in front of the camera and behind the camera. And it took time for America to realize that this is what you might get from NBC. The same was very much true for the slow start of Hill Street Blues. Then we had an incredible Emmy night in 1981, where the entire night felt like a tribute to Hill Street Blues. We moved the show to Thursday night and never looked back. We had T-shirts made for our affiliate meetings that said, “Patience Rewarded.”
WELL THAT’S GOT TO BE VERY GRATIFYING. AS AN EXECUTIVE, WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF YOUR WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH PRODUCERS? AND HOW DID THAT SHAPE YOUR INITIAL FORAYS AS A FULL-TIME TELEVISION PRODUCER? Even as President of NBC Entertainment, even through all the “Must See TV” success, I don’t think I ever thought that I was the most important person in the room. I think I always knew it was the creators, the showrunners and producers who made exceptional content. They were the most important people in the room.
Our job was to broadcast it. I had a very respectful and appropriately elevated sense of their magnificent talent. So after 20 memorable and awardwinning years at NBC, I figured that my great network education and what I think is a pretty intense work ethic would propel me to instant producing success. It didn’t. It turns out, I had a lot to learn as a producer. One of the reasons that I’m still doing it is I feel like I’m still learning every day.
THAT’S SOMETHING I HEAR FROM LOTS OF PRODUCERS. IT MAY BE THE THING THEY RELISH MOST ABOUT THE JOB. Exactly. I think that, as a group, that intellectual curiosity drives us all.
GIVEN THAT YOU DIDN’T ENJOY THE INITIAL SUCCESS YOU MAY HAVE EXPECTED, WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF THE LESSONS THAT YOU LEARNED OVER THAT TIME? HOW DO YOU KEEP GOING AS A PRODUCER WHEN YOU’VE BEEN THE ARCHITECT OF “MUST SEE TV” AND SUDDENLY IT’S DIFFICULT TO GET A SHOW ON THE AIR FOR MORE THAN HALF A SEASON? I finished up at NBC and I was under a producing deal there for a short time, but it became pretty clear that they weren’t all that interested in anything I had to offer. So, I went to Paramount and I had my first development season there. I did a drama call Keen Eddie, that starred Mark Valley and Sienna Miller, and a half-hour called Do Over, that starred Penn Badgley. Two pilots, both picked up to series. And then I watched each one slowly die. With Keen Eddie, we finally got on the air at Fox. I’m really proud of what we produced. We were a favorite of everyone except for the head of the network. And so we withered and died there. Do Over landed at the WB network and ultimately, they kind of pulled out of half-hours altogether. It was a tough realization. I spent a lot of time and energy. I was proud of what I did. But nothing really stuck.
Then there was a long, long drought. I was playing entirely in the network development game. Of course that was my background. I knew network television pretty well. When I was under a deal at ABC-Disney, we found a half-hour Swedish serialized documentary. Andy Bourne, who worked with me at the time, brought it to me. I thought it was really interesting. Maybe we could turn it into a one-hour character documentary. That propelled me to Noah Hawley, who was also at ABC-Disney at the time. We made a pilot for ABC called My Generation. It was, I was told, Bob Iger’s favorite show. Then they had a management change at the network. Steve McPherson was out. Paul Lee was in. We went on the network for two episodes, Thursday night at 8:00, and then we were gone. But the most important part—this was in 2010—was that I creatively bonded with Noah Hawley. I had developed a script for Fargo when I was at NBC in ’97, a year after the movie had come out. I didn’t go forward with it as a pilot because my fear, despite it being a good script—Bruce Paltrow was the executive producer—was that network television would unfortunately do a network television version of Fargo. Already, it was an iconic film. But I knew we would wind up getting some television actress to play the role of Marge, and it certainly wasn’t going to be Frances McDormand. And so I let it go. But here we were, many years later, and I said to Noah, “You know what? I think we can get Fargo from MGM. Television is ready for an adaptation of that movie.” To his credit, Noah wasn’t afraid of that notion. We engaged with MGM. They really were primarily booted up for movies at the time. Ultimately Roma Khanna, who was running MGM TV, said, “I can’t let you do it for network.” And I said, “Yeah, I get it. That’s absolutely correct.” I waited until my deal and Noah’s were over at Disney-ABC and I said, “OK. Now we can go do Fargo.” We went in to see Steve Stark and Max Kisbye at MGM and Noah gave them his take on how to do Fargo. And they said,
COVER FEATURE: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
Executive producer Warren Littlefield (left) confers on set with showrunner Bruce Miller during production of season two of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
“We love it.” We reminded them, “It’s an anthology.” They said, “Doesn’t matter. This is a great way to go.” Then we called John Landgraf at FX, because FX already had indicated interest in developing Fargo. And that changed my world. That took me out of the network game. It reinvented me as a producer. I’ve never done network development since.
I WANT TO BACKTRACK A BIT, TO YOUR GUYS’ CONCEPTION OF THE SHOW AS AN ANTHOLOGY SERIES, WHICH AFTER ALL WAS A FORMAT THAT HAD GONE OUT OF VOGUE DECADES AGO. IT’S NOT HARD TO IMAGINE THE MORE TRADITIONAL FARGO THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN, WHERE MARGE HAS A CASE EVERY WEEK AND IT’S A PROCEDURAL WITH SOME QUIRKY ACCENTS. WHAT LED YOU TO TACK AWAY FROM THAT APPROACH, TOWARD THIS
OUTSIDE-THE-BOX CONCEPTION OF THE SHOW? It really helped when I got a call from Nick Grad at FX and he told us that in some discussions with Steve Stark at MGM, they were asking themselves, “Do we actually need Marge to do Fargo?” A really bold question! Noah wasn’t intimidated at all. He loved the film, was a student of the Coens’ work. Yet Noah was smart enough to see that if we tossed out the network procedural format, it was wide open. Nothing was more liberating than to be freed from those brilliant, iconic characters, not having to “do justice” to Marge. Because what Noah fully understood is that Marge was never a cynic. And so how could Marge deal with crime after crime, season after season and not lose that? She’d have to be a robot.
YEAH, AS A CHARACTER, SHE’S NOT BUILT FOR SERIALIZATION. What we described is that Fargo is a state
of mind. We would not be locked into any of the characters from the movie. We would not be locked to a time period. We would be locked to a sensibility where, as Noah articulated, it’s the best of America versus the worst of America. We wanted the audience to fully invest in these characters for 10 hours and then walk away. And that would be a satisfying television experience, bringing Fargo to life. When we started to break down the show and pitch it, we got a big old Rand McNally road atlas and put it on a poster board. When we first walked into MGM, we took out felt-tip pens and we said, “So here’s where this story starts and then here’s where it goes.” And we just started drawing it out on the map as Noah wonderfully talked about these characters, what those characters’ journeys might be, all against a theme and aesthetic that we knew. Max and Steve jumped off the couch. No one sat there and nodded their head with approval. They jumped off the couch. They
COVER FEATURE: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
said, “This is a reinvention of this movie. This is a reason to make it as a television series as opposed to a half-hearted retread of a the movie.” Meanwhile friends and colleagues would ask, “What are you up to? What are you working on?” And I would say, “Well I’m doing Fargo as a TV series. We’re developing that with FX.” And they’re like, “Dude, this is the worst idea you have ever had.”
YEAH. [ LAUGHS ] I ADMIT, I REMEMBER SCRATCHING MY HEAD THE FIRST TIME I HEARD ABOUT IT. Television critics who are also friends, they were telling me, “Big mistake.” I just said, “Hey, you know what? It is possible that we could have made a mistake. I’ve made them before. But watch the first hour and you’ll decide. You’ll see and you’ll weigh in.” And that all turned out pretty well. Our partners at MGM and FX have been wonderfully patient. They just say, “A season of Fargo … it’s an event. Whenever Noah is ready, we’ll do more.” And that propelled us into Year Two and then to Year Three. Four is now being hatched. I think in this platinum age of television, we’re highly aware that the level of quality just keeps going up every single year. And so each year, we try and scare ourselves more with what we attempt to do, and how much we put up on the screen, and how ambitious we are as producers. Each year we scare ourselves to death and somehow it all manages to work.
SO HAVING DONE WHAT’S A PRETTY REMARKABLE FEAT OF ADAPTATION FROM ONE MEDIUM TO ANOTHER WITH FARGO, YOU HAVE ANOTHER KIND OF EXEMPLARY ADAPTATION IN HANDMAID’S TALE. HOW DID YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH FARGO LEAD YOU TOWARD WHAT YOU WERE ABLE TO DO WITH BRUCE MILLER AND THE HANDMAID’S TALE? Well I never would have had the
opportunity to be a part of The Handmaid’s Tale without Fargo. MGM and Bruce Miller had developed two scripts for The Handmaid’s Tale with Hulu. They were excited and interested in moving forward, and they focused on Elisabeth Moss. Elisabeth Moss’ representation was very clear: “She’s not lining up to do another series right now. We don’t see a reason for Elisabeth Moss to do that.” I had recently joined WME and Ari Greenburg asked me, “Hey, do you know anything about The Handmaid’s Tale that your friends at MGM are doing?” I think you ought to look at this material. They’re interested in Elisabeth Moss.” At the time, I was gearing up for Fargo year three, on top of my development slate. But I said, “OK.” So I read the scripts and I was quite frankly blown away by the power of the dystopian world that Bruce Miller had created in his adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel. I read it. I sat down and read Margaret’s book. I read Bruce’s scripts again. And then I told Ari, “It’s incredible. I’m very interested.” Ari called up Elisabeth Moss’ reps and said, “What’s your favorite television series?” And they asked, “Is this a trick question?” He said, “Just answer the question.” They said, “Fargo.” He goes, “Well, what if I have the producer of Fargo ready to do The Handmaid’s Tale?” And they said, “Well that might get Elisabeth Moss’ attention.” So, what WME told me was, “OK. Here’s what you do. You need to get on the phone with Elisabeth Moss. You need to get her to agree to do the series. You need to get her to approve you. And you need to see if you can get her to give director approval to you, because that seems to be a hang-up in making a deal.” Now, I’d never met Elisabeth, and she’s in Australia shooting Top of the Lake 2 and these are the three things that I’m supposed to accomplish in this one phone call?
so that you have options in your life. I’m in a moment where I also have options. I just think this material is so strong and so compelling that I can’t imagine walking away from this opportunity. If you did it, I would do it. And I promise I will be there for you.” And Lizzie said, “I think we have to do this ... I think I would die if I didn’t. I just can’t imagine leaving this opportunity behind.” It was in that phone call that we solidified our relationship and we moved forward. And yes, I promised her that even if it wasn’t in the contract, Bruce and I would never hire a director she didn’t embrace.
NO ONE EVER SAID PRODUCING WAS AN EASY JOB.
I WANT TO DIG A LITTLE DEEPER, INTO THE NATURE OF YOUR ROLE ON THESE SERIES AS A NON-WRITING EXECUTIVE PRODUCER. NOT
True enough! I had a multi-hour phone call with Lizzie. I said, “Look, you have an outstanding career where you have excelled
SO, ON THE OTHER END, WHAT WERE YOUR EARLY CONVERSATIONS WITH BRUCE LIKE? They were wonderful. Bruce and I met at a waffle shop in Hollywood. I had never met Bruce, never worked with him. But I knew of his work and I knew of his great reputation. After a lot of pleasantries, Bruce looked at me and said, “So, I really have just one question: how does this work, between us? Who’s the boss?” I said, “Well it’s kind of an easy question, because in the world of television the creator and showrunner is the boss. I think that I can be enormously helpful in achieving the ambitions of this series and I think I can be a very good partner to you. We have a dystopian thriller set in a world that doesn’t exist and that will not be easy to mount, but together I think we could do something that lives up to the material that you wrote.” That became an unbelievable bond, and we’ve never once had a question about power or how anything works. Bruce defers to me in many production and directing issues. But yes, the creator/showrunner is always the ultimate visionary, and I serve that vision. That’s an exciting job for me. I love that.
COVER FEATURE: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
EVERY SERIES HAS SOMEONE IN THAT POSITION. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU? WHAT IS YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIKE AS A PRODUCER WHO’S NOT IN THE WRITERS’ ROOM? Well first of all, I have to say that while I don’t live in the writers’ room, that’s not a foreign world. I’m in and out of it and commenting and engaging, but that’s not at all my full-time job. I would say I’m “writers’ room adjacent.” I take great pride in the selection of directors. I’ve been at the head of that spear for all three years of Fargo. Very early on, it became clear that most feature directors were afraid of walking in the Coens’ shoes. So I said to Noah, “I don’t feel like being rejected by feature directors who are afraid of this. Let’s just find someone who can bring Fargo to life for television and who’s excited to do it.” And that’s what we did. I spend many, many hours watching hundreds and hundreds of directors’ work from all over the world. The same is true for The Handmaid’s Tale. I guess that the most dramatic story is Reed Morano’s.
Reed had been a distinguished DP but had directed maybe one hour of television, and she’d done a small, independent movie called Meadowlands. Bruce, Lizzie and I looked at a number of far more experienced and credentialed directors to help us launch The Handmaid’s Tale. And yet we really loved the sensibility, the attitude, the look, the vision that Reed Morano brought to it. She did a 60-page look-book. She gave us a soundtrack of what was in her head. The more we engaged with her, the more we came to feel that just because she didn’t have the resume didn’t mean she wasn’t the one. We had a lot of people to convince that we didn’t need an Oscar winner—because today, of course, Oscar-winning directors do television. To their credit, our MGM and Hulu execs embraced that idea and helped me manage up to the highest levels of those companies to get that approval. Bruce, Lizzie and I were in sync. It didn’t seem crazy to us. Today, maybe it looks a little crazier … but I guess today it looks as much like we were brilliant.
YOU CAN BE BOTH, IT’S OK. [laughs] Yeah. We just thought we had the right artist for the right task. I waited a week after we got Reed approved for the first hour and then I said to everybody, “Gee, I’m looking at the schedule and I think I’m just going to hire her for the first three hours.” And everyone went, “OK … you realize that if you’re wrong, then it’s over for the show? You’ll have destroyed the show.” I said, “You’re absolutely correct. But if I’m right, we will have locked ourselves in for the series and it will make up for other potential mistakes we may make later on, because we will be in a very solid place and know exactly who we are. Not to mention, we’re already a little bit pregnant because you already approved her to do the first hour. So, if we’re wrong, then I think I’ve already screwed up the series.” Again, I have to say, our partners at Hulu and MGM supported that decision. They deserve a lot of credit for that. It was a very unexpected move and the rest, I guess is history. For year one of The Handmaid’s Tale, four out of our five directors were
Warren Littlefield (right) with fellow executive producer Noah Hawley on location in Calgary for Year One of FX’s Fargo.
COVER FEATURE: WARREN LITTLEFIELD
women. Most of our department heads are women. I remember them saying to me, “You know it’s OK, right? It’s OK if you hire a man.” Bruce and I are keenly aware that we are not women and this must be a very strong feminist piece. So, we’ve surrounded ourselves with many talented women who are writers, producers and department heads, not the least of whom is Elisabeth Moss, who is an active producer, and for year two, a brilliant executive producer. But I really relish the kind of strategizing and mapping of the battle plan, because both of these series are quite ambitious in their own ways, and we’re not in a world of unlimited funds. We’re able to compete with series that run budgets that are two and three times greater than what we’re working with. I enjoy working on the battle plan with the line producers, the showrunners, all of the department heads, the ADs of how we’re going to pull this off. That’s fun to me. That kind of planning and prep with directors is what I really relish. When I look at what we shoot and what we put together, I know there’s a reason why we were in that specific grocery store and what that location brings to that scene. And I was a part of looking at the seven that we rejected in order to get to that one where the scene works as brilliantly as it should.
IT MUST BE VERY GRATIFYING TO BE ABLE TO SEE YOURSELF IN ALL OF THESE SECRET, INVISIBLE WAYS IN EVERY FRAME. Yeah. I mean, fortunately the scripts for The Handmaid’s Tale as well as Fargo, they’re works of art. But then they need to be produced. So many changes have to be made in order to bring those shows to life in their respective worlds.
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER HOW YOU HAVEN’T DONE NETWORK DEVELOPMENT SINCE YOU STARTED WORK ON FARGO. OVER THOSE YEARS, THE QUALITY OF NETWORK PROGRAMMING HAS CLEARLY
FALLEN BEHIND THAT OF CABLE AND STREAMING PLATFORMS. THAT SAID, YOU OF ALL PEOPLE CAN RECOGNIZE THAT A HEALTHY NETWORK TELEVISION ECOSYSTEM IS GOOD FOR EVERYBODY. AS SOMEONE WHO’S PLAYED BOTH GAMES, WHY HAVE THE NETWORKS HAD SUCH A HARD TIME CATCHING UP TO THE OTHER PLATFORMS? Well look, I won’t say “never” as far as going back to do broadcast network programming. But the process is awful. That’s just not the case in cable and in streaming. That’s why I have a first-look deal with Bert and Andy at Fox 21.They embrace a creative process where there’s much more “gray” to explore. I remember we had one year during my deal when I was over on the ABC-Disney lot, and we had a particularly frustrating development season. We made up shirts, and what we put on the front of the shirt was the one note that you always got in network television no matter what the project was: “CLARITY.” Our shirt read “CLARITY” but with the international “no” through it. Because it may just be that the lack of clarity and the mystery as to where you are going is more interesting than having everything spelled out—because the audience can’t and doesn’t anticipate it. As a developer and as a producer, that’s what I’ve chased. We’re given enormous freedom. Encouraged to take risks. On The Handmaid’s Tale, I often look at what’s in the script, at the day’s work, and I think, “I wonder if someone is going to tell us we can’t do this.” And neither from MGM nor from Hulu, have they ever said, “Don’t do it.” What Craig Erwich from Hulu did say is, “Look, our greatest fear is that this world is hopeless, that it’s such a dark, relentless, dystopian tale that the audience won’t be able to stomach it.” That’s a legitimate fear. It’s our job to give the audience a reason to continue that journey, to not give up. There must be some sense of hope. And that of course is all wrapped up in Elisabeth Moss, in what
she brings to the character—or maybe more accurately the characters, Offred and June—that she is playing. But that note is on target. Because that kind of grey that you play in, with that danger and risk, is embraced in cable and streaming. That’s why they have lapped broadcast in all award-winning categories. I’ll go back to Grant Tinker: respect the audience. The audience has matured. They have an incredible number of choices. You need to respect what they can handle and where they’ll go. That means more sophisticated character development and a story journey that we navigate that’s far more complex than anything that is being presented on network television. That’s what they’ve embraced and it’s served them well.
IT’S SERVED ALL OF US WELL, HONESTLY. BUT IN TERMS OF YOUR ROLE AS A PRODUCER, IT SEEMS IN MANY WAYS, NOT SO VERY FAR FROM YOUR EXECUTIVE ROOTS, PLAYING THE ESSENTIAL SUPPORT/ CHAMPION ROLE. Well, I think that’s true. The difference is, as a producer when you support a vision, it means you also have to execute it. As a network executive you can support a vision and there’s a lot you can throw at it. You can throw money, you can throw promotion, you can throw lots of things, but it’s not your job to execute it. Maybe this has a little to do with my age, but today I have this enormous appreciation for a day well lived. That keeps growing because I’m involved in the detail of actually executing and making something. And that’s wildly satisfying in a career where I’m happy to say I’ve had more than my share of highs, and I’ve gotten to be a part of the best of the best. This is more satisfying than any other time in my life.
THAT’S TERRIFIC TO HEAR, JUST ON A HUMAN LEVEL AS MUCH AS ON A PROFESSIONAL ONE. Thank you. I’m thrilled to be able to say it. I really am.
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IN THE PAST
The Alienist team holds a 19th century mirror up to 21 st century anxieties. Written by Kevin Perry photographed by kremer johnson photography
Executive producer Rosalie Swedlin (left) and co-executive producer Marshall Persinger of The Alienist.
TRANSGENDER HATE CRIME. A DEMONIZED IMMIGRANT POPULATION. POLITICS VS. POLICE VS. THE PRESS. FEMALE EMPOWERMENT IN THE WORKPLACE. This is 1896. And this is the lurid landscape of The Alienist. The breakthrough TNT series follows a fledgling psychotherapist, journalist and police secretary as they hunt a ravenously depraved murderer of children. Along the way, the show also tackles many of the most visceral issues of our time by transposing them to a vastly different era. It’s a challenging proposition for the audience, to be sure, but an even more daunting task for the show’s creative team, which includes, among numerous talented producers, PGA members Rosalie Swedlin and Marshall Persinger. “The hardest part was the time factor,” confesses Persinger, a co-executive producer on the series. “Originally it was supposed to come out in 2017, but there was just no way.” That’s an understatement, given the fact that they didn’t start shooting until March 16 of that year. The date is indelibly set in Persinger’s memory. “When people would come in and they would see what this entailed and what was going to happen— what was needing to happen— before March 16, they would get this look of terror on their face for like two days. We just called it ‘the look.”’ The crew was justified in being daunted. They had less than a year to replicate 19th century New York City from scratch and thus began the weekly production meetings. “Those meetings were so terrifying on one hand, because it was like, ‘How is this ever going to all come together?’ But on the other hand, it did really help everyone learn what was needed.” Persinger assesses, “It
really was a massive undertaking. It took everybody—the network and the studio— everyone together. It really was a great team experience. We were under a lot of pressure, because there was a lot riding on it.” These great expectations for The Alienist date back to 1994, when Caleb Carr penned the celebrated novel of the same title. Blending gruesome fact with historical fiction, Carr’s story has been a proverbial white whale for producers throughout the past two decades. As Swedlin explains, “While we wanted to be respectful of the novel, which had a huge international following, we had to obviously make some dramatic changes and story changes to make it work as a 10-part series.” The eternal optimist, Swedlin alchemized those obstacles into opportunities. “I knew the book from when it was initially published and acquired as a feature film. I think one of the reasons that it never got made is that one of the great pleasures of the novel is all of the great texture and historical background. When you try to do a screenplay and reduce it to two hours, it’s difficult to retain what people loved about the novel. In that sense, I think it lent itself perfectly to television in terms of storytelling and not losing all of the sense of what New York was like at that time.” And that historical moment seemed eerily familiar. “Some of the issues that people were dealing with at the end of the 19th century parallel many of the issues that are problematic today,” observes Swedlin. “Immigration; the disillusionment in institutions–the church, government, police; feminism–the suffragette movement was in full force; and the technological revolution... there are a lot of parallels to today’s world that make the series that much more interestingly relevant and accessible.” Well before Persinger was circling March 16, 2017 in red on her calendar, Swedlin and her team at Anonymous Content was engaged in pulling together the eclectic
LIVING (AND DYING) IN THE PAST
staff of writers and producers who would bring The Alienist to life, including Hossein Amini (Drive), Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), E. Max Frye (Foxcatcher) and John Sayles (Lone Star). “Along with our partners at Paramount, we went after writers together. Hossein knew the book; he wrote the first episode and the series bible. Cary was involved from a very early stage.” But while Amini and Fukunaga were a key part of the development and writing, schedules prevented them from taking the reins on set as a showrunner/director duo. “By the fall of 2016,” Swedlin continues, “Cary had another commitment, and we had to find another filmmaker. That’s what led us to Jakob Verbruggen. He was supposed to be on vacation, taking a drive up the California coast, but somewhere along the way, we caught up with him for a long conversation and he came on board.” Meanwhile, location scouting was continuing apace. We scouted Montreal and New York,” Swedlin recounts, “to see if we could find enough of 1896 New York left in either of them to make shooting possible. Ultimately, we built the streets of New York on the backlot in Budapest. Budapest provided us with a lot of other locations, buildings that were intact from the same period in which a lot of the upscale 19th century New York buildings were built.” Even when the season one narrative sprawled from NYC to upstate New York to Washington D.C., the wildly resourceful crew found all those locations in Budapest. “It’s a wonderful city to shoot in,” she concludes, “with great infrastructure for production.” Finding the locations was the first step, but the on-set team supporting Verbruggen wasn’t yet in place. “Max Frye was illing to come back,” recalls Swedlin, “and essentially be our on-set showrunner. He had never run a show before and so he brought on Marshall; she stayed on through the entire shoot.” Persinger recalls arriving at the Budapest backlot mere weeks before shooting. “We came in and everything was just plywood,” she confesses, praising the diligence of production designer Mara LaPere-Schloop. “I still don’t know how she pulled it off with all the people she had answering to her.” Growing conspiratorially concerned, Persinger whispers, “I don’t think
anybody slept very much, to tell you the truth.” The set really started to take shape with the arrival of some props from Mad Men art department veteran Ellen Freund. “She was in Austria and Germany,” recounts Persinger. “She went everywhere to find what we would consider the smallest prop, just so that it was realistic.” Freund wasn’t the only crewmember scouring the globe for period perfection. Costume designer Michael Kaplan was “designing everything the principals were wearing—traveling around and getting the fabric from everywhere in Europe.” Persinger continues, “There were two incredibly huge warehouses full of wardrobe for extras … The faces on those extras were just unbelievable. It was such an amazing representation of New York, but all in Hungary. That was a huge job for the costume department, dressing them.” Great production values don’t just pay off in visual impact—they improve performance. Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans and Dakota Fanning sported some killer threads to evoke the fashion of the era. Swedlin notes, “Dakota had to wear a corset that was pulled tight at the back under every single outfit. Her clothes had far more buttons than you would ever find on any female garment today. All the men wore detachable collars, vests under their jackets, and cravats … That, in itself, transported our actors back in time.” The uncomfortable garments, however, didn’t put a crimp in the stars’ style.
LIVING (AND DYING) IN THE PAST
Left: Marshall Persinger (center) on location in Budapest for The Alienist. Above: Rosalie Swedlin (right) at The Alienist premiere in New York with (from left) fellow exec producer Jakob Verbruggen, Paramount Television President Amy Powell, TNT President Kevin Reilly, cast members Dakota Fanning, Daniel Bruhl and Luke Evans.
Swedlin assesses, “Our actors genuinely had a wonderful time working with each other. I think they’ve all become lifelong friends now.” Persinger adds, “They were like an independent film troupe from the very beginning. So we breathed a sigh of relief, because our actors were so committed and excited and working well together. I think we lucked out.” In addition to these still-rising talents, the cast of The Alienist includes one of our nation’s most celebrated presidents: Teddy Roosevelt. “One of the great pleasures of the novel and the series is the recognizable historical characters,” remarks Swedlin. “We kind of imagined it as a Roosevelt origin story. This is not the Roosevelt that everybody knows. This is a young man who, before the series begins, has suffered two horrible losses—his mother and his
wife died within hours of each other. He’s a much more understated Roosevelt than the larger-than-life Teddy Roosevelt that people know.” Bringing such luminaries into the fold requires a presidential level of research. Action sequences are complicated enough for any production, but the team had to do a lot of thinking before the shooting started. Persinger remembers obsessing over the costume details, “When Roosevelt issued guns to the police officers … Y’know, where do they carry them? Their uniforms weren’t made for that. There would always be those little emergencies.” Now multiply those emergencies by two and you’ll start to get the bigger picture of Persinger’s dilemma. “There were literally two full crews shooting
their blocks at a time throughout this period,” she explains. “And we were editing. Luckily we were editing there in Budapest, on the lot. It was pretty extraordinary. And then to have it come together as it did is a tribute to the teamwork that was going on.” Summoning up her vast reserve of selfawareness, she quips, “I’m a ‘control freak’ producer, but at some point you have to give up. You just couldn’t be on top of everything … My philosophy was to make sure that lines of communication were open and everyone was expressing what they needed and determining how we as producers could help them achieve what they needed to achieve. I think that’s my overriding philosophy. Luckily, everyone else believed the same thing.” Persinger still reflects upon the
LIVING (AND DYING) IN THE PAST
crystallizing moment when she was able to appreciate the scope and scale of The Alienist’s production successes. “I remember the day that we went to shoot on [the] 300 Mulberry Street [set]. We had to do it on the weekend because we had to take over a public street in Budapest. That actually happened at the same weekend the Hollywood Foreign Press came down to visit, plus a lot of the people from the network and the studio were there.” So, no pressure. Go on. “It looked like 1896. There were pig carcasses, chicken carcasses hanging, there were street carts, any and every kind of cart, there were 250 extras out there, there were horses and carriages. This was an extraordinary experience. You really felt like you had stepped into 1890s New York.” Persinger beams, harkening to her indie feature roots: “To get everybody to come together and speak this language of highend filmmaking–because I’m not even gonna say people were making television, it was like filmmaking. Everybody was striving for the best of the best.” As story with so much immersive subtlety required a team with just such a pedigree. “We were telling the story that Caleb Carr created but very conscious that we were telling it in a time when these issues again are very much in the news … It speaks to the fact that America was made by immigrants who contributed enormously to the growth of the city and to the country.” Swedlin concludes, “It’s organic in the narrative.” But how does that narrative fit within the larger context of pop culture? And how would the audience receive it? These questions were central to the make-orbreak nature of bringing such challenging material to the masses, and Persinger wrestled with them endlessly. “I think now people are so used to seeing stories about serial killers and getting into the mind of the serial killer that I think the harder thing for us now is to make sure that it seems fresh. Especially when The Alienist is a precursor to all of those serial killer shows, movies, series, all of it.”
Swedlin and Persinger relax outside the Anonymous Content offices in Culver City.
LIVING (AND DYING) IN THE PAST
“MY PHILOSOPHY WAS TO MAKE SURE THAT LINES OF COMMUNICATION WERE OPEN AND EVERYONE WAS EXPRESSING WHAT THEY NEEDED, AND DETERMINING HOW WE AS PRODUCERS COULD HELP THEM ACHIEVE WHAT THEY NEEDED TO ACHIEVE. I THINK THAT’S MY OVERRIDING PHILOSOPHY. LUCKILY, EVERYONE ELSE BELIEVED THE SAME THING.” This thriller/therapy hybrid subgenre is apparently Marshall Persinger’s wheelhouse. She has been fascinated with the twisted subject matter ever since she was baptized in blood (metaphorically speaking) in the early 1990’s, earning one of her first major screen credits on the Citizen Kane of serial killer movies: The Silence of the Lambs. During her time working for the incomparable Jonathan Demme, Persinger bonded with writer E. Max Frye and Buffalo Bill himself, star Ted Levine. When the three of them reunited on the set of The Alienist, Rosalie Swedlin captured the moment on camera. From left, cast member “Rosalie actually took this picture of Max, Ted Ted Levine, co-executive producer Marshall Levine and me, and we sent it to Jonathan Persinger and executive [Demme] and we wrote him, ‘We wish you producer E. Max Frye, were here and we’re thinking of you.’ He wrote the “reunion” photo sent us back and said, ‘I can’t think of anywhere I’d to their late colleague rather be.’ And then one month later he died. We Jonathan Demme. PHOTO CREDIT: ROSALIE SWEDLIN were so grateful that we got to do that. This is the emotional part of the interview.” Persinger The intermingling of psychoanalysis and ritual murder pauses, acknowledging her grief and mustering has been a creative goldmine for TV producers of late. Dexter up considerable strength. She repeats for emphasis, “We plumbed the morality behind the mask of death, Hannibal were so grateful that we got to do that.” blurred the line between head-shrinker and scalp-taker, The producers of The Alienist have found killer success and Mindhunter pinpointed the moment when behavioral exorcising the darkest demons of history, but their personal sciences awoke to the pathology of serial killers. bonds continue to light the way forward.
EYE Q takes immersive production out to sea Written by Chris Milliken
PHOTOGRAPH BY DECKER LADOUCER
eady for an excursion out at sea on an exciting ocean cruise? Then get onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship, JOY! It’s leaving Shanghai in five minutes! There’ll be plenty of sea breeze, fresh air, sunshine and sweeping views of the ocean blue. What else would you even want on a cruise? For starters, how about immersive stage shows with dancers and aerialists, including high-tech backdrops that span 180°? Or while you’re in the middle of the ocean, how about a virtual trip through Paris? Right now, the Norwegian JOY is the only boat sporting these amenities, thanks to the creative and technical team at Eye Q Productions. Eye Q is a boutique production company based out of Agoura Hills, specializing in immersive entertainment, projection design, 3D mapping and creative video design. Headed by PGA member Jenni Ogden, who has been working alongside creative director Jeff Klein since 2003, the Eye Q team includes technologists, 3D animators, production designers and more. Before founding Eye Q, Ogden worked in the music industry, where she produced live events; she also has a background as an entrepreneur, having founded a record label. Today she sits on the PGA’s New Media Council Board of Delegates.
The shows on JOY were a natural fit for Ogden and her team, building off of similar elements and projects they had previously created. Before working on the JOY’s shows, Ogden and Eye Q had produced nine theater shows for Disney, as well as five projection mapping spectaculars and numerous projection shows for Universal Studios. Moreover, the JOY project was not even their first time at sea—Eye Q had worked on immersive shows for Disney Cruise Lines as well. One of these productions connected them with Richard Ambrose, then Disney Cruises’ VP of Entertainment, who subsequently moved to Norwegian Cruise Lines. At Norwegian, Eye Q President and Ambrose was looking to push the boundaries of Executive Producer immersive onboard entertainment. Naturally he Jenni Ogden knew just the producer for the job. Ogden observes that Eye Q has been fortunate in that most of the company’s projects have been through word-of-mouth or repeat work with the same clients. But what exactly is immersive entertainment and what exactly are the shows onboard like? In the theater space on JOY, an audience of about 1,000 is treated to hour-long “Vegas-style” stage shows that feature dancers, aerialists and other stage artists who perform in tandem with immersive projection backdrops that span eye to eye (180°) a more abstract representation of Paris that included a peek around the theater. The projections enhance the show’s story by inside a speakeasy and a flight past the Eiffel Tower and d’Orsay adding visual backdrops, locations or reactionary elements to the Theater. They drew additional inspiration from famed trapeze performances on stage. artist and tightrope walker Philippe Petit. The two shows onboard JOY are conceptually different but ofOgden explains the great creative opportunity that came fer similar immersive high-tech elements. Elements is inspired by with working alongside a renowned practitioner from another the four elements: earth, air, water, fire. Paradis is a is a virtual trip discipline—a choreographer—to mesh dance and performance through Paris, which begins at street level, before whisking the with technologically immersive projection elements. The audience off the ground through the city center. Both shows incorcollaborative give and take in the effort to make them work in porate music and are constructed for the immersive backdrops to tandem was among the highlights of the process. As Ogden match the performers on stage down to the second. puts it, everyone—choreographers, performers and technoloIn creating the shows, Eye Q was responsible for creating the gists– “was rowing in the same direction.” content on the projection screen and other technical elements The 3,000-passenger Norwegian JOY was built specifically while they collaborated alongside Broadway choreographer and the for the Chinese market, which comes with large demands shows’ creative director Patty Wilcox (Motown the Musical). While for impressive high-tech experiences. On a cruise ship that Wilcox had created earlier versions of Elements and Paradis for also features everything from virtual reality experiences to previous shows on Norwegian Cruise Lines, the addition of Eye Q’s high-tech go-carts, Ogden and her team knew that the bar was immersive environments has transformed the material, turning it set high. Ogden laughs, recalling the original request from from a performance into a must-see multimedia experience. Norwegian: to put together “a show on steroids.” When putting together early versions of the shows, Eye Q looked But as exciting as producing high-tech entertainment and to create unique entertainment, creatively speaking. For Paradis, setting up two immersive shows on the JOY was, it didn’t the process involved creating a 5-mile digital recreation of Paris, happen without a variety of unique challenges. For one, constructed from scratch. Conceptually, Wilcox and Ogden’s team setting up the shows involved working on the ship while it worked to create a journey through the city that was not simply a was still under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in “greatest hits” landmark-oriented tour. Instead, they conceived of Papenburg, Germany. Before fine-tuning the shows prior to the
PHOTOGRAPH BY SAM ROSEMAN
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A classic Paris speakeasy, as rendered by Eye Q for the Paradis show on board Norwegian’s JOY.
maiden voyage, Eye Q had to load showspecific equipment—involving the show’s programming, data and backups—onto the docked cruise ship and into the previously unseen theater space. When the team finally saw the performance space, they swiftly realized that some elements needed to be reprogrammed to work with the colors of the room and to utilize the space appropriately. Once set up in the theater, producing the the shows required a six-week stint onboard the ship for rehearsals, while JOY got its bearings at sea. While the JOY was conducting listing and turning maneuvers out on the water and testing alarms to ensure the ship was safe and ocean-ready, the crew from Eye Q worked with the creative director and performers to enhance and adjust the show’s overall presentation and the technical setups. The changes were both creative and practical. Since projections were used in tandem with traditional stage lighting, Eye Q needed to adjust lighting of their 180°
panels to work in concert with the stage lights. This required close collaboration between projectionists and stage technicians, to ensure the lighting and visual focus worked cohesively and directed the audience’s attention to the right places at the right times. The rehearsals at sea also introduced the challenges of working on a moving ship. This meant adjusting projection equipment and visual elements and working with live performers who were themselves getting used to performing on a sometimes moving stage. It wasn’t only the dancers who had to adjust; these bumpy rehearsals out at sea required minor adjustments like replacing rolling chairs in the ship’s tech booth. (Too much sliding!) Finally, knowing the entire show would need to be operated by Norwegian’s own technicians, Ogden’s team faced the challenge of producing a show that would be highly automated. With Norwegian crews operating the show for six-month stints, Eye Q had to engineer a “locked” presen-
tation that could essentially run start to finish with just the touch a button. To ensure it runs smoothly, every six months an Eye Q technologist goes to train Norwegian staff on how to conduct the show and make necessary adjustments. While Elements and Paradis are undoubtedly very high-tech shows, Eye Q confirms that cruise lines are continuing to up the ante on high-tech entertainment. Ogden is confident her team is up for the challenge and expects to work again on Norwegian’s next cruise ship. But as exciting and novel as working on a cruise ship is, Ogden and the team at Eye Q are simultaneously working on plenty of other projects that incorporate a variety of formats. From new immersive experiences to features and television to live projection experiences and virtual reality, it’s the passion for creating entertainment that embraces different formats that really makes Eye Q tick. As Ogden says, “Telling stories across multiple formats is something I really love to do.”
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T I E K A M
E F A S The PGA is giving you the tools to Protect Your Team Written by Jennifer A. Haire Illustrated by Christine Georgiades
ut! Alright that’s lunch, one hour! Make it safe, then break!” Whether they are shooting in the middle of an active war zone or within the four walls of a studio soundstage, a producer is tasked with keeping an entire production on its feet and to help provide every cast and crew member a safe space to create. Being the managers at the top of the production food chain, crew members have certain expectations of producers: You will pay them on time, you will feed them, you will tell them when and where to report to for work and by law, you will provide a workplace free from recognizable hazards. Production moves at such a fast pace that a producer may find themselves faced with a snap decision in a circumstance that carries risks. A responsible, well-trained producer is consistently able to make the right decision in that moment.
OSHA GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE “Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm.“ A hostile workplace is often a hazardous workplace. If you’ve ever felt ambushed by an aggressive
crew, it may be because they have convinced themselves you will put them in harm’s way just to make the day, stay on budget or get the shot. Conversely, as a producer, you’re likely to encounter impulsive or daring crew members willing to put themselves (or the entire production team) at risk to get the shot. When does a producer need to speak up? What if the content being produced is inherently risk-based? Are you filming wild animals in the desert? Chasing storms? Does the script call for crashing cars or burning buildings? (Or cars crashing into burning buildings?) How does a producer recognize a potential hazard or risk? What action might correct it? You must have a plan for safety. A safety plan is not just the law. It could save your life and others’ lives and it’s up to the producer to create it. Educate yourself, make it safe and protect your team. A safety plan is designed to mitigate risk to people, locations and equipment, reduce liability concerns and maximize worker safety. It is the plan for the moment that things go wrong after all precautions have been taken. Everything relies on proper action and communication. Studios and major production companies are required to have a safety program in place, including a plan to be implemented if and when risk control measures fail. Obtain a copy and conform it to the needs of your production. A comprehensive safety program should outline the company policy on such topics as management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, program inspection, evaluation and improvement, and coordination with other employers. Principles of workplace safety are not unique to the film and television industry. Being able to distinguish between common hazards and high risk activities on a production, or knowing the specific precautions to take when working with high-hazard departments (such as stunts or special effects) or in hostile environments (such as a desert or war zone), involves production safety awareness education. An educated producer makes responsible decisions. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know; that’s why you hire qualified crew. Does their work history indicate experience in the position? An employer is required to provide safety training. If your show is a signatory to the collective bargaining agreement between the AMPTP and the unions, for every union crewmember on the production the employer
MAKE IT SAFE
pays into the Contract Services Administration Training Trust Fund. Through their Safety Pass program, Contract Services provides customized film and television safety awareness and education classes. “The Safety Pass program is a cooperative commitment between major motion picture and television studios and labor unions to consistently and effectively deliver required safety training to get the job done efficiently and safely without injury and illness.” -CSATTF As part of an industry-changing collaboration, the Contract Services Administration Training Trust Fund for the first time ever will allow all PGA members access to their customized Safety Pass program online courses. The first classes being offered include “General Safety/IIPP,” “Environmental Safety,” “Hazard Communication” and “Harassment Prevention.” The coursework derives from OSHA guidelines and is customized to the film and television industry, incorporating federal, state and local laws and regulations. All classes are relevant and take the participant through clear and detailed content, with short quizzes throughout to ensure understanding of the information. There is a highly nominal fee per participant per class. The General Safety class (coded “A”) is a great overview and highlights production safety measures that can be implemented immediately. It includes topics such as the rights and responsibilities of the employer and employees, personal protective equipment, emergency action procedures, the scope of an injury illness prevention program and discusses the General Code of Safe Practices for production created by the Industry-Wide LaborManagement Safety Committee. (PGA member fee: $8.08) The Environmental Safety class (coded as “A2”) covers a wide range of workplace safety, general location and environmental awareness, severe weather, transportation of dangerous goods, disaster and emergency response, fire safety and prevention, electrical safety, workplace cleanliness and bloodborne pathogens. (PGA member fee: $19.36) The Hazard Communication class (“P”)
addresses what a responsible employer or producer must communicate to their cast and crew when they might be exposed to a hazard, how to avoid the hazard and steps that are being taken to eliminate the hazard. (PGA member fee: $19.36) The Harassment Prevention class (“HP2”) offers information to assist in identifying behaviors that constitute harassment, discrimination and retaliation. In addition, it offers information on how to assist in preventing and responding to incidents of harassment in the workplace. (PGA member fee: $13.57) Some classes are longer than others, but you are not required to take the entire class in one session. Classes have an accompanying coursebook, and each concludes with a comprehensive open-book test. As a responsible producing team member, you can immediately take advantage of this opportunity by contacting Kyle Katz at kyle@ producersguild.org to get started. Especially in light of tragic on-set accidents over the past couple of years, production crews are taking greater initiative to recognize hazards and speak up. As the producer, you may need to rely on their experience to communicate potential risks to you. Then it is up to you to address the situation and collaborate to find a suitable solution. But sometimes a crew member may not be comfortable speaking up to the unit production manager or producer. For this reason, it is important to establish the production’s safety culture from the moment a crew member is hired. Make sure they know they can come to you with a concern. At the same time, ensure that you have communication protocols in place that keep the crew informed of any potential risk and how, as a responsible producer, you are taking measures to mitigate it. While you may be “for hire” like the rest of the crew and not the direct employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure the crew has been educated on how to perform their jobs safely. The best way to assure your crew that you have their interests in mind is to lead by example. Creating the environment for a safe production starts with education, information and the use of
appropriate outside resources. The PGA continues to be one such resource. Over the past several years, the Guild has offered a variety of events and workshops designed to educate and inform producing team members, empowering them to become leading advocates for production safety. From panels on best practices when working with high hazard departments such as stunts, special effects, animals and minors, as well as when doing marine, railroad and aerial work, to a summer panel on working with your insurance broker to mitigate risk in pre-production, as well as annual CPR and first aid training organized by PGA member Melissa Friedman, the PGA provides numerous offerings to guide you in becoming an informed and responsible producer. The most recent “Protect Your Team” workshops offer a broad overview of the producers’ role on the safety team, including creating an effective plan for a safe production, collaborating with high-hazard departments during prep, assessing high-risk production activities on nonfiction/reality productions, and engaging local resources to support and facilitate a safe set. Videos of these seminars can be found on the PGA website under the heading “Safety Initiative.” The webpage also includes useful resources, helpful apps, current news regarding production safety and informational links to communication tools like “Safety Bulletins,” which are guidelines developed by the The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee. The committee is composed of guild, union, and management representatives active in industry safety and health programs. The “Protect Your Team” Los Angeles workshop (#PGAprotectyourteam) will be held May 5, 2018, followed on Sunday, May 6 with the annual “Safety Rights of Workers” seminar presented by the IATSE Safety Committee at IATSE Local 80. Your first responsibility as a producer is to provide a safe set for your crew and cast. You owe it to your team, your project and yourself to maintain a hazard-free workplace. It’s your production. Make it your responsibility to #makeitsafe.
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FAQ: THE PRODUCERS MARK those three little letters have a lot backing them up.
WHEN I SEE P.G.A. AFTER A PRODUCER’S NAME IN A MOVIE’S CREDITS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? It means that according to the rules of the Producers Guild’s certification process, that producer performed a major portion of the producing functions on that particular motion picture.
DOES THE P.G.A. AFTER THE PRODUCER’S NAME MEAN THAT THE PRODUCER IS A MEMBER OF THE PRODUCERS GUILD? NO. A producer does not need to be a member of the PGA to receive the “p.g.a.” designation after their name. In many cases, the sets of initials you see in movie credits (such as A.S.C. and A.C.E.) indicate membership in an organization. The Producers Mark is different. It’s a certification mark; its purpose is to designate that the producer has met an officially recognized standard of performance on that film.
IF A PRODUCER DOESN’T RECEIVE THE P.G.A. MARK FROM THE PRODUCERS GUILD, WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR PRODUCING CREDIT? Nothing. The Producers Mark doesn’t control or affect the “Produced by” credit in any way, nor does it invalidate that credit by its absence.
WHAT IMPACT DOES THE P.G.A. MARK HAVE ON AWARDS? Determinations for the Producers Mark and for producer award eligibility are determined at the same time and via the
same process. In addition to the PGA, AMPAS, HFPA and BAFTA all rely on the PGA process to guide their decisionmaking. However the final selection of nominees is always at the discretion of the organization giving the award. Overwhelmingly, these organizations concur with the PGA determinations, but occasionally, the decisions diverge.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS? The process is initiated by the copyright owner of the film. After the postproduction process has commenced, but 4-6 weeks before credits are locked, the owner submits a film for consideration via ProducersGuildAwards.com. Within 2-3 weeks, the PGA sends out eligibility forms to every producer credited as “Produced By” or “Producer” on the film and sends confidential verification forms to a wide variety of third parties associated with the production of the film: the director(s), writer(s), department heads, company executives and key crew members. Once forms have been returned, the PGA convenes a panel of arbiters, each of them active and experienced producers with numerous (and recent) credits, typically in the genre or category of the film under consideration. (i.e., If the film is a major studio tentpole, we try to utilize arbiters with considerable experience in making those big-budget studio pictures. If the film is a smaller indie movie, we rely on producers familiar with that type of production, etc.) An initial arbitration panel typically has three arbiters, though in rare circumstances two are used. The arbiters review all materials
returned to the PGA by the producers and third parties, with all personal names and company names redacted, so that arbiters can arrive at a judgment based on the testimony provided rather than the name recognition and perceived reputation of the producers. Following the determination, the PGA staff informs the producers of the decision. Producers who object to the decision have five days to notify the Guild of an intent to appeal. After giving producers the opportunity to add to or clarify their testimony, the PGA will convene a new panel of arbiters. All appellate panels consist of three producers. If the initial decision was unanimous, the appellate panel will consist of one producer from the original panel and two new producers; if the initial decision was not unanimous, the appellate panel will consist of three new producers. The decision of the appellate panel is final.
SO WHEN ARBITERS ARE LOOKING AT THESE FORMS, WHAT ARE THEY SEEING? The eligibility form filled out by producers asks them to indicate their level of responsibility for a variety of producing functions spanning development, preproduction, physical production and post-production. The form also includes a free-response section for the producer to more fully elaborate on the specifics of the production and their role on the film. The verification forms filled out by third parties typically ask the respondent questions related to the nature of their collaboration with the credited producers.
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(For instance, the verification form for editors asks the editor to designate which producer(s) consulted with the editor regarding dailies, gave notes on cuts or participated in screenings.)
WHO SELECTS WHICH ARBITERS VET THE CREDITS OF WHICH MOTION PICTURES? That determination is made by the PGA’s Director of Legal Affairs and Arbitrations in consultation with the National Executive Director.
WHAT IF THE PGA SELECTS AN ARBITER WHO (UNBEKNOWNST TO THEM) IS BIASED AGAINST A GIVEN PRODUCER OR FILM? The Guild takes proactive measures to prevent that from happening. Prior to convening the panel, the PGA provides all producers with a list of potential arbiters. Producers are free to strike any arbiter for any reason. Such arbiters will not be empaneled for that particular film. Furthermore, all arbiters are asked to affirmatively state that they have no interests in the films to be arbitrated that might result in a biased judgment. Even if all of those hurdles are cleared, an arbiter will be removed from the process if they or the PGA administrator feels that bias is affecting their judgment.
WHY CAN’T THE PGA BE MORE TRANSPARENT ABOUT THE PROCESS? We maintain the strictest confidentiality around the identities of the producers, third parties and arbiters involved because such confidence is the only
p.g.a. way we can hope to get accurate and truthful information. Many producers are powerful figures in this industry and this might put pressure on third parties and arbiters to achieve a desired decision. Keeping those identities confidential is the only way to maintain the integrity of the process.
ONCE A PRODUCER’S CREDIT IS CERTIFIED WITH THE P.G.A. MARK, IS THAT CERTIFICATION APPLIED PERMANENTLY TO ALL OF THE PRODUCER’S FILMS? No. A Producers Mark appended to a producing credit applies to that film only. It represents the nature of the work performed on that film alone and does not “carry over” to future productions.
WHY DO SOME FILMS CARRY THE P.G.A. MARK, BUT NOT OTHERS? The Producers Mark is voluntary. Each of the major studios—Universal, Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount and Fox—has signed a contractual agreement to submit their films to the Guild for credit certification, as have Lionsgate, DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation, Lucasfilm, Marvel, MGM, New Line and Pixar. If an independently owned film elects not to participate, we can’t
force them to submit for certification. The Producers Mark also is recognized by the WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA. The PGA has agreed not to license the Producers Mark for use with any combined credit (e.g., “Directed and Produced By …”)
WHO DOES THE PRODUCERS GUILD REPRESENT? The PGA is composed of over 7,500 professionals working in motion pictures, television and digital media throughout the United States and around the world.
HOW IS THE PGA DIFFERENT FROM ITS FELLOW GUILDS? Unlike the DGA, WGA and SAG-AFTRA, the PGA is not a labor union. This means that we can’t go on strike, set wage minimums, or negotiate collective bargaining agreements on behalf of our membership. As we are now the largest professional trade organization in the entertainment industry, the PGA provides numerous benefits for its members, including educational and training events, employment opportunities, social and networking functions, and a collective voice that represents and protects the varied interests of producers and their teams, including the Producers Mark. ■
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MEMBER BENEFITS ■ Discounted registration for Produced By Conference and Produced By: New York. ■ Vote on Producers Guild Awards and receive discount tickets to the event, as well as DVD screeners for awards consideration.
■ Eligibility for PGA Mentoring Program. ■ Listing of contact and credit information in searchable online roster. ■ Arbitration of credit disputes.
■ Admission to special PGA pre-release screenings and Q&A events.
■ Eligibility for discounted self-pay individual, family and small business health care options.
■ Full access to PGA website including events, calendar, social networking tools, members-only video library.
■ Free attendance at PGA seminars.
■ Access to PGA Job Board, online resume search, employment tools and job forums. ■ Participation in the Motion Picture Industry Health, Welfare & Pension Plan.
■ Wide variety of discounts on events, merchandise, travel. ■ Complimentary subscription to Produced By.
PGA HEALTH BENEFITS – KNOW YOUR OPTIONS p. 44 PRODUCEDBY August | September 2017
PRODUCEDBY THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA // AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017
Emma Thomas volume xiiI number 4
THOMAS “When I read the script, I knew he was never going to be satisfied making Dunkirk on a green screen stage in L.A.”
SEE THE DIGITAL EDITION PRODUCERSGUILD.ORG LET’S GET SOCIAL
Advertising Info: Ken Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-312-6880
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NEW MEMBERS The Producers Guild is proud to welcome the following new members, who joined the Guild in January and February, 2018.
PRODUCERS COUNCIL Thomas Ackerley Anthony Amoia Andres Barahona Alison Benson Peter Billingsley Megan Thomas Bradner Noel Bright Christian D. Bruun Brian Burstein Candi Carter Gerald Chamales Tom Ciaccio Chris Cowles Stacia Crawford Lyman Creason Blake Davis CarolAnne Dolan Bard Dorros Danielle Sarah Drusin Kelly Flynn Ryan David Freimann Rachel Frimer Jeffrey Gaspin Eric Gaunaurd David Gavant Aaron L. Gilbert Jon Goldwater Travis Holt Hamilton Ziad H. Hamzeh Jesse M. Hara Stacey L. Homan Karl Horstmann Scott Ryan James Michael Kinomoto Beth Kono Janes Kelly Kosek Matthew W. Krul George Krunkardt Teddy Krunhardt
Dan Lantz Rafael Marmor Danny Mendoza Robert Menzies Gio Messale Linda L. Miller John Morayniss Christopher Albert Nolen Karri Oâ€™Reilly Kim Osorio Vincent Adam Paul Adam Pincus Joe Piscatella Jed Robert Rhein Margot Elise Robbie 1 Elexa Ruth Jackie Shenoo Matthew Signer James Smith Peter Spears Charlize Theron Matthew Alexander Thorne Ember Truesdell Christina Maria Varotsis 2 Yancey Wang
AP COUNCIL ASSOCIATE PRODUCER/ PRODUCTION MANAGER/ PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Andre Burgess Devon Alexis Doheny John Foss April Lawrence Rachel North Megan Takimoto
SEGMENT/FIELD/ STORY PRODUCER Andrew Bossone Ralph Churchwell 4 Christopher John Corbellini Meredith A. Fitzpatrick Eric Fuller Jacob Kieval Oliver Oertel
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Lauren R. Devereux Marcie K. Gibboney 5 Eric Peter Mentis Stacey Owens Patricia Lynne Parris Andy Sakhrani
POST PRODUCTION Andre Vladmir Danylevich Ingrid Lageder Kevin Mueller
VISUAL EFFECTS Eve Fizzinoglia Viet Luu Sara Moore Kris Sundberg
NEW MEDIA COUNCIL Lisa Blond Guy Botham Jason Maxwell Cooper Peter M. Green Chris McClintock Kelley Slagle 3 Jay Steven Weisman Adam Wright
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THE 15:17 TO PARIS Clint Eastwood, p.g.a. Tim Moore, p.g.a. Kristina Rivera, p.g.a. Jessica Meier, p.g.a.
The Producers Guild proudly salutes the following whose credits have been certified with the Producers Mark. This list includes films released in February and March. Certification via the Producers Mark indicates that a producer undertook a major portion of the producing duties on the motion picture.
Scott Rudin, p.g.a. Andrew Macdonald, p.g.a. Allon Reich, p.g.a. Eli Bush, p.g.a.
LOVE, SIMON Wyck Godfrey, p.g.a & Marty Bowen, p.g.a.
OH LUCY! Han Westhttps, p.g.a. Yukie Kito, p.g.a. Atsuko Hirayanagi, p.g.a.
PACIFIC RIM UPRISING Mary Parent, p.g.a. Cale Boyter, p.g.a.
BASMATI BLUES Monique Caulfield, p.g.a. Jeffrey Soros, p.g.a. Ruedi Gerber, p.g.a.
BLACK PANTHER Kevin Feige, p.g.a.
PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST David Zelon, p.g.a. T.J. Berden, p.g.a.
PETER RABBIT Will Gluck, p.g.a. Zareh Nalbandian, p.g.a.
CURVATURE Julio Hallivis, p.g.a. Diego Hallivis, p.g.a.
DEATH WISH Roger Birnbaum, p.g.a.
EVERY DAY Christian Grass, p.g.a. Anthony Bregman, p.g.a. Peter Cron, p.g.a.
FIFTY SHADES FREED Michael De Luca, p.g.a. E L James, p.g.a. Dana Brunetti, p.g.a. Marcus Viscidi, p.g.a.
GAME NIGHT John Davis, p.g.a. Jason Bateman, p.g.a.
GRINGO Nash Edgerton, p.g.a. AJ Dix, p.g.a. & Beth Kono, p.g.a. Rebecca Yeldham, p.g.a.
READY PLAYER ONE Steven Spielberg, p.g.a. Donald De Line, p.g.a. Dan Farah, p.g.a. Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a.
RED SPARROW Peter Chernin, p.g.a. & Jenno Topping, p.g.a. David Ready, p.g.a.
SHERLOCK GNOMES Steve Hamilton Shaw, p.g.a. & David Furnish, p.g.a. Carolyn Soper, p.g.a.
STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT James Harris, p.g.a. Wayne Marc Godfrey, p.g.a.
THE SURVIVORS GUIDE TO PRISON Matthew Cooke, p.g.a. Steve DeVore, p.g.a.
THOROUGHBREDS HUMOR ME Sam Hoffman, p.g.a. Courtney Potts, p.g.a. & Jamie Gordon, p.g.a.
Alex Saks, p.g.a. Kevin Walsh, p.g.a.
TOMB RAIDER Graham King, p.g.a.
To apply for producers mark certification, visit us online at producersguildawards.com.
THE HURRICANE HEIST Moshe Diamant, p.g.a. Karen Baldwin, p.g.a.
A WRINKLE IN TIME Jim Whitaker, p.g.a.
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THE BEST ON-SET PHOTO OF ALL TIME
e’re not sure that there’s anything fundamentally cooler than a bitchin’ motorcycle … except for possibly a really sweet HD camera. What we love about this shot is the way it erases the distinction between the two machines— you’re going to have to look hard to see where the bike ends and the cam begins. It’s like we’re looking at a hybrid gadget or an escaped prototype from Michael Bay’s Transformers workshop. The fact that the contraption’s being ridden by an evidently renegade hit(wo)man doesn’t hurt the coolness factor either. So imagine our delight and surprise when we learned that this was shot on the set of [in]visible, a 2016 entry into the Easterseals Disability Challenge short film contest, founded by PGA member Nic Novicki and promoted in the pages of this very magazine! Producer/director/writer (and PGA member, natch) Rosser Goodman filled us in on the production, which took place over the contest’s 48-hour time span. “I had written the script the night before,” she tells us. “The actors woke up the morning of the shoot to find the script in their email.” Needing to shoot the five-page piece in a single day, the crew set up for the first shot on a sunny April morning in LA’s historic West Adams neighborhood. “I’m pretty sure everyone is looking at me as I explain exactly how the shot is going to work,” continues Goodman. “Bug [cast member Nina Bergman, right] backs into her mark, then dismounts the bike and swaggers up to Bjorn’s Safe House. The 48-hour assignment was to make [the film] a mystery, so it was important to establish Bug as the badass she is but not reveal her face.” Playing Bug’s counterpart, the double-crossing assassin Bjorn, was cast member Bryan Dilbeck [not pictured], an actor with cerebral palsy. “What was really important to me about this project,” says Goodman, “was that a disabled actor was playing an able-bodied role … Too often, disabled roles are played by able-bodied actors. Here I was able to write an ‘ordinary’ role and cast an actor with cerebral palsy to play the character.” Goodman and her all-volunteer cast and crew brought the goods—[in]visible won the contest’s Best Filmmaker Award. And on top of that honor, here it is, the recipient of Produced By’s prestigious BOSPOAT title. Congratulations to Rosser and her team. ■
We know what you’re thinking. “Best of all time? No way. I’ve got an on-set photo way better than that.” If that’s the case, we dare you to prove it. Submit it to BOSPOAT@producersguild.org. Before you submit, please review the contest rules at producersguild. org/bospoat. Because no matter how great your photo is, we have no desire to get sued over it.
“I’ve produced dozens of movies on film and video, and can attest the downstream savings of shooting film easily offsets the cost of the stock, processing and scanning. Every project wants the look and feel of celluloid, and real film stands out in our crowded digital marketplace.” Todd Black ACADEMY AWARD® Nominated Producer
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The Official Magazine of the Producers Guild of America