While not every filmmaker has gone to film school and there are a few that actually disapprove, there are certain perks in going. One of these is having guest lectures of filmmakers and industry professionals that show up and share some of their experiences with you. Whether its an actual director explaining methods they’ve used to obtain a performance out of an actor or how a DP was able to get a certain shot off, there a a myriad of things to be found in these guest lectures or any other seminars that can be happening at a film school. If you still don’t want to go to film school, but still want an experience like this one, then fear not, for the Filmcraft series from Focal Press will be able to give you this insight, with some of the most well respected people in the industry today and people of the past who’s influence is still felt in the present. I had the chance to check out their book on Producing and I can easily say that it is totally worth the money, time and effort to obtain some wonderful insight into a group of people, whose sole careers are to make things happen.
Writers Geoffrey Macnab and Sharon Swart introduce the book as trying to breakdown the mystique that surrounds a producer’s role. What they establish is the job requires one to multitask, to get things done, help with the overall production and the list can go on and on from there. This intro helps establish what the book will give you, a variety of answers and means of what it takes to produce a film, from some of the best in the business. What was inspiring was seeing different kind of producer’s contained within this version of Filmcraft. Having someone like Tim Bevan talk about the approach to get Tomas Alfredson’s version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy made, to then go into a segment with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who elaborates on his work on the Transformers trilogy helps show the different abilities and variety of possibilities that pertain the role of a producer.
While the focus on current producer’s is fabulous, there’s a good portion of the book that covers legendary producer’s of the past. People like David O. Selznick, Dino De Laurentiis and Erich Pommer are but a few of the history lessons that this book provides. This gives the reader a solid presentation on how the role of a producer has evolved over the years. Not only that, but it shows how producer’s have molded the film industry, in being visionaries and helping filmmakers create and craft films that have stayed with audiences forever. Another great addition was an excellent glossary, that can help producer give an understanding to all the various roles, terms and techniques that not only any Producer should know, but any filmmaker worth their salt.
This book provides insight, unlike any other film text book that I’ve ever read. It trades a ton of technical jargon or theory with recollections on personal experiences that have crafted an incredible amount of films. For anyone that is wanting to become a producer and wants to have an understanding on what it takes, do yourself a favor and read the Filmcraft’s Producing and you’ll find yourself a much wiser than your peers. Highly Recommended!