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How to Find The Right Producer for Your Indie Film

By Mynette Louie | Indiewire July 29, 2014 at 12:29PM

Mynette Louie, president of Gamechanger Films, shares some great advice about how to find the right indie film producer for your project - as well as a list of indie film producers.
3
Land Ho!
Sony Pictures Classics "Land Ho!"

Perhaps the question I am asked most often is "Can you recommend a producer for my project?" In light of this, I've decided to share this list of 100+ American independent film producers I've compiled over the years. It comes in handy whenever I'm looking for a producing partner on a project, or more recently, for a trustworthy producer to lead the charge and take care of the money on films that Gamechanger may want to finance. Note that this is not meant to be a "best" list; it is merely an objective compilation of all of the producers who have been Independent Spirit Producers Award nominees, Sundance Creative Producing Lab fellows, and Rotterdam Lab fellows from the U.S. (so you should do your homework on each of them).

READ MORE: 10 Tips for Producing a Micro-Budget Indie

"Finding the right producer can be as tough as finding the right spouse." - Mynette Louie

But these are just three sources! There are many other good and great producers who aren't on this list, including some very established indie producer institutions like Christine Vachon, Ted Hope, Anthony Bregman, Ron Yerxa & Albert Berger, Anne Carey, etc. (you should look at Oscar nominees for those!). Other sources you can research include: Film Independent Producing Lab; Berlin Talent Campus; recent film festival program guides; recent project market guides; graduate producing students at film schools like USC, Columbia, NYU, AFI, and UCLA; personal recommendations from fellow writers and directors; and good ol' IMDb—start by looking at who produced recent films you've liked.

Gamechanger Team L-R: Mynette Louie, Mary Jane Skalski,  Julie Parker Benello, and Dan Cogan
photo via LA Times credit: Carolyn Cole Gamechanger Team L-R: Mynette Louie, Mary Jane Skalski, Julie Parker Benello, and Dan Cogan

Before approaching producers, remember to do your research on them! If your project is micro-budget you should probably skip the folks who haven't produced a micro-budget film in the last five years. If the producer has recently gotten a new full-time job as a studio executive, an agent, or the like, she's probably not looking for new projects to produce right now. (Ditto producers who have left the biz...many of us do!) If you're looking for a producer to help you develop your script, attach cast, and find financing, make sure he actually has that experience, or at least the smarts and hunger to learn all that stuff on the job. Also, don't pigeonhole a producer—just because she's never produced a horror film before doesn't mean that she can't or doesn't want to. And remember that not all "producers" are created equal - some are not actually creative/holistic producers, but rather financiers, managers, sales agents, line producers, or writers. Make sure you figure out what kind of "producer" they are.

"Like directing, producing is an art." - Mynette Louie

Finally, don't unnecessarily weigh down your project with multiple producers from the outset. Like directing, producing is an art, and too many cooks do spoil the broth. Don't attach producer deadweight, because it's hard to unattach. Get your lead producer on board first, then decide together whether it's worth attaching additional producers.

Finding the right producer can be as tough as finding the right spouse. Best of luck to ya!

Indie Producers Roster
Mynette Louie Indie Producers Roster

Mynette Louie is the president of Gamechanger Films. She is the winner of the 2013 Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award. She produced Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz's buddy comedy "Land Ho!," which was recently released by Sony Pictures Classics; Tze Chun’s crime thriller Cold Comes the Night, starring Alice Eve, Logan Marshall-Green, and Bryan Cranston (Sony/Goldwyn 2014), and Chun’s critically acclaimed Children of Invention (Sundance 2009); Marshall Lewy’s California Solo starring Robert Carlyle (Sundance 2012, Strand Releasing); Patricia Benoit’s Stones in the Sun starring Edwidge Danticat (Tribeca 2012); and Doug Karr’s Art Machine starring Joseph Cross, Jessica Szohr, and Joey Lauren Adams (Woodstock 2012). Follow her on Twitter.

This article is related to: Gamechanger Films, Mynette Louie, Filmmaker Toolkit: Production, Producers






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