Back in 2009 the Producers Guild of America under the leadership of then President, Marshall Herskovitz held the first ever Produced By Conference. Starting with a bang they featured James Cameron on the Sony Pictures Studios lot as he spoke about his (then) upcoming blockbuster film Avatar and the 3D technology he developed with his team to make the experience totally immersive.This year the conference is being held on the Warner Bros. Studios lot and it’s just as exciting for new filmmakers as well as seasoned professionals as it was when it started five years ago.
This is why making it your mission to qualify and become a member of the Producers Guild puts you in the midst of the greatest people in the business:
- 1. David Fincher with his longtime producer, Cea’n Chaffin made a rare appearance in Steven J. Ross Theatre in a conversation with Columbia Pictures’ Micheal De Luca.
- 2. As a member, you get one free day at the Produced By Conference at a savings of about 60%. So the $999 pass for two days becomes only $375
- 3. Camaraderie: Compared to writers and actors, producers don’t compete with other producers. The job is a collaborative endeavor and whenever you attend a Producers Guild activity, you aren’t an outsider. You’re someone who finds his or her passion in helping creative types carry out their vision, whether it be on film, TV or the ever-changing landscape of new media.
- 4. Producers Guild Screenings with Q&As. Throughout the year, the guild holds screenings of new releases and often features a conversation afterward with the PGA members who produced and often directors and/or cast members as well.
- 5. Annual membership meetings. Each year after the the conference, the members convene to hand out awards for outstanding service and elects new officers. Believe it or not, this is one of the most entertaining events of the year! Producers aren’t a stuffy group, evidenced by Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch’s antics onstage. Though they are now Co-President Emeriti, the new Presidents Gary Lucchesi and Lory McCreary will have have plenty of help keeping all eyes on the stage with these guys sitting at the board members table.
- 6. The opportunity to attend the pre-Oscar PGA Awards which like most of the others guild’s awards (SAG/WGA/DGA) gives some insight into who’ll be winning Oscars. With this group, even though it’s a black-tie event I guarantee it’s a lot less stuffy.
- 7. Hear about the latest developments direct from the leaders that help advance producers credits and standing in the industry, like outgoing Co-President Mark Gordon giving an impassioned speech about why being a producer is so meaningful and why Past President Marshall Herskovitz and why Co-President Emeriti Hawk Koch and himself fought so hard to get credit where credit is due by pushing for the newly implemented Producers Mark which you can now see as the “p.g.a.” after producing credits on films.
- 8. Attend special workshops and everything from master classes on cameras or editing systems, to Google Glass demonstrations, Digital VIP events featuring movers and shakers( like the team who created the hologram of Tupak Shakur for Coachella) speak at SOHO House, to mixers at film festivals including Cannes and Sundance.
- 9. Sign up to be mentored by your idol in production. Perhaps, as one friend found out today, discover that your mentor has been trying to obtain the rights to the intellectual property you happen to own.
- 10. David Fincher: Members get to pre-register to attend private events with inside information on the latest films and yesterday members who took advantage of this privilege heard from the director of Seven, The Social Network and the upcoming Gone Girl, David Fincher at a no-press event which was SRO. No one but the people in the room will ever know what was shared, because it was a no-press event and no recordings were allowed. So that is why making it your mission to become a member is well worth it.