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Wednesday, 19 September 2012 06:00

A look Back at Produced By 2012

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Last June, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) returned to the historic Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City, Calif. for its fourth annual Produced By Conference (PBC) — and it was a weekend to remember. The PGA and PBC Co-Chairs Tracey Edmonds, Marshall Herskovitz, Rachel Klein and Gary Lucchesi once again managed to corral an all-star lineup of speakers for the two-day event that proved to be both enlightening and inspiring for over 1,400 attendees. Yet, according to Lucchesi, the first time the PGA mounted the Produced By Conference, they were all “a little nervous” that it wasn’t going to get any traction. “But it proved to be enormously successful from the very beginning,” the co-chair reports.

Lucchesi sees the event as a place where people who have been involved in the business for a couple of years or maybe went to film school or worked for a company now want to do more. img_1643_sm“Creatively, I think this year’s conference went over extremely well,” says Lucchesi. “The guest speakers were an exceptional crop of people from every business that one would want to see in film, television and new media.” 

One of the big draws for the PBC is the potential to access A-list producers. Many attendees took advantage of an option to participate in one or more of several mentor roundtables that let 10 attendees ask the advice of seasoned producers, including Gale Ann Hurd (“The Walking Dead”), Michael De Luca (Moneyball, The Social Network), Cean Chaffin (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Doug Wick (The Great Gatsby). “This gave us the opportunity to have conversations with young filmmakers and give them insights into how we maneuver a project,” explains Lucchesi. Less than two weeks after the event, Lucchesi says he’s already had roundtable participants follow up with him: “There was a young Chinese woman who wanted to talk about production in China and we already had a meeting.”

cubanThe PBC panels covered a broad spectrum of topics, including franchise building, non-fiction programming, the challenges of global production, working in the independent world, the collaboration between producers and unions (like SAG-AFTRA), and how new technologies like digital distribution can benefit independent producers. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear high-profile producers, like Lawrence Gordon, Christopher Nolan, Nina Jacobson, Brian Grazer, Peter Berg and Mark Gordon, speak very candidly about their careers, building a body of work, the dramatic changes in the industry and how those changes created new creative and business challenges. With such a wealth of valuable information, one of the biggest challenges for attendees was choosing a session out of several panels offered in four time slots over two days.

Space limitations prevent me from listing detailed descriptions of the PBC sessions, but I can tell you that I found the session with Nolan and Producer img_1701_smEmma Thomas and the discussion about passion projects with Berg and Grazer to be especially insightful and entertaining. Berg and Grazer were a virtual vaudeville act with the way their stories and observations bounced off each other. As for future conferences, because of all the rapidly changing technologies affecting how producers do business these days, Lucchesi says, “Hopefully the conference will be even more relevant and more futuristic next year.”

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