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in Filmmaking
on Apr 10, 2008

In Variety, Anne Thompson reports on “post-studio stress disorder” in a remarkably frank piece about the tough job of producing, especially for those studio castaways who are now trying to downside their operations to fit the current economic climate.

Here are three graphs:

Arguably hardest hit are producers who grew up on big-studio largess and now find the gravy train has moved on without them. Producers and directors once accustomed to pitching a project at a studio and getting easy development money are stymied. Now they need to build muscles and an arsenal of skills they never exercised at the well-greased, slow-turning studio wheel.

Some are adapting to developing material themselves, attaching elements like stars, director and writer, handling legal questions and hustling for new financing sources, often with the help of agency packagers. These days you can’t get anywhere without a movie that’s just about ready to go.

“It’s almost impossible to make a living off being a producer,” says Endeavor agent Brian Swardstrom. “You have to be rich or lucky or you end up out of the business. You have to hustle to eke out a living. You can’t just sit there like the old days when you could call your friends and get a kickback. That’s long gone. Some like Scott Rudin and Imagine and Working Title are doing their own thing. Everyone else is hustling their ass off.”

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