|A Message from the Executive Director|
WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THE PRODUCED BY CONFERENCE EVEN BETTER?
MAKE IT FREE FOR MEMBERS TO ATTEND.
Producing the Produced By Conference the past two years has been one of the most challenging and gratifying undertakings in my ten years at the Guild. And despite the success of the past two years, mounting Produced By 2011 was by no means a sure thing. This event is an expensive one to produce; the Guild spent roughly $800,000 on each of the last two Conferences—and that was with getting many elements as donations, including the space on our host studio lots and the help from our PGA volunteers.
As anyone who was at either of our previous events can tell you, the Produced By Conference has been an incredible success at its primary goal: creating a "home” for the producing community, and sharing the experience and perspective of the very best producers with a wider audience of professionals. But at the behest of our new Presidents, we took a long look at the Conference, considering whether to produce it again this year. Two things were clear to us: 1) If we were to mount the Conference again, it would have to grow and develop; we didn’t want to put on the same event as last year; and 2) We would have to find a way to reduce our financial risk.
As a result, we met with the CEOs and Executive Directors of numerous other organizations, everyone from NATPE to NAB to Digital Hollywood, to see if we could find a suitable partner. Thanks to Madelyn Hammond, we were introduced to Larry Brownell of AFCI Locations Expo, and discovered that our needs meshed: They were seeking more producers to attend their event; we were seeking underwriting. It was a terrific fit, and we have been working together over the past several months to lay the groundwork for an incredible event. Next June, our producers will have access to over 250 film commissions, representing roughly $2.5 billion in budget incentives—and they’ll all be in one place for you to meet with and shop your projects.
Of course, the other element was determining what our venue would be. We were determined to hold the event again on a studio lot; the traditional studio venue is one of the things that makes our conference special. Once again, we got lucky: PGA member and ABC executive Barry Jossen stepped up to the plate in a big way. Barry all but accosted me while I was MC-ing a father/daughter picnic at our children’s school, insisting that we give the Disney lot a shot at hosting the Conference. After looking at their facilities, we were impressed. Disney has made some striking improvements to their lot, including a brand-new theater and many first-rate amenities. Even more impressive was the commitment of Barry and the Disney and ABC executive teams. They want to showcase their studio for our producers, and as a result, they’ll be allowing us to take over the entire lot – including the theater, studio space, and the Disney Legends Promenade. Not only that, the studio has graciously offered to host our General Membership Meeting and kickoff party on Friday night, which all of you are encouraged to attend.
Thanks to AFCI’s underwriting, the Guild has no financial exposure for the event—our only concern is to create the very best programming we can, a task that’s been eagerly undertaken by Gale Anne Hurd, Rachel Klein, and our President Emeritus, Marshall Herskovitz, who joins the Conference effort as a Co-Chair this year.
Best of all, thanks to AFCI’s support, we can open up the Conference doors to 600 members for free this year. I am very much aware of how difficult times are for producers, and we’re committed to giving you the best possible value for your membership. As a result, 600 members each will receive one free day of the Conference – we’ll have 300 slots available for Saturday, and 300 for Sunday. If you want to attend the entire weekend, you’re welcome to pay the member rate of $295 (still a bargain). But for many of you struggling to find work, we can offer a full day of seminars, panel discussions, workshops, vendors (including hundreds of film commissions) and networking events at no charge, courtesy of the PGA.
The simple fact is: We want you at the Produced By Conference. This is an event produced by producers, for producers, and all about producing. And thanks to the hard work of Gale, Rachel, Marshall, the PGA staff and our producing team led by Barry Kaplan – to say nothing of the support we’ve received from AFCI Locations and Disney/ABC – we can look forward to welcoming 600 of you to the event for free.
Registration starts very early next year. Look for our announcements in 2011, as we unveil the next outstanding roster of speakers and programs. Until then, block out the weekend of June 3-5 – in 2011, you’ve got plans.
Vance Van Petten