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FAQ: The Producers Mark

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 10, 2017

THOSE THREE LITTLE LETTERS HAVE A LOT BACKING THEM UP.

When I see p.g.a. after a producer’s name in a movie’s credits, what does it mean?

It means that according to the rules of the Producers Guild’s certification process, that producer performed a major portion of the producing functions on that particular motion picture.

 

Does the p.g.a. after the producer’s name mean that the producer is a member of the Producers Guild?

NO. A producer does not need to be a member of the PGA to receive the “p.g.a.” designation after their name. In many cases, the sets of initials you see in movie credits (such as A.S.C. and A.C.E.) indicate membership in an organization. The Producers Mark is different. It’s a certification mark; its purpose is to designate that the producer has met an officially recognized standard of performance on that film.

 

If a producer doesn’t receive the p.g.a. mark from the Producers Guild, what happens to their producing credit?

Nothing. The Producers Mark doesn’t control or affect the “Produced by” credit in any way, nor does it invalidate that credit by its absence.

 

What impact does the p.g.a. mark have on awards?

Determinations for the Producers Mark and for producer award eligibility are determined at the same time and via the same process. In addition to the PGA, AMPAS, HFPA and BAFTA all rely on the PGA process to guide their decision-making. However the final selection of nominees is always at the discretion of the organization giving the award. Overwhelmingly, these organizations concur with the PGA determinations, but occasionally, the decisions diverge.

 

What’s the process? 

The process is initiated by the copyright owner of the film. After the post-production process has commenced, but 4-6 weeks before credits are locked, the owner submits a film for consideration via ProducersGuildAwards.com.

Within 2-3 weeks, the PGA sends out eligibility forms to every producer credited as “Produced By” or “Producer” on the film and sends confidential verification forms to a wide variety of third parties associated with the production of the film: the director(s), writer(s), department heads, company executives and key crew members.

Once forms have been returned, the PGA convenes a panel of arbiters, each of them active and experienced producers with numerous (and recent) credits, typically in the genre or category of the film under consideration. (i.e., If the film is a major studio tentpole, we try to utilize arbiters with considerable experience in making those big-budget studio pictures. If the film is a smaller indie movie, we rely on producers familiar with that type of production, etc.) An initial arbitration panel typically has three arbiters, though in rare circumstances two are used.

The arbiters review all materials returned to the PGA by the producers and third parties, with all personal names and company names redacted, so that arbiters can arrive at a judgment based on the testimony provided rather than the name recognition and perceived reputation of the producers.

Following the determination, the PGA staff informs the producers of the decision.

Producers who object to the decision have five days to notify the Guild of an intent to appeal. After giving producers the opportunity to add to or clarify their testimony, the PGA will convene a new panel of arbiters. All appellate panels consist of three producers. If the initial decision was unanimous, the appellate panel will consist of one producer from the original panel and two new producers; if the initial decision was not unanimous, the appellate panel will consist of three new producers. The decision of the appellate panel is final.

 

So when arbiters are looking at these forms, what are they seeing?

The eligibility form filled out by producers asks them to indicate their level of responsibility for a variety of producing functions spanning development, pre-production, physical production and post-production. The form also includes a free-response section for the producer to more fully elaborate on the specifics of the production and their role on the film. The verification forms filled out by third parties typically ask the respondent questions related to the nature of their collaboration with the credited producers.

(For instance, the verification form for editors asks the editor to designate which producer(s) consulted with the editor regarding dailies, gave notes on cuts or participated in screenings.)

 

Who selects which arbiters vet the credits of which motion pictures?

That determination is made by the PGA’s Director of Legal Affairs and Arbitrations in consultation with the National Executive Director.

 

What if the PGA selects an arbiter who (unbeknownst to them) is biased against a given producer or film?

The Guild takes proactive measures to prevent that from happening. Prior to convening the panel, the PGA provides all producers with a list of potential arbiters. Producers are free to strike any arbiter for any reason. Such arbiters will not be empaneled for that particular film. Furthermore, all arbiters are asked to affirmatively state that they have no interests in the films to be arbitrated that might result in a biased judgment. Even if all of those hurdles are cleared, an arbiter will be removed from the process if they or the PGA administrator feels that bias is affecting their judgment.

 

Why can’t the PGA be more transparent about the process?

We maintain the strictest confidentiality around the identities of the producers, third parties and arbiters involved because such confidence is the only way we can hope to get accurate and truthful information. Many producers are powerful figures in this industry and this might put pressure on third parties and arbiters to achieve a desired decision. Keeping those identities confidential is the only way to maintain the integrity of the process.

 

Once a producer’s credit is certified with the p.g.a. mark, is that certification applied permanently to all of the producer’s films?

No. A Producers Mark appended to a producing credit applies to that film only. It represents the nature of the work performed on that film alone and does not “carry over” to future productions.

 

Why do some films carry the p.g.a. mark, but not others?

The Producers Mark is voluntary. Each of the major studios—Universal, Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount and Fox—has signed a contractual agreement to submit their films to the Guild for credit certification, as have The Weinstein Company, Lionsgate, DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation, Lucasfilm, Marvel, MGM, New Line and Pixar. If an independently owned film elects not to participate, we can’t force them to submit for certification.

The Producers Mark also is recognized by the WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA. The PGA has agreed not to license the Producers Mark for use with any combined credit (e.g., “Directed and Produced By …”)

 

Who does the Producers Guild represent?

The PGA is composed of over 7,500 professionals working in motion pictures, television and digital media throughout the United States and around the world.

 

How is the PGA different from its fellow guilds?

Unlike the DGA, WGA and SAG-AFTRA, the PGA is not a labor union. This means that we can’t go on strike, set wage minimums, or negotiate collective bargaining agreements on behalf of our membership. As we are now the largest professional trade organization in the entertainment industry, the PGA provides numerous benefits for its members, including educational and training events, employment opportunities, social and networking functions, and a collective voice that represents and protects the varied interests of producers and their teams, including the Producers Mark. 

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