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The Power of Joining Forces

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 19, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama greets military family member panelists U.S. Air Force Capt. Kelly Smith, Arnita Moore and Bobby Jarman before the Joining Forces Entertainment Guild Symposium at the Writer's Guild of America Building in Los Angeles, Calif., June 13, 2011. Bruce Cohen looks on at left. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
The Power of Joining Forces
By Michelle Obama

Be a part of the initiative that’s supporting American military families at home and abroad.

This past summer, the Producers Guild was proud to be a part of JOINING FORCES, an inter-guild initiative in support of military families, supported by none other than our First Lady, Michelle Obama. As a result of PGA involvement, military bases around the world enjoyed screenings of Cars 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and other major motion pictures.

We are proud to continue the work of JOINING FORCES by publishing this brief piece from the First Lady as a website feature.


THE POWER OF JOINING FORCES

Bobby Jarman and his wife wanted to retire together. After his 22-year Army career ended, however, his wife was redeployed to Iraq. And Bobby became a full-time dad for his four daughters.

Arnita Brigham Moore can relate. When her husband joined the Marines, she soon realized that she would be asked to serve our country, as well. Deployments meant Arnita had to play the role of mother and father for their four children, serving as counselor, disciplinarian, and everything else.

But neither Arnita nor Bobby ever complained. They kept moving forward, doing what they needed to do for their family and for our country. And every single day, veterans and military families all across America demonstrate that same commitment, honor, and resilience.


First Lady Michelle Obama listens as military family member panelists relate their stories during the Joining Forces Entertainment Guild Symposium at the Writer's Guild of America Building in Los Angeles, Calif., June 13, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
One of my greatest blessings as First Lady has been hearing so many of these inspiring stories. I’ve heard from military spouses who balance work, family, and school all while dealing with the emotions of a deployment. I’ve spent time with military children who bounce from school to school while stepping up around the house when dad or mom is overseas. And I’ve been inspired by veterans who keep serving their country long after they’ve taken off a military uniform, survivors of our fallen who stand tall as pillars of their communities, and wounded warriors who don’t let anything get in the way of their dreams.

But as much as these stories are a part of my life now, they weren’t always on my radar. For many years, even though I followed the news of the day and kept up on most issues, I simply didn’t know much about the experiences of military families. That’s probably the case for most Americans.

But as I’ve learned more and more about the unique strength and courage of our military families, I’ve become driven to do whatever I can to make sure that these stories are heard. That’s why I launched the Joining Forces initiative with Dr. Jill Biden earlier this year to honor, appreciate, and support our nation’s veterans and military families. We’re asking all Americans – businesses, nonprofits, government, and citizens of all kinds – to keep doing what they do best, and direct some of their efforts toward military families.

That’s why I’m writing to you today – because all of you are our storytellers. You capture our imaginations. You open our eyes. You touch our hearts. And you help us understand who we are as individuals – and as Americans.

So I’m asking you to make these brave, strong military families a part of what you do every day. You might build an episode around a military family’s experience. You might add a character that is going through a deployment or explore the challenges veterans face when they return home. You don’t have to create a full-length screenplay or a pitch the networks on a brand-new series. Simply work it in to what you’re already doing. Be creative. Be compelling. Be funny.


First Lady Michelle Obama shares a laugh with U.S. Air Force Capt. Kelly Smith during the Joining Forces Entertainment Guild Symposium at the Writer's Guild of America Building in Los Angeles, Calif., June 13, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
We’ve already seen how your industry can make an impact, and I’m thankful for all those who have led the way. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition dedicated an episode to an amazing veteran in North Carolina. Your guilds organized a symposium on military families and produced a powerful series of public service announcements seen by millions all across the country. And I even ended up dancing on the set of iCarly after they built an episode around the emotions military children feel while a parent is deployed.

I’ll bet if you asked any of the actors, directors, or producers involved with any of these projects, they’d say they got as much out of the experience than any of the families they were hoping to highlight. That’s been my experience every step of the way. Every time I’ve spoken with a family member or worked on a project with them, I’ve come away refreshed, inspired, and ready to do more. I think you’ll have the same feeling, too.

So I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunities you have to make a difference for our nation’s veterans and military families. Share their stories. Help America feel their emotions and understand their challenges.

If we can do this, we’ll help unleash even more of the compassion and goodwill that exists throughout America for these families. We’ll see even more creative, meaningful ways that Americans are showing their support. We’ll see more people getting involved. And when we all do that – when we all join forces – we can be sure that we’re serving them as well as they’ve served us.

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PGA Video Features

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Welcome to the Producers Guild featured video page.

Produced By Conference 2011 Featured Videos

We’re pleased to provide these exclusive video clips from Produced By Conference 2011; we’ll be presenting a new video every week.

But nothing beats seeing these top industry pros in person and asking them questions yourself! Register for Produced By Conference 2012 today!



"Producing Killer Apps" Seminar - Dec 12, 2011

What Producers Need to Know Before They Go Mobile, presented by PGA New Media Council East. Chris Pfaff introduced the speakers who talk about how to work with the app stores, what technical resources were best for porting mobile apps, and how to promote apps. Link to Networker Article





Panel IntroductionFuzz ProductionsHearst



Gilt GroupCNN MoneyPanel Discussion


Summer of Monte Wildhorn – PGA Goes Behind the Scenes
Hear from Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary, and the team behind Rob Reiner’s next feature in this first-ever video from PGA Original Content!

PGA on the Set: SUMMER AT DOG DAVE'S from producers guild on Vimeo.

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When Short is Long Enough

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When Short Is Long Enough
by Brent Roske

"Nobody ever paid 12 bucks to see a short film.”


Corinne Becker and Sally Kirkland in African Chelsea
This is the basic – and completely accurate – argument against producing a short film. Why go through the stress, heartbreak, highs and lows of filmmaking if the completed project doesn’t have any fiscal value? Well, I’m so very glad you asked. Here’s a couple reasons why producing a short film may be just what you need:

1. Career Boost?
Possibly. In my experience there are two types of people in Los Angeles: people who make things and people who talk about it. Producing a short film is a tangible goal and puts you in the category of "Doers.” And once your short film is completed, you never know where it could lead. Napoleon Dynamite started as a short film and then went on to become a feature and gross $45 million at the box office. (‘Jenny Craig’-type disclaimer: Results May Vary.)


2. Work With Your Heroes.
As all you fine and gifted PGA members know, asking successful people for favors in this town – even the ones you’ve known for over a decade – can be a herculean task. But to ask that same person for just a few evenings to work on a short film can be that easy favor that makes them feel all fuzzy all over. Know a famous actor? Maybe a DP with some great credits? Coordinate a weekend and have fun on set. We all made movies with our friends when we were kids – keep it
light and enjoy "Doing for Doing’s sake.” And always have good food on a gratis set. Comfortable chairs, too.


3. Awards Are Sexy.
When you finish your short film (and keep it under 10 minutes to help with festival placement) and you actually like it, you’ll be surprised at how many people will want to show it places. Withoutabox.com has quickly turned into the clearinghouse for every festival in the world, and in an afternoon of clicking your laptop, you can enter all the biggies. This year has seen a drastic increase in the number of fests that accept digital screeners as well, so you won’t even have to drive to FedEx in your jammies.

4. Oscars Are Really Sexy. So it breaks down like this: Every year, of the thousands and thousands of short films that get made, only a relative few get qualified for the Oscars. Last year, only 76 short films made it to qualification. To qualify, you have to have either won a major festival (Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, etc.) or have your short shown theatrically in Los Angeles for three ticket-selling days. Your film also has to be transferred to a ‘DCP’ file for the theatrical run. These hurdles aren’t cheap, but last year you had a 1 in 7.6 chance of making the Academy Short (short) List of 10. Some notables with Short Film Oscar nominations: Walt Disney, Peter Sellers, Jeff Goldblum and even Taylor Hackford.

So – is producing a short film for you? The above are a few reasons why it may be. Here’s one more: It felt pretty good at Cannes telling Gus Van Sant that my short film African Chelsea was playing at the Palais the next morning. So get out there and do it. Make it happen. Build your wagon. Do or do not – there is no try.

Brent Roske is an Emmy-nominated director; his short film African Chelsea, starring Corinne Becker and Oscar nominee Sally Kirkland, is qualified for this year’s Oscars.

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Producers Produce Jobs

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Actor John Moran, PGA Member and Producer Melissa Friedman, actor Rick Steadman and PGA Member, Co-Producer and Director Carrie Certa on the set of Smiley

It’s no secret that the job market has been down across the board. No industry has been left untouched by the downward spiral of our economy. In today’s job market where there simply are no jobs to be had, what is a producer to do? We create work.


 
In late 2010, PGA member Carrie Certa was gifted a full camera, lighting and grip equipment package for two weeks from Action On Film Festival (AOF). Knowing she did not require the package for that length of time, she offered the gear to fellow filmmakers and called on her PGA connections to produce not one, but eight short films which would premiere in July at AOF.

Being out of a job herself, Carrie could not pay for any position or additional equipment so she did the next best thing, she offered up networking parties and the promise of connecting people with paying work. The offer was met with much skepticism, but after the first networking party, naysayers soon learned Carrie was good to her word. She recruited fellow PGA members: Melissa Friedman, Tom Koyyka, Mark Shelton and Giselle Rivera to produce these shorts to the highest level a zero budget could provide.


 
Yes, zero budget.


PGA member Giselle Rivera on the set of A Day In the Life of Plain Jen.

 
Did you just roll your eyes? No one can blame you if you did. We’ve all heard the stories (usually horror) about no-budget films. But if you pair up extremely successful and capable producers, you’d be amazed at what you can get for zero dollars. For example: Three free sailboats, a motion stabilizer from Perfect Horizon, lunch from Chipotle (never underestimate free food), free locations at a coffee shop, entire office space, houses, apartments, cars, a two week equipment extension and, to go a step further, license agreements from LucasFilms, Manolo Bhlanik, Universal and Apple. There was even a free bird! Yes, a real live one! 
 
These short films were not something these PGA members did in their spare time. This was honest work in something we all want and desire to do: produce. Carrie has a motto for her short films, "Produce with the heart of a feature”; these short films are no exception. You can see the results for yourselves as Carrie, Melissa, Tom, Mark and Giselle will screen their short films at the festival, which will be held in Pasadena over the last week of July.


As far as the crew is concerned, you get what you pay for… right?
Over 170 people, including cast, crew, special effects artists, editors, color correctionists, sound mixers, composers and any other position you can think of, all came on board, donating their time and services. There was a large range of experience, from eager students to Telly, Oscar and Emmy award winners. There were no stops un-pulled to make these films come to life.


 


(from left) PGA member and director/producer Carrie Certa, PGA member and co-producer Melissa Friedman, bird wrangler Majed "Magic” Dakdouk, and actor Rick Steadman on the set of Undisconnected with Lucky, the bird (center)
The beauty of this project was that it provided opportunities for people that they weren;t able to find anywhere else. Producers were able to write, direct and even act in some cases. Because there was no budget, everyone had to get creative to make things happen. Because of PGA connections the production designers were amazing! One of the projects called for an after party in a hot club. Well our hot club fell through cracks so our art department made a Church social hall look like the newest Hollywood hotspot. In one of the shorts, they needed empty pill bottles as set dressing; this being Hollywood, everyone was able to kick in some of their current medications!


 
Did these 8 shorts come with problems? Of course. This is production; there are always problems. Second, there was no budget, so of course there were many more roadblocks to get through. In this situation it was a great learning experience for even the most experienced crew members. But the happy ending to this story is the success of job placement. In order to help ourselves, we need to help others. This way of thinking has been borne out by the success of this production series, contacts from which have helped to find jobs for no fewer than 25 people since October.


The point of the story is that just as we all can work together to produce some amazing stories for all to enjoy, through these work experiences we also can help one another to find jobs. As the saying goes, ‘it’s all in who you know.’ So get to know someone and put in some work, because you never know… it just may lead to your next job.

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PGA Dodger Day 2011!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 19, 2012


By Michael Quinn Martin

On Saturday, July 23, 2011, PGA members attended our annual PGA Dodger Day at Dodger Stadium, as the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Washington Nationals. At first it looked like another bleak day at Dodger stadium, as Dodger Pitcher Ted Lilly allowed the Nationals to get three runs in the top of the first inning before most of the PGA members had returned to their seats with their $1 Dodger Dogs. But the Dodgers fought back all evening and the score was Nationals 6 and Dodgers 5 by the end of the 3rd inning. Lilly was removed after the fifth inning, but Dodger bullpen pitchers Blake Hawksworth, Mike MacDougal and Javy Guerra kept the Nationals scoreless through the last four frames to set up some late-inning Dodger heroics.

The Dodgers tied the game 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh, when Eugenio Velez, pinch running for Catcher Dioner Navarro, scored from third when Nationals Pitcher Henry Rodriguez uncorked a wild fastball that went all the way to the backstop. In the bottom of the 9th, with Trent Oeltijen on second, Rafael Furcal stepped to the plate and hit a walk-off double to win the game 7-6. The Dodgers swarmed the field and dogpiled on Furcal when he got to second base.

PGA members who arrived early got autographs from coach Rick Honeycutt, catcher Dioner Navarro, and pitchers Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra and Matt Guerrier, who were in the Dodger Bullpen next to our PGA seats. Hope to see you next year at Dodger Stadium!


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