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Ice Cube on Producing and "Straight Outta Compton"

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 17, 2015

Last Thursday, August 13th 2015, the PGA WEST audience was treated to a screening of the imminent box office hit Straight Outta Compton.  Joining the Q&A after the film was one of film's stars, O'Shea Jackson Jr., accompanied by several of the films producers.  One of those producers, however, was none other than Jackson's father, subject of the film, and entertainment icon, Ice Cube.  Of course known as a rapping pioneer and sensation, as detailed in Straight Outta Compton, but also well known as a film and TV producer, Ice Cube elucidated many points, including the quality that permits him to produce successful projects across a range of genres:

I stay a fan. Sometimes you get in the business and you figure you’re the gatekeeper of entertainment, and you want to provide the masses with entertainment. Bbut if you stay a fan you really see what’s wrong with projects from that point of view and you can go in there and fix them and I've always had a clear plan of the kind of movies I wanted to make and a clear plan of the tone.  Because I think that is your, I guess that’s your glue, is a tone, and it is very important that we get our tones right when making a movie.  If you get that right, everything else seems to roll into place, but if you’re fighting with the tone of your movie and you're not really sure what that is, then it is going be a struggle to stay on track.  I think my movies are able to keep the tone that it promises to the audience.  These kinds of things are my pet peeves and they worked out for me well, being able to pay attention to those kinds of things, and there is probably a slew of other things that go into it. It is finding great people that know what they're doing.  Working with the best, and [working] with people that are passionate and love what they're doing.  

And I love producing, it is where all the action is.  It is really where all the action is. It's just great to be in this position. I would hate to just act, that would just drive me crazy, not to be able to be in those meetings and to be into the creative side and making those decisions that I know can sway a film and make it either good or bad. And I'm like you guys, I hate bad movies. I just hate em! So I like to try to make my stuff fulfill its promise.

On producing Straight Outta Compton:

I couldn’t be more happy with the whole process, it was not easy. This was the hardest movie that I ever had to produce. When it is fiction and you run up against a bump, hiccup, budget issue, you can just be like, "let’s go in a room and think of something different”.  You know what I mean? Here, you change something and you get a phone call. "ring. Why did you take out my part?!! What’s going on?!” so you're like, "uh, let’s put that back”, so now you're looking for other places and it just never ended.

We just wanted to tell the story and you just had to grapple with keeping it real but also adhering to the standards of movie making. We wanted to make people laugh, cheer, and cry.  So it was just this tricky balance that we were all trying to hit our marks because we knew there were a thousand ways to mess this movie up. There's so many ways to get this wrong. Our thing was "let's hit our marks, let's hit our bench marks, man”. Once I saw the first week of dailies, I said "yeah, we got a nice team together. We got a great team.”


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Blumhouse Dishes Industry Insight at Produced By Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 13, 2015

Since upending the horror template almost a decade ago with Paranormal Activity, Blumhouse Productions has created new micro-budget genre franchises like Insidious, Sinister and The Purge while championing such challenging fare as the Oscar-winning Whiplash and the Emmy-winning The Normal Heart. Blumhouse’s model is built on the idea of giving filmmakers creative freedom by keeping budgets low. Founder Jason Blum convenes the team that helped build his company for a look at their film and television businesses as well as their production process from development, to physical production, to working with studios on marketing and distribution.

Below, watch some segment highlights from their session at Produced By Conference 2015:

Blumhouse Guiding Principles and Advice
Advice For First-Time Filmmakers
The Big, The Bad, and The Indie: Wide vs Limited Releases
Blumhouse Tells All About Whiplash

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PGA at Taipei Film Academy 2014

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One of the key functions of a producer is knowing how to build bridges.  That is exactly what the Producers Guild of America does with organizations around the world, including the Taipei Film Commission.  Last year leaders from the PGA traveled to Taipei, Taiwan in order to attend the Taipei Film Academy - Filmmakers' Workshop.  Representing the PGA in Taipei was Stu Levy (chair, International Committee), Deb Calla (chair, Diversity Committee), Charles Howard (co-chair, Diversity Committee) and Vance Van Petten (National Executive Director).  During the workshop, the PGA representatives were proud to share their insights and knowledge and continue to build bridges like only Producers know how.  

Observe highlights from the five-day workshop below:

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Women's Impact Network (W.I.N.) Panel Discussion on Marketplace and Pitching

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 1, 2015
From the PGA Women's Impact Network's (W.I.N.) first major event, Pitch to W.I.N., we are happy to provide you with the full panel discussion that was led by the Stage 32 staff and industry executives to discuss the marketplaces, what buyers are looking for, and how to hook an executive with your pitch.


Panelists included:

  • RB Botto (Founder & CEO, Stage 32)
  • Joey Tuccio (President, Stage 32 Happy Writers)
  • Tiffany Boyle (VP of Packaging & Sales for Ramo Law)
  • Mara Tasker (Associate Producer, VICE Media)
  • Jennifer Breslow (VP of Scripted Series, Lifetime)
  • Stephanie Wilcox (VP of Development at Rumble Films)
  • Moderated by Carrie Lynn Certa (PGA & W.I.N. Committee Member)

See the full panel video below.

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An Important Reminder Regarding Safety on Set

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On March 24, 2015, following the tragic railroad accident that occurred in Jesup, Georgia in 2014 resulting in the death of one crew member and injury to six others, the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB”) issued a safety recommendation to the film industry asking that the Producers Guild of America ("PGA”) and other industry organizations remind producing team members that "(1) railroads are private property requiring the railroad’s authorization to enter and (2) that, if authorization is given, everyone on scene must follow the railroad’s safety procedures to reduce hazards.” See NTSB Safety Recommendation R-15-13 at

The PGA is concerned about the health and safety of those involved in connection with every production, not just productions involving the use of private property or, specifically, railroad property. The PGA hereby reminds all producing team members that the use of private property for production purposes of any kind requires the advanced authorization of the property owner. If such authorization is obtained, anyone accessing the property and its surrounding areas must follow the safety procedures provided by the property owner in order to reduce potential hazards to those on or near the property. This authorization is particularly important when the property being accessed involves dangerous activity, as is the case when filming at or near locations that include airplanes, trains, vehicles or moving objects of any kind, or property that is otherwise inherently dangerous. If producing team members intend to film on public property, the PGA asks that all involved be aware of potential risks that may prove hazardous to those on or near the production and asks that all appropriate precautions be taken.

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