The second year of my MFA program has officially begun. The semester is now in full swing, and it’s very busy. I’d thought my focus this semester would be class, thesis, and internship. I’m realizing a producer is always working on multiple projects and juggling them efficiently is the key to success.
A producer’s list of projects they’re working on is called a slate. It consists of projects at various stages in the filmmaking process, from development to distribution. It’s hard to fathom, but I actually have a slate. Here’s a bit of what it looks like.
I’m currently in a long-form development class which requires us to develop three feature or TV projects from different sources or based on varying intellectual property. They will be at various stages of development by the end of the semester. All that is in addition to other projects I’m developing outside of the classroom. Development involves a lot of time meeting with writers, reading material, writing, and then reading some more.
This would be my thesis. Pre-production involves a lot of meetings, emails, calls and fundraising. The pressure here is that you’re working towards a date—your production date. Everything needs to be ready to go before then. It’s the process of doing everything you’re capable of to make sure production goes smoothly, and that takes work, time, and dedication.
I actually don’t have any projects in production…for now. Production can be either incredibly hectic or a little hectic, depending on how pre-production went. And that determines whether or not your other projects need to be put on hold during that time.
The film I produced last semester, “35,” is currently in post-production. That involves hiring crew, scheduling different sessions, and watching the film multiple times to make sure everything is done right and merging well.
I don’t currently have a film in this stage either, but “35” will be here quite soon. For “35”, distribution will look like a lot of festival submissions. It’s important to research festivals beforehand so as to be strategic about submitting.
While it’s a lot of work, this is what the job looks like in real life. I’m excited I get to experience some of that now, so I’m prepared to take on bigger projects and able to handle them well.