As Producer, I Take Full Responsibility

It has taken me nearly four years to even look at this letter sent to a former colleague who trashed talked me (and any other former filmmaker that he’s worked with) in public, blocked me and yet still wanted to get into my Seattle Area Filmmakers group and my Washington State Producers group. Oh hell no this person didn’t get in.

I took a major hit from this disaster and nearly lost my faith in my ability in film, my confidence to choose wisely and humiliation due to my desire to help someone else obtain their dream even though I knew they were not good for it.

I had to sit down for a long while and write this letter. At first, I really wanted to tell this person off and what a complete fucking idiot they were. You better believe I had some anger flaring up. But I sat there and realized by rationalizing things out – why, who, when, why, why…..Who is at fault? It was my doing. I should have never gone against my intuition and tried to wear all the damned hats like I used to and mentor on top of it all. It was then I felt peace. I accept full responsibility for this train wreck.

I learned many great lessons.

So I’m here to share this with you for when (not if) you too have a disaster happen on your film as a Producer or a Director….or perhaps you are trying to mentor someone even though they just don’t show signs of being a good DP/Gaffer/Producer etc. Save yourself. Don’t do it. There are other ways they can learn how to do these things and by fucking god, not on your time.

This film – it’s now going into feature mode with a 50% financial backing already and the script isn’t even finished.

So while this disaster happened, good things evolved through time. Would I shake hands with this person? No. I made peace with myself and took responsibility. It hasn’t cured my disgust with the person and I don’t think that will ever change and I’m fine with that.

The names and film titles have been changed to protect all involved.

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Hey Xxxxxx,

Last weekend, I made a couple attempts to contact you to chat about what went wrong/right but you’re not returning my calls. So, I’m emailing you about them because it’s important to go over things as I have with others from the crew. During that weekend we were to be filming, my stress level was so high that I ended up sick and on antibiotics, which brings me to what went wrong.

 I’m going to take full responsibility. I failed you. The reason why is that I knew from the start that I honestly had a feeling you were in over your head trying to be a Producer. I’m sorry but I know you’re a great Script Supervisor, but I don’t think you can handle an entire film or maybe you just need to start out as an Associate Producer with minimal functions and have items delegated to you.

When I found out you were working on another film, I should have gone ahead and replaced you to be fair for yourself and your work load and for my film and my work style. I do feel that out of respect, you should have told me that filming for “Xxx Xxxxx Xxxx” was going on the same weekend weeks before it happened. It honestly failed my film because so many things needed to be done from your end.

A Producer is a leader who takes charge. I needed that to happen and not have to advise every step you were doing. I needed a Producer who could keep track of what was being done, getting things done, finding creative ways to do them, contracts, forms, SAG – none of this was to fall on Xxxx like what you all did with her on Xxx Xxxxx. She should have never been the one contact SAG – that was your job and that was my red flag I was in trouble with my own film.

Did you know that the outfit for XCharacter was not done? I cancelled the Wednesday before the shoot – that was also the day that Xxxxx, Xxxx, Xxxxx, myself and Xxxxxxxx were going to be at the shop to see how it looked. She had the outfit for a week, it wasn’t done. I got the outfit from her so someone else can work on it. You goofed up and had Xxx driving out from Kent to that rehearsal in Lynnwood and other mistakes with the meetings.

Xxx needed leadership from your end with timelines on when she was to deliver, locations were not there – and that falls on to the producers, with you not doing anything, I took charge because we didn’t have any locations a week before the shoot. You may have been satisfied with them but I was not as the Director and I felt you didn’t want to contact any more locations.

Three months before the shoot, the task to get catering was really never done. Contacting Subway or a pizza place in Seattle is really all that was needed. They would have sponsored it – Xxxxx validated that with me. I’m sure Xxx was lost with what her function was and people weren’t hearing from you with upbeat reports. These are things that end up reflecting negative on me and my production and yes, I should care about it. The list goes on but it’s no longer important. I take the blame – I failed myself, you, my crew and my cast. Yes, I should have done it all myself. I’m sorry I failed you.

I realize that many negative things were going on with the other production but please don’t take it out on me or my film with your own negative thoughts about the local industry. I know things can get bad around here but I guess a lot of it is not different than that of the other work force out there. Don’t feel the need to quit – find where you belong. Do you know that there are PA’s in this town making a lot of money? There is nothing wrong with that.

I have pointed out that you are a fabulous writer and I think you make a great Script Supervisor but here’s my advice for you if you still think you are a Producer – take some business administration courses. It’s nothing like marketing and I think you will find out if it’s what you really want to do. I’m saying this as a friend/colleague. Sure, you might think I’m being picky, hard ass or a bitch at this point, but the above things are some major things that didn’t get completed. Again, I failed you for not stopping this train to tell you that you just didn’t know what you were doing. My apologies for my failure.

My film is going to continue on, but I would much rather have you a friend/colleague than try to mentor you again on this film – I don’t have time while trying to direct it. If you feel were are not friends and you’re moving away from me – then I’m going to feel a bit short changed and used if we can’t be honest after all these years.

Good luck to you.
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