An interesting article on slated debates the merit of basing marketability and profitability of films on the big-name actors and directors. The argument being that while a big lead actor and seasoned director may be important, the team around those names are equally or even more important.
“If you left Steven Spielberg alone on a desert island with film-making equipment he might make something amazing, but it wouldn’t be what we think of as a ‘Steven Spielberg’ movie. To make a ‘Steven Spielberg movie’ you need Steven Spielberg, of course, but you also need an actor like Tom Hanks, a composer like John Williams, an editor like Michael Kahn, a cinematographer like Janusz Kaminski, and so on. In fact, I would go further than that and say that some relationships are critical to a certain type of film: Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography is one of the things that makes Steven Spielberg’s films so recognizable.”
This also dives into the realm of the traditional thinking of above-the-line and below-the-line, the creatives and the workers. Traditionally it’s the writer, director, and actors that are seen as the force behind films. However, it really is a team effort and a collaboration between creative minds beyond just those termed as above-the-line talent – cinematography, lighting, art design, make-up, costumes.
The second half of the article concentrates on producing. In the Forbes Power Celebrity 100, only Jerry Bruckheimer makes the list as a producer. Yet, it’s a producer that really steers the entirety of a film (remember who gets the Best Picture Oscar?).
Producers are the CEOs of films. They’re the managers of their production LLCs.
Doubtful that there will be a paradigm shift any time soon, but all producers out there, if you don’t already know this, build a great team around you.