Learning to produce(r) on the job

By Ed Fletcher 

There was a time in the not too distant past where I would have been happy to sell my screenplay “Pink” for a reasonable price and crossed my fingers in hopes the studio would actually make the movie.

Those days are now gone. After attending American Film Market in Santa Monica this November, I’m convinced that I want to be part of the critical decision making process that takes the script and transforms it into living breathing art. Who directs, who stars and the budget are just a handful of the decisions that can turn a good script into a shitty movie or turn a great script into a timeless work of art.

With more than a decade writing as a professional newspaper reporter, I took up screenwriting in 2011. Not so surprisingly, that’s also when I began producing.

While they’re small potatoes compared to producing a feature, my work on the shorts only illustrated how critical the producer is to the finished film.

After I finished writing “Pink,” my feature length dramatic comedy about Sacramento’s 1969 “bottomless” stripper trial, I very much looked at it as a 50/50 proposition as far as selling it versus producing it. But as difficult the task of producing it is, believe path of an unknown screenwriter is equally difficult and is more passive route, as writer hope to win a screenwriting contest to be even considered by an agent.

With plenty of time to think during the drive home from Los Angeles to Sacramento, I resolved to redouble my efforts. If I want to sit at the big table as a producer, I need to start acting like a producer.

In that spirit I’ve decided to kick off 2015 with a bang. On Jan. 1, I launch my debut short “Dance Step of Death” as free content on Vimeo, after a good run on the Amazon Marketplace.

On Jan. 14 we’re hosting a live screening of my 2014 project “Goldie.”(Yes I know there is something else big happening that night.) The “audience choice” winner of the Sacramento International Film Festival’s “48 hour film challenge,” “Goldie” is an LGBT-friendly dramatic short about a woman trying find her way after making a big life change.

My focus remains on making Pink happen, but by working the mechanics of digital distribution, festival submissions and supporting the projects at festivals I will undoubtedly strengthen my film connections, help build an audience for Pink and earn credibility among investors.

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