Produced By Conference Unveils 2014 Lineup

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 10:09am PDT

pga67__140108185018-275x154LOS ANGELES, CA (March 27, 2014) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) is pleased to announce the initial slate of speakers confirmed to participate in the 6th annual Produced By Conference (PBC). Director and producer David Fincher (GONE GIRL, FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON) & producer Ceán Chaffin (GONE GIRL, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO), producer Norman Lear (“The Jeffersons, “All In The Family”), actor and producer Seth Rogen (NEIGHBORS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, KNOCKED UP), and producer Joe Roth (MALEFICENT, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN) will participate as featured speakers at the 2014 Produced By Conference, hosted by Warner Bros. Studios on June 7-8.

Additional speakers include some of the entertainment and digital industries’ most renowned producers and visionaries. Confirmed speakers are noted below in alphabetical order. Additional speakers will be announced prior to the conference.

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Produced By Conference: Tom Cruise Talks Control On Set & How He Reinvented Global Studio Promotion

By | Saturday June 15, 2013 @ 2:44pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.

Tom Cruise Produced By Conference 2013After he dropped out of last Saturday’s Produced By conference due to a late conflict, Tom Cruise – ever punctual and intensely focused, as is his reputation – kept his appointment for a rescheduled session this morning for a production-specific discussion that steered clear of any talk about what he’s up to now. (Hard at work on pre-production as star and producer for Mission: Impossible 5.) Onstage with Academy president Hawk Koch as moderator, Cruise looked sharp and relaxed in navy pullover sweater, open-collar shirt, black slacks and black leather shoes. Speaking in the Zanuck Theater on the Fox lot (roughly 80% full) before an audience of producers and would-be producers, Cruise came across as the class act he is purported to be, speaking with passion about the need to practice “basic decency” and “respect every member of the crew” on the set. He returned repeatedly to the experience of his first significant film – 1981’s Taps – as being key to satisfying his incessant curiosity and his driving need to soak up every aspect of making a film. It ultimately led to his first hands-on producing work on the first Mission: Impossible film in 1996.

Cruise also earnestly spoke about how seriously he takes his leadership role on every film. “I love acting first and foremost, and I don’t have to be the one calling the shots,” he insisted. “I don’t direct myself when I’m acting. I am the actor… But I make sure to get the crews together and make sure they know that we’re a team, and that I want everyone to come in with their A game.” Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Mark Burnett On ‘Bible’ Follow Up, Feature Version Of History Series Finished Editing

By | Sunday June 9, 2013 @ 3:30pm PDT

Mark Burnett is cooking up a sequel of a sort to The Bible series, but he’s keeping details of his next faith-based project to himself. “A lot of things have come our way since the Bible, that’s how the business works. Roma [Downey] and I will do a follow up to The Bible, no question to that, something big,” said Burnett today at the Produced By conference. No word if this next project on Christianity would be on the History Channel as The Bible was. The producer however did reveal that he has just finished editing a 2 hour and 15 minute feature version of the successful series focusing on the life of Jesus. He is now looking to sell it. “Just on the scripted side, I could spend the next 10 years just distributing the Bible series and the movie. I believe that in the next 15 years more people on the planet will have seen our Bible series that haven’t seen it,” added Burnett of the project he and wife Roma Downey produced with Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Pros Forecast The Future Of VFX, Post-Rhythm & Hues

By | Sunday June 9, 2013 @ 3:28pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.

In the wake of the mass layoffs and bankruptcy filing of the VFX house Rhythm & Hues at the same time it was winning the Oscar for the film Life of Pi, the entire future of the visual effects industry has come under scrutiny — even as Rhythm & Hues recovers under new ownership. The question of the company’s crash-and-burn while creating award-winning work led off a Produced By panel this morning entitled “The Unlocked Picture: Global Opportunities in VFX and 3D Conversion,” where the consensus was that the R&H situation was both an anomaly and a harbinger of VFX industry issues that won’t soon be going away. Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy“It’s a tough business and changing business, and we’re right in the middle of a very tumultuous time,” said Chris DeFaria, Exec VP of digital production, animation and visual effects for Warner Bros. Pictures. While noting that Rhythm & Hues was beset by obvious cash flow problems, DeFaria maintained that the VFX business is being altered by an increasing standardization of tools and techniques and, most importantly, by more competitive financing globally. “You have an international workforce that’s mobile and capable of setting up low cost labor markets,” he noted. “There’s a big benefit in the exchange rates. These forces conspire to make it a very difficult business.” Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Stacey Sher On Zach Braff Kickstarter Success & Scrutiny

By | Sunday June 9, 2013 @ 1:58pm PDT

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s conference coverage.

The Kickstarter model of financing movies was front and center this morning at a Produced By conference panel entitled “The State of Producing — Finding Funding, Lining Up Talent & Securing Screens,” which replaced the scheduled session with Tom Cruise (postponed to next weekend). Before the seats were even warm, producer Stacey Sher (Django Unchained, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) was quizzed about her groundbreaking Kickstarter effort in April on behalf of Zach Braff that found his project Wish I Was Here meeting its $2 million fundraising goal in a mere four days en route to a 30-day total of $3.1 million from a grand total of 46,520 pledgers). “We were absolutely shocked,” Sher admitted. “We became these people who lived for 30 days under both a microscope and a spotlight. And it was excruciating.” Why “excruciating”? Sher explained that by virtue of being Exhibit A in the new media funding model, the haters were inspired to come out of the woodwork wondering why they deserved this kind of support. But she stressed that the experience has been overwhelmingly encouraging and positive. “The people who backed the film are going through every step of its production with us, with more access to how it’s being put together than some of our interns,” she said. Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad will join Braff in the film about a thirtysomething actor who is trying to figure out who he is. Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Reality TV Only Getting Bigger, Louder

By | Saturday June 8, 2013 @ 7:03pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.

A group of cable network execs and producers shared their views on the ever-evolving reality TV landscape and how the sales game is changed this afternoon during a Produced By panel sponsored by Deadline Hollywood and entitled, “Reality Isn’t What it Used to Be: Selling Nonfiction Television.” “You used to be able to sell a show off of paper; you didn’t need tape,” recalled Stephanie Drachkovitch, a principal in 44 Blue Productions. “That’s much harder to do now. Also, what would have been a brilliant idea three years ago doesn’t make the bar. It’s not big enough, it’s not loud enough, it’s not gonna move the needle, it’s not gonna break through.” The reason for needing bigger and noisier programming ideas, she believes, is the sheer number of networks and venues doing original reality program content and vying for eyeballs. A&E’s Senior VP of Talent and Production Neil Cohen agreed that it takes a lot more juice for an idea to get sold and gain traction than it did even a couple of years ago. “It’s much more competitive and the expectations are much higher,” he said. “It used to be enough to enough to put a very primitive team together to sell to people like us. Now there’s the expectation that we’ll get a sense of the tone and storytelling style in the concept in the sizzle tape.” Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Death Threats, But No Network Censorship For ‘Walking Dead’ Execs

By | Saturday June 8, 2013 @ 6:19pm PDT

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s conference coverage.

The Walking Dead exec producer Gale Anne Hurd admitted this afternoon that one of the hazards of her job is receiving death threats from the rabid fan base of smash hit AMC zombie drama when it dares to kill off a character. “That’s one of the dirty little secrets of social media,” she admitted during a session at the Produced By conference on the Fox lot. “The fans so identify with the characters that if you kill them off… well, first they’re in denial. It’s really the stages of grief. They say, ‘That gunshot off camera, they aren’t really dead, they’re coming back.’ And then they get angry. They threaten to hunt you down. They don’t understand the difference between reality and fantasy.”

Gale Anne Hurd Walking DeadFor the most part, however, the experience of being the highest-rated drama in cable history is a far more rewarding and less dangerous experience, Hurd and her fellow panelists agreed. She was joined at the event by Walking Dead exec producer David Alpert; Sharon Tal Yguado, EVP of global scripted programming and original development for Fox International Channels; and Marci Wiseman, SVP of business affairs for AMC. They discussed the how the show originally and famously was rejected at the pilot stage by NBC. Alpert recalled how when the comic book rights were sold to NBC in 2005, the network told him, “We want to do something totally different.” He remembered, “When they passed, I said, ‘But I thought you wanted to do something totally different.’ They said, ‘We do. We just don’t want to do a zombie show.’ That was one of the more frustrating things.” Read More »

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Produced By Conference: JJ Abrams Says ‘Star Wars’ Starts Production In Early 2014

“I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before,” said JJ Abrams today about the challenges of directing the new Star Wars movie. Abrams also revealed that production on Star Wars Episode VII is set to start right at the beginning of 2014. “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie,” said the Star Trek Into Darkness director Saturday at the Produced By conference on the Fox lot. Abrams added that the overseas shoot “drives me insane” as he would have liked to film the movie in LA. He also noted that the plan to shoot Star Wars Episode VII for Disney in the UK was set before he was brought on board. The director joked that getting the offer to helm the new Star Wars was the only thing that would have caused him to postpone a long set family vacation.
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Produced By Conference: Kurt Sutter Updates ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Prequel Status

By | Saturday June 8, 2013 @ 3:37pm PDT

Rarely at a loss for words, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has spoken before about doing a prequel to the FX series. Today at the Produced By conference, he told me a little bit more about where things stand with the possible look at the formation of SAMCRO. Sons Of Anarchy prequel“Right now, it is just conversations,” Sutter said after appearing on the Hit The Ground Showrunning panel. Confirming that the series, if it happened, would be with SOA’s current home of FX, Sutter said that the show wouldn’t be coming for a few years. “I want to let the property rest for a year or so after Sons is over before jumping in,” he noted. SOA is heading into its sixth season with the expectation that the biker club series will go for a least one more cycle after that. Beyond that timeline, a lot about the prequel is still up in the air. “I don’t know if it will be a series or a limited series of say 10 to 13 episodes,” Sutter said. “I don’t want to do it as a movie – tonally, I don’t see it as a movie.” Read More »

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Produced By Conference: Producers Who Direct, Or Directors Who Produce?

By | Saturday June 8, 2013 @ 1:57pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s conference coverage.

The 5th Annual Produced By Conference, sponsored by the PGA, kicked off this morning on the 20th Century Fox lot with a panel discussion entitled “The Real Deal: Producers Who Direct? or Directors Who Produce?”. Producer Mark Gordon of Grey’s Anatomy fame moderated the discussion in the packed Zanuck Theater, peppering panelists Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1, 2 and 3) and Roland Emmerich (White House Down, Independence Day) with questions about how producers can effectively navigate the directorial waters and vice-versa. Of course, working with filmmakers at the level of Favreau and Emmerich who have abundant experience is rarely a problem, Gordon repeatedly acknowledged.

“There is a comfort level with directors who have a body of work,” said Gordon, who doesn’t direct. “It’s more difficult now because everybody specializes. In the old days of the Hollywood studio system, guys like John Ford and Billy Wilder did it all. They directed comedies. They directed dramas. They directed musicals. Today, you hear, ‘This guy is an action director, this guy directs comedy.’ I don’t believe in that. If you direct, you should be able to direct everything.” But Favreau pointed out that inexperienced directors are becoming less of a dice roll for producers and studios, what with the cost of admission to the club dropping to relative pennies. “There are tremendous filmmakers doing strong pieces of content online,” he said. “Those content walls are coming down. It’s becoming less and less of a guess. It isn’t like picking the new Dalai Lama. You can see what’s being done and say, ‘This kid’s got some vision’.” Read More »

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Tom Cruise Rescheduled At Produced By Conference

By | Saturday June 8, 2013 @ 12:52pm PDT

Looks like Tom Cruise is going to show up at this year’s Produced By conference after all. It’s just going to be next weekend. Organizers tell me that the actor will now be … Read More »

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2013 Produced By Conference: JJ Abrams, Tom Cruise, Gale Anne Hurd On Speaker List

By | Wednesday March 27, 2013 @ 9:23am PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA (March 27, 2013) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today the initial slate of speakers confirmed to participate in the 5th annual Produced By Conference (PBC). Director and producer J.J. Abrams, producer Mark Burnett, actor and producer Tom Cruise and producer Gale Anne Hurd will participate as featured speakers joining a prestigious list of acclaimed producers and industry leaders in entertainment and digital media. The 2013 Produced By Conference will be hosted by 20th Century Fox Studios on June 8-9.

2013 PBC speakers include some of the entertainment and digital industries’ most renowned producers and visionaries. In alphabetical order:

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Fifth ‘Produced By’ Confab Set For June 8-9

By | Monday December 10, 2012 @ 9:52am PST

The Producers Guild of America has set its 2013 Produced By Conference for June 8-9, 2013 at Fox Studios in Century City. The event spans film, television and new media industries and brings together producers for educational, networking … Read More »

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Mark Cuban: TV, Live Events Are Where The Money Will Be – Produced By Conference

By | Sunday June 10, 2012 @ 7:02pm PDT

Freelance writer Cari Lynn is a Deadline contributor based in Los Angeles.

“Television is an undervalued medium,” Marc Cuban declared today at the PGA’s Produced By Conference. It’s a different stance than earlier this decade when he launched HDNet to provide then-state-of-the-art high definition programming. Now, with the upcoming soft launch of AXS TV, a partnership among Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, AEG and CAA (which originated as a rebranding of HDNet/HDNet Canada), Cuban is far more optimistic about the boob tube than he is about online content. “Bits are bits,” he said. “Everything is digital…the Internet has no inherent value over TV. None, zippo. People forget that satellite, DirectTV, Dish, they’re all digital, they can do everything the Internet can do.” But Cuban did acknowledge that the next step for television is the network DVR, which he says “is going to happen.” He said he believed Dish Network’s much-contested Hopper DVR challenges traditional TV providers to take advantage of digital opportunities. “Dish is trying to get ahead of curve on user experience. If Dish reduces the risk to pay a premium for no commercials, why not?” Read More »

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Filmmakers Delve Into The Future Of Franchises: Produced By Conference

The future of Hollywood franchises is international and it is female, producers agreed this afternoon on the Studio Tentpoles panel at the PGA’s Produced By Conference. “I think Hollywood was too stupid to figure that out for a while” said The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, citing the recent success of the her own new franchise and The Twilight Saga as examples of female-driven blockbusters. “I think that there will be something really big that will reverse engineer itself for the American market,” said Transformers and Red producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, taking a different perspective and noting the changing nature of the French film industry toward more populist fare. “It’s going to come at us and I think that will be a good thing.” Jacobson also lamented Hollywood’s pursuit of what she called the “fanboy” audience. “Can you think, between movies, TV, video games and porn, any audience that has a shorter attention span?” she asked. She pointed out that women are the primary economic decision-makers in most households. Di Bonaventura and Jacobson were joined on the panel by The Hangover movies’ director Todd Phillips and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” producer Debra Martin Chase. Former Warner Bros executive Kevin McCormick, producer of the upcoming Gangster Squad, moderated the panel. Philips declined to say anything about the plot of The Hangover 3 except that it is “not going to be another forgotten night.” Read More »

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Lionsgate’s Michael Burns On Staying Nimble, Getting Into The Jennifer Lawrence Business: Produced By Conference

By | Saturday June 9, 2012 @ 5:18pm PDT

Freelance writer Cari Lynn is a Deadline contributor based in Los Angeles.

Lionsgate has had a very good year and Vice Chairman Michael Burns, speaking today at the PGA’s Produced By conference, attributes this to staying nimble, embracing social media and banking on Jennifer Lawrence — all of which he says they’ll continue to do. The studio’s biggest hit The Hunger Games hit $400 million domestically this weekend. “The dream of any studio is to have franchises,” he said, looking to the opening of Hunger Games in China on 60 to 70 Imax screens. He’s also banking on the sequel to do even more since the book trilogy is catching on internationally. “We mitigate our risk with foreign pre-sales,” he says. Russia is also becoming a big market. “Several years ago, if someone had said Russia would be a giant territory, I’d have said, ‘have you been smoking weed?’ It was the same with China.” But asked if Lionsgate was going to move into worldwide distribution, the answer was a definitive No. “English-speaking is a place we like.” Foreign can be “too difficult. In some countries, for example, we can’t fire or hire people.”
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Mega-Producers’ Job – “Putting Out Fires”, Organization, Fear: Produced By Conference

By | Saturday June 9, 2012 @ 4:13pm PDT

“We want the very good and the bad.” That’s what American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said this afternoon is the core of the competition show. “It’s the bland people in the middle we want to get rid … Read More »

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Chris Nolan Won’t Make Another Batman Movie, Has No Love For Digital: Produced By Conference

By | Saturday June 9, 2012 @ 11:15am PDT

Christopher Nolan made two things extremely clear today as the Produced By Conference got underway on the Sony lot in Culver City. He will definitely not be making a fourth Batman movie, and he believes that digital filmmaking is “devaluing of what we do as filmmakers.” The Dark Knight Rises director said he actually never had a plan for any Batman sequels when he made 2005′s Batman Begins. “We never had a specific trajectory,” Nolan noted. “I wanted to put everything into making one great film, I didn’t want to hold anything back.” And Nolan certainly didn’t hold anything back on his feelings about Hollywood’s “rapid” move to digital moviemaking. Nolan said to the audience, which included Warner BrosJeff Robinov, that he “didn’t have any interest in being the research department for an electronics company.” Nolan added, “It’s like filmmakers are being encouraged to buy cameras like we are buying iPods.” Read More »

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PGA Unveils Producers Showcase Finalists

By | Wednesday May 9, 2012 @ 5:39pm PDT

The Producers Guild of America today announced the 10 finalist film projects of the 2012 PGA Producers Showcase competition. ProShow is taking place in conjunction with the fourth annual Produced By Conference held in association with the International CES® … Read More »

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