James DuBose Offers a Producer's Guide to Balancing Creativity and Business Needs

A producer, already multitasking on the set, has the unenvious task of managing a project’s creative aspects and ensuring that they are accomplished within the budgetary restrictions. 

Creative inspiration has been the essence of the film business for generations; however, it is extremely vital that a producer not break the bank on these choices because such a decision can push back the release date, suspend operations or shut the movie down entirely. 

James DuBose, the executive producer and head of programming at Fox Soul Network, shares a few bits of wisdom that he has learned from his experiences that will assist producers in mastering the creativity and business combination. 

Evaluate Decisions from Both Sides

As a producer, you must analyze every decision in a manner that considers both the creative angle and the financial aspects, James DuBose states. Screenwriting starts with unhindered creativity, as the writer’s imagination envisions the picture and they put everything on paper. Scripts commonly go through a rewriting process before reaching a director, the actors, and their crew, the parties that contemplate whether the ideas are realistic or unrealistic. Certain schemes are unattainable, so the producer will work in unison with the creative team and develop a more feasible course of action. Though these moments are within the creative realm, a producer has to demonstrate their business experience and knowledge prior to finalizing the ultimate choice. 

Similarly, the producer is expected to activate their creative spark in matters that are more related to business. When a director introduces a concept to you that is complex, expensive, or simply undoable, the onus is on you to come up with an ideal alternate solution. Think about the shot’s goals, such as the feelings that are meant to be invoked, the emotions that are supposed to be underlined, and the information that you are attempting to divulge to the audience. Despite the numerous constraints that will be encountered, a reputable producer will find a way and achieve the sought-after results.

Be an All-Encompassing Presence

Producers can best balance creativity with business requirements by being around throughout the various creative stages, James DuBose concurs. Maintaining a role in every part of the development process provides you with vital information and decreases the likelihood of an unforeseen setback. After motivating your writers to put pen to paper constantly, you can pinpoint and remove a conception that is problematic, whether that is due to budget limitations or other restraints. Take this approach to your meetings with the director, too, and the heads of your technical departments, since it will keep your finger on the project’s pulse. Heed the details in every department and there will be fewer rude awakenings at the end of it all.

Collaborate and Garner Ideas

Working and talking with the people in your crew, regardless of their rank, can equip you with fantastic ideas that evaded you, James DuBose notes. And these concepts might be immensely helpful creatively, financially, or in multiple categories. A change in location could make the shot more genuine or easier to fulfill. A different filming methodology is capable of expressing the same message in a scene, only more effectively. While some abstractions can appear to be logistical nightmares, leaving you short on realistic backup plans, you have a talented crew to rely upon. Let them work their magic to offer innovative solutions when the creativity is lacking, as they are bound to return with the useful ideas flowing. Also, in addition to respecting the overall business necessities and swiftly getting you out of creative jams, the group can expand upon existing concepts, making them superior in their final form.