My name is Rich Guay I’m a film producer who’s been working in the business for 30 years, married to a director for over 30 years. Recently, I’ve become excited by a growing accessibility to filmmaking tools and how a new generation of very talented filmmakers is emerging to tell their stories.
My goal with this blog is to serve as a virtual mentor and draw from my experiences in order to help new filmmakers create better content with the resources they are given. Another thing I hope to do is invite my veteran colleagues to join me in a discussion of film production today – so we might all share the insights acquired through years of experience along with a passion that continues for us to this day.
Historically, an aspiring producer would meet their mentor through happenstance. That’s how it worked for me. My mentor was Kenneth Utt, Academy Award winning producer of “Silence of the Lambs” and a New York legend in the last half of the 20th century. Wanting to be an actor, he started in the theater, moved to live television during the boom years of the 1950s and then made the transition to feature films in the 1960s where he thrived. His feature credits included “Midnight Cowboy”, “The French Connection”, “All That Jazz”, “Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia” among many more.
Kenny was a true practitioner of “lead by example.” He never sat me down and lectured me about his approach to producing but the way he carried himself made a lasting mark. He was generous beyond belief and incredibly patient with a young first-time production accountant (me). My favorite thing about Kenny was that, one minute he would be ferocious in getting what his film needed, and the next he’d patiently sit down with a Production Assistant who made a mistake and help them understand where they went wrong. I will try to make this site embody that spirit of openness and generosity mixed with a dash of no-holds-barred passion.
Given the increasing speed with which the world is changing, there’s more of a need for mentorship and discussion of a “producing philosophy” than ever. It’s a subject largely ignored in programs that are focused on the more glamorous role of the director or the more technically impressive role of the cinematographer. The producer’s job is to create an atmosphere where creative talent can flourish. A set can be an incubator if it’s handled correctly and a director, a DP and a cast of actors can have their work elevated by the right kind of producer. Just like a good coach, a producer should make each one of these people better at their job.
This site will provide an array of course work in producing that will help students and new producers understand filmmaking from the ground up: how to read a screenplay from a production viewpoint, how to plan that production and effectively execute that plan, how to finish the project and release it to an audience. It will naturally take my point of view and lean heavily on the methods and approach that I’ve developed over my career. I’ll also have old friends and other guests in on a regular basis and reach out to readers for their own expertise. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than learning a new way of doing something and sharing that with colleagues.
So, after 33 years of running productions of all sorts and 23 years of writing my own curriculum I want to put it all together. I want to share my knowledge, but also gather the wisdom of the community of producers who have been doing this as long or longer than I have. Hopefully, together we can build a site that will make everyone’s project better by helping them tell their story more effectively.
Next up: Let’s get those courses started!