By Mike Gordon
Posted on November 29, 2015 1:30 am
If there’s fame associated with a film or TV series, the laurels typically go to the artistic face of the project – the actors, directors and writers. But none of them would be holding a golden statuette without producers.
A good producer can spot a story, develop the script, find the financial backers and secure the talent needed in front of and behind the camera. They know union reps, distributors and caterers.
“They are the people who find the intersection between art and commerce,” said Michael Andres Palmieri, a veteran Los Angeles-based producer who serves as executive director of Creative Lab Hawaii, the state program charged with developing entrepreneurs in film, television and new media.
“Producers are typically the first person on a project and the last one to complete it,” he said. “And the reality is that when a producer does a great job, the work they do is invisible.”
Their skills are so important that Creative Lab Hawaii plans to offer local producers a yearlong mentorship program starting next spring. The Producers Accelerator, as it’s called, will team up with the Producers Guild of America for an intensive five-day program in March, followed by individual coaching over the next 11 months.
The Producers of Accelerator is similar to a writers program that Creative Lab Hawaii has offered twice before and plans to offer again when the producers meet in March. The idea is to give producers and writers a chance to meet, Palmieri said.
“Typically, one of the hardest things for a writer is to find a champion for the material who wants to make it a reality, and producers are typically the catalyst for giving a project life after a writer has written it,” Palmieri said. “By putting writers and producers together, we are giving writers access to people who can facilitate their stories into reality.”
Up to 12 participants will be selected and a preference will be given to applicants who have produced content previously – a short film, full-length feature or pilot – and have an existing option on a screenplay they hope to produce. After the March sessions, three finalists will be brought to Los Angeles to meet with entertainment industry executives.
Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15 Information is available online at creativelab.hawaii.gov/apply/ or by emailing [email protected].
Writing Accelerator applicants can find information for that program online as well.
Creative Lab Hawaii, which was founded in 2012 by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism’s Creative Industries Division, has already seen success stories for its writers, most notably Josh Kim, Kim brought a script to the 2013 accelerator and now has a film, “How to Win at Checkers (Every Time),” which is Thailand’s official entry in the foreign-language film category for the 88th annual Academy Awards.
Other Creative Lab Hawaii graduates whose work has attracted producers include Holly Sereni, whose feature film, “The Molokai Channel,” has been described as a spiritual takes on the grueling sport of paddling; Kaveh Karden, who wrote the sci-fi TV series “Orion”; and Chris McKinney and Walter Dods III, who collaborated on “The Aina.”
Georja Skinner, chief of the Creative Industries Division said that’s a solid track record.
“We want to create a comfortable place where people can succeed and we feel success could look like a single project per cohort,” she said. “Are we ever going to be a hub like Los Angeles? No. But Hawaii has an enormous amount of untapped talent in the creative sector.”
AND that’s a wrap…
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer.
Read his Outtakes Online blog at honolulupulse.com. Reach him at 529-4803 or email [email protected]