Flying Monkeys – Sam Levine talks film producer strategies

Film Connection mentor Sam Levine of Flying Monkeys Entertainment in Los Angeles spoke with us about potential business strategies, creating “win-win” situations for marketing and the ethics of being a producer.

When bringing a project together, you must be able to multi-task or oversee many other roles, balancing not only the workload but also the budget. “Whoever cuts the check is always right.”

Levine went on to say the overarching goal of any good producer is to always try to achieve a “win-win” for the group (the director, writers, producers, cast and crew). In order to do this, you must figure out what the mutual “win” is, whether it’s money, views, awards, or anything else–and if it’s more than one of those things, which is most important in ranking.

A producer has to keep in mind the target audience for the film, and the rules that are established for maximizing sales and reach for the film will be based on that audience. When it comes to delegating and distributing power within the production team, Levine suggests it’s best that the writer(s) and director are left out of this so-called “box.” The rest of the production team should have the responsibility of keeping the target audience in mind at every front.

From a financial perspective, as a general rule of thumb, producers should never cap-out over 7% of the entire production. However, this balance can be achieved in many different ways, which is why being a producer is such a coveted yet difficult position in the entertainment industry. “Any director can produce a film. Not every producer can direct,” he says.
Finally, considering the increased role of the Internet in the film industry, he suggests if you are going the YouTube route, you may want to consider incentives to getting more views with contests or giveaways.

Sam Levine is currently executive-producing a web series called “Peter and Wendy.”

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