Man, That Gets My Goat!

This past Sunday, the NY Times had one of those articles on how film "all of a sudden" looks like a good investment.  I am one of those who have always thought that film was a good investment when done properly, so you might think I was happy to hear them finally beating the drums.  Now, I could take it with a grain of salt and be happy that they are promoting what seems to be a good company run by good people and leave it alone at that.  At least that's what I wanted to do, what I suspected I'd do, until I got to the last lines:

“If you can find the right film executives, people who consider themselves fiduciaries more than producers, it’s one of the best bets you can make right now,” Mr. Crown said.

“Just remember that it’s over when you start taking yourself so seriously that the project stops becoming a commercial movie,” he continued, “and starts becoming an art project.”
This is myth making.  There is no opposite to what Mr. Crown is talking about.  What is he inferring here?  That some producers will sacrifice the money for the art?  The producer's job is to marry those two elements and one never needs to be sacrificed for the other.  To paint a picture that producers will leave the investors hanging, is not only wrong, but dangerous to the industry, the business, and the art.  
When he speaks of people not having a fiduciary responsibility, he certainly is not talking about any real producer I know.  Anyone that makes films for a living, who plans on making films for the rest of their life, knows that their films better deliver returns or else it is over for them.  Producers -- people who actually make films on a regular basis -- know that it is their job to deliver a return to their investors.  Producers can't produce otherwise.  Each film is connected to the next, and not only the ones that an individual producer makes, but all of them that everyone else makes, are part of the same continuum.  We have to produce returns.
But then again, as the NY Times told us on Monday, it's not Hollywood/Films that are the problem, it's New York and Big Media that's the issue.
To draw a line and pretend that there is a breed of producer who don't consider themselves fiduciaries first is to try to discourage investment in film.  If you survey ANY handful of producers who have been making films as of late, you not only would find people well versed on what they expect their work to return, where they expect those returns to come from, and when they expect those returns to come in, but they also would know how they can build on those returns from one film to the next.  
And most importantly, they will know how it doesn't require artistic compromise either.  Films are made to fit a budget, and a budget should be determined by what the market is.  Certain companies and investors can choose to reach above that, and great, truly remarkable work is generated that way, but for the rest of us mere mortals, this world demands that we be responsible.  My twenty years of making films has introduced me to an incredible breed of truly responsible people -- and they are called "Producers".  If the NY Times or others has a different opinion on what a producer is, I would be more than happy to introduce them to a few of my friends.