David Mimran: So, You Want to Be a Film Producer. Do These 5 Things, Then.

By David Mimran

Fancy yourself a jack or jill of all trades? You’d probably make a good film producer.

“Anyone in the industry will tell you [that] a producer’s role is arguably the perfect job for the all-rounder with an interest in the big screen,” writes Chris Green, of The Independent (U.K.).

“In other words, if you’re not willing to settle into a narrow lane, producing is a good fit for your skills and personality type.” — David Mimran

It’s not easy to break into producing, though. As in any other career, it takes some luck to land your big break. The rough-and-tumble world of moviemaking isn’t always fair. Sometimes, it’s downright cruel.

All that said, you can certainly take proactive steps to bend the odds in your favor. If you’re serious about making a name for yourself as a film producer, get these five tasks on your to-do list (if you haven’t gotten them done already) and begin addressing them, one by one.

1. Complete a Two- or Four-Year Degree

Statistically, there’s a decent chance you’ve done this already. It also bears noting that aspiring producers without college degrees can still make their own ways in Hollywood. Experience is key: if you’re willing to work your way up, you’ll find an open path. It’ll be tougher and more circuitous, though — and entirely guarantee-free to boot.

2. Find a Mentor

Early on, you’ll need to mitigate your experience deficit by hooking up with a reliable mentor willing to take you under their wing and impart what they know about filmmaking. This is harder than it sounds; matchmaking services don’t really accommodate mentors and mentees. Chances are, you’ll need to make friends (read: get noticed by your boss) in an early gig, then latch on for dear life.

3. Get in on the Ground Floor

One word: “apprenticeship.” Or “internship” — take your pick. Either way, you need to get in on the ground floor and learn by osmosis. As noted, getting (and keeping) an internship is a great way to pick up a mentor willing to take you under their wing and open professional doors for you down the line.

4. Consider an MBA

The benefits of an executive MBA are too numerous to name here, and the certification’s usefulness transcends the film industry. Even if you decide the moviemaking business isn’t for you, you’ll carry your MBA wherever you go, and likely make a fair bit more money for it. If you do stick to film, you’ll find your MBA useful as you rise through the ranks and weigh bigger and better opportunities.

5. Network Like Your Career Depends on It

Your network is your net worth.

In few industries is this truer than film production. When a single bomb is enough to ruin a career, can you really blame insiders for working with known quantities? Without a sturdy network stocked with well-connected benefactors willing to stick their necks out for you, you’re simply not going to get many opportunities to prove your worth.

Put another way: there’s no such thing as a self-made producer. Everyone owes some measure of success to someone else.

Are you an aspiring producer? What have you learned along the way?

David Mimran is co-founder and co-chairman of Mimran Schur Pictures