“The producer is the first technician and spectator of any audiovisual product”. The figure that acts as the angular piece, consort and engine of each project; and? jamie gona and Rosa Perez they know very well. Both are the coordinators of the new Master in Project Management and Audiovisual Companies of the ECAM. A degree that seeks to specialize professionals who want to dedicate themselves to this area, covering from financing and content creation to distribution and exhibition on the different existing platforms.
“On set, the producer must be aware that the film that the director has imagined is being made, that scriptwriters, actors and the rest of the team are meeting their goals; as well as making sure that everything related to the creative process is going as expected”, add those responsible, whose involvement with the Madrid school goes back a long way.
Gona was a student of several courses and participated as a producer in the first edition of La Incubadora – the ECAM feature film development program that already has six editions – with the title The teacher, by Daniel Castro. An initiative that Pérez also closely follows, along with other school activities.
That the ECAM has decided to launch this postgraduate program –whose registration period is open– responds directly to the growing demand for professionals who know the management needs of a sector in which the production of audiovisual content continues to grow. And not just nationally. “The Spanish audiovisual is having a worldwide impact in all its aspects, such as the awards at International Festivals and the number of viewers who watch our series on platforms. There is no better value for a product than the one that is seen and shared”, claim the coordinators.
They do not lack reason. just a few months ago, The movie 20,000 species of bees, which was part of the second edition of La Incubadora, triumphed at the Berlin Festival with the Silver Bear for Best Female Performance for Sofia Otero and the Guild Film Prize awarded by exhibitors to the best film in the competition.
The challenge of opening your own production company
The new ECAM degree aims, among other things, to allow its students to obtain the necessary tools to form their own production companies. Something that Eve Weddings, who studied the Production Diploma a few years ago, ended up doing it. His departure was cut short by the arrival of the pandemic and the “fear” of knowing what would happen. That uncertainty ended up calming down until reaching the current fertile context. He was able to practice at Potenza Productions and since then he has linked works of both fiction and advertising for companies like Disney+, Mammut and Bowfinger International Pictures.
Now, it took him a short time after leaving school to realize what he liked best about his job: “Being able to build my own projects, and I felt that there were many colleagues around me with projects that I wanted to produce.” Colleagues whom he cites as the most valuable thing about having trained at ECAM. “It is very easy to meet people, make friends and colleagues and a profession who understand cinema in the same way that you do. These synergies and relationships drive many projects inside and outside the school, and I have ended up in more than one job because a teacher or classmate has recommended me, including from different promotions”.
Therefore, he decided to create his own production company, ‘Entre las piedras’, with which it has already managed to participate with different titles in development in laboratories and markets such as Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival and Abycine Lanza. Last year they shot their first project, the short film, The coming insurrection of Antonio Flames; and in 2023 they hope to shoot The idea of an island of carmen pedrero and Why do girls cry? of Claudia Ortega.
Based on his experience, Bodas assures that business management and the creative side of production “are often the two sides of the same coin. Without knowing how to manage your company, it is almost impossible to carry out projects. But without the creative side, what are we really doing all this for? From the outside it often seems that production is simply working with numbers, figures and bureaucracy, which of course is an important part of the job, but it is key to emphasize that the functions are tremendously creative”.
From there to what value: “Training in a master’s degree that helps you to know what it really means to have a company, learn basic notions of accounting and that they give you the tools to do it according to your business model and the editorial line you want to follow, seems wonderful to me.”
For those who want to venture into production, it advances that the most difficult thing in the future will be to balance the most rational part with the most emotional part of cinema. “Finding the right means to make your work without ruining yourself along the way, but without losing the purity of that story, allowing the creator or creator to have all the tools to make the best possible film together.”
Producers as “man/woman” of the Renaissance
Is there a more suitable profile to dedicate to production? Jaime Gona and Rosa Pérez point out that when selecting future students, what they value most is that they have “a proactive attitude and desire to learn”. As they themselves explain, the degree has been created to “provide production training to people who normally have just graduated but who do not have enough experience to be able to face a production or selection process for an audiovisual company; and that at the same time need a more detailed knowledge of the industry to be able to be part of it”.
Its point of view is also to adapt the agenda to the new possibilities of exploitation and production that are being generated in the industry. An update that affects the master’s agenda: “From the changes when it comes to financing the most authorial film that we can imagine to analyzing new businesses that are beginning to flourish on platforms like YouTube or Twitch, which are formats that the producer has to start taking into account.”
Eva Bodas, for her part, defends that “a good producer or producer has to be practically a ‘Renaissance man/woman’: You have to know how to manage human teams with enough emotional intelligence to be able to do it with empathy but without losing firmness at times, know how to deal with problems and ‘crises’ that always end up happening in any shoot or project, be a creative person who can understand all the possibilities of a story that at first is only on paper and have a lot of resilience to continue working day after day”.
Humility, ambition and camaraderie They are the trident that those responsible for the master’s degree highlight as keys for those who dedicate themselves to this trade. When it comes to teaching cinema, they consider it essential to convey that the audiovisual, “despite many technological advances that exist, is a part that is carried out in collaboration with a human team”. And they claim: “It’s just as important to enjoy the journey as it is to get to the destination.”