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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
EXECUTIVE Producing. There's a difference.


Dec 19 2007, 10:39am

Post #1 of 14 (797 views)
EXECUTIVE Producing. There's a difference. Can't Post

I think some of you are confusing Executive Producer with the Producer of a film.

I can't provide a direct link (too darn tired here) but you can Google it. I just typed

Executive Producer of Films

in the Google search engine.

The entry "What Is An Executive Producer?" is particularily interesting. I want you all to see what we fans, in our (so far) quasi-enthusism, are giving up here.

How for the next few years, as we read casting decisions, on set reports from the 2 back to back films, read media junkets from around the world, and TV interviews with whomever directs, we will NOT imagine Peter, Fran and Philippa not readfng media reports from some lonely set somewhere and not imagining how the films are getting on without them there ...how it all could have been....

New Zealand, WETA Workshop and Digital, Howard Shore, Alan Lee's massive art department, all the props and costumes that he sued NL to keep.........maybe even some of the actors...and Peter, Fran and Philippa NOT THERE, hardly involved at all except from an office somewhere...or worse yet, with the production in their own town.

I wonder if New Line will have the guts to suggest to Peter that, (to save money) he give this new director the Bag End set from his own backyard?

How will the DVDs be? Peter is an obsessive diarist. Can you think of any other DVD set with extras as good? Will any other director be as obsessed, or will the prospect of filling Peter's shoes be too much? Will love of the book shine throgh, to the point where he beefs up scenes like Bornir's death, that go even further? COuld other dorectors have done anything sublime like invent Arwen;s vision of a child....and Shore's score to match?

Will the cast and crew have that "This is an experience that we will remember the rest of our lives, that we will be telling the grandkids about" glow as they work every day, WITHOUT Our Three there? That special glow that can only make this the billion dollar success that the studios want it to be?

Once this does down, I hope the sobering facts start trickling in....

(This post was edited by Sunflower on Dec 19 2007, 10:44am)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Dec 19 2007, 11:37am

Post #2 of 14 (457 views)
I share your caution Sunflower [In reply to] Can't Post

After sleeping over the greatest news this side of the millennium, I'm beginning to wonder at this outcome. While I am still excited, I'm also a little frightened, wondering what's really happening behind the scenes here. I don't believe for a minute that PJ is content to sit back and "Executive Produce" these films with Fran Walsh. He's held on to this project for a long time and I can't understand what "settlement" he's satisfied with if it places him in the position of Exec.Producer Pirate

I have a feeling MGM and NL were planning on going ahead with this project with or without PJ, since as the press release seems to indicate, they wanted to take advantage of the fan enthusiasm etc. I feel PJ would have been content to wait till 2015 to make these movies, so HE could really make them the way he did LOTR, but the best way he could do so in this situation, was to gracefully accept the fact that the closest he could get was to exec. produce. It's a sad outcome if he doesn't get to direct, since that means huge compromises on a lot of things.

However, there is a faint glimpse of hope. I know and trust Jim Dorey from MarketSaw. He it was who reported a few weeks ago that his inside sources confirmed PJ and NL were nearing a settlement. He it was who said it would be a Hobbit followed by the LOTR-prequel. He it was who said they'd release it in 2010 and 2011. He was right on all counts. He still stands by his statement that PJ will direct The Hobbit, according to his inside sources, so I'm optimistic about it. I'll be talking to Jim today, let's see what happens.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Dec 19 2007, 12:56pm

Post #3 of 14 (463 views)
Also, to save people the trouble of doing a Google search [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are a few web definitions of "Executive Producer".

Wikipedia says:

Executive producer is a major role in the entertainment industry but one that is ambiguous and often difficult to define clearly. Executive producers vary in involvement, responsibility and power. Some executive producers have hands-on control over every aspect of production, some supervise the producers of a project, some manage the financial aspect of the project, while others are involved in name only.

and for Executive Producer in Films:

An executive producer of a motion picture is typically a producer who is sometimes involved in creative or technical aspects of production. This person generally handles business issues, and may also be a financer of a film. Some executive producers act as representatives of the studio (which distributes and/or makes a film) or the production company (which makes a film), sometimes being credited as executive in charge of production.
Often a person will receive Executive Producer credit because of his or her prior involvement with a property that has since been optioned into a film, even if there was no direct input into the creative process of the film itself. e.g. authors of optioned literary works, a person who has previously owned or currently owns a property's movie rights or someone who has produced or been involved in the production of a past version of the film.

Also, Wisegeek's answer to What is an Executive Producer is:

An "executive producer" is someone who is either financing a film, or is representing a studio or party that is financing a film. Films can have multiple backers, and therefore more than one executive producer. Executive producers -- often referred to as "the suits" because of their formal attire -- may not have any movie-making experience at all.
When a studio invests in a motion picture and it assigns an executive to oversee the making of the film, this executive is given the title executive producer. But he or she doesn't have a specific job on the set. Instead her responsibility is to make sure that everyone else is doing their job -- that the project is on schedule and is not over budget. The executive producer protects the studio's investment by overseeing the project.

The executive producer will work closely with the director if any concerns arise. For example, if bad weather holds up filming, or an actor is injured -- if anything at all goes wrong that threatens the picture staying on budget or on schedule -- the executive producer will press for solutions.

Another role of executive producer is to make sure that as the film is being made as planned; they ensure that ad hoc changes do not inherently alter the original project the studio approved.

Sometimes viewed as an outsider or interloper, it is nevertheless the function of an executive producer to look over people's shoulders. Movies could not be made without financial backers, and executive producers play a credible role in protecting the investments of those backing the art of filmmaking.

There is an exception to the rule of executive producers being "outsiders." Sometimes an actor, director, or producer will financially invest in a film he or she is making. In this case the investor will carry the title of executive producer in addition to their normal credit of actor, director, etc.

Anyone with enough money to invest can become an executive producer. This title does not require experience of any kind, or input into the process.

So seriously, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh in THIS position? As Sam would say, "It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are."

Well, I'm being optimistic, but rather warily Crazy

(This post was edited by Earl on Dec 19 2007, 12:57pm)


Dec 19 2007, 1:25pm

Post #4 of 14 (449 views)
Who was the executive producer of the LOTR trilogy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Nobody knows, nobody cares. It's the director that was the driving force, not the exec prod.
This is something that concerns me about the whole thing.


Dec 19 2007, 2:17pm

Post #5 of 14 (439 views)
Unless [In reply to] Can't Post

they make an exception with PJ's role as exec prod, that he will have more input than most exec prod would normally have.


Dec 19 2007, 3:16pm

Post #6 of 14 (437 views)
George Lucas was the executive producer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. [In reply to] Can't Post

And a WETA spokesman has said that is how Jackson visualizes his role with The Hobbit and whatever the second prequel is named. Yes, there are plenty of executive producers who do very little on the film, but I can't imagine Jackson playing that role here.


Dec 19 2007, 3:26pm

Post #7 of 14 (437 views)
George Lucas [In reply to] Can't Post

Executive produced the Indiana Jones films, he also wrote them, and they certainly had his mark.

For LotR, it was Mark Ordesky, Michael Lynne, Bob Shaye, and the Weinstein brothers.

I would imagine for the Hobbit that Jackson would take on the sort of duties associated with Lucas in Indiana Jones... ie, creative control and final production sign-off, as well as involving Phillipa and Fran in the writing of the script (much like the head of a company approving his employees' work before it's released into the public domain). I would imagine he doesn't have the spare time to be physically on set for over a year (which is what the filming would entail)...

In the words of the good book... Don't Panic

When I say good book, I of course mean the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


Dec 19 2007, 3:26pm

Post #8 of 14 (385 views)
You beat me! // [In reply to] Can't Post


"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


Dec 19 2007, 3:49pm

Post #9 of 14 (400 views)
PJ the Producer [In reply to] Can't Post

I concur about the George Lucas comment, PJ's spokesman basically stated that to the media. Also, Sloan's comments to EW implied Peter will have the last call on important things like Director, etc. And it is possible, depending on how PJs schedule works out, that he might get even more involved as things go into production.

SandWitch King

Dec 19 2007, 4:20pm

Post #10 of 14 (413 views)
I believe you are jumping a bit ahead [In reply to] Can't Post

WETA has said, via Richard Taylor, that the workshop would have Peter's blessing to work on the films even if Jackson were not involved. I think as Jackson and New Line and MGM sit down and work out the details with a director, WETA will fit into the picture nicely.

I don't believe Jackson owns all the props and costumes even now does he? I understood that he was suing New Line but not over props or costumes.

I strongly suspect much of Jackson's team will be on the films even if he isn't on set everyday or behind the camera.

I wish my name was "Barrow Wong". Maybe I should change it. And now for my quote:

"Please note, we have added a consequence for failure. Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official testing record, followed by death. Good luck."

Superuser / Moderator

Dec 19 2007, 6:37pm

Post #11 of 14 (379 views)
*shares towel with Owly* [In reply to] Can't Post

We're in the same universe, buddy.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Dec 19 2007, 7:49pm

Post #12 of 14 (352 views)
I beg to differ. [In reply to] Can't Post

Precisely for reasons like the experience of Lucas and Kershner with The Empire Strikes Back.

Irvin Kershner had something like three hours of footage he was planning for Empire. It was shaping up to be quite a drama, when Lucas stepped in and chopped it to pieces, placing more emphasis on the action sequences, such as the Hoth Battle and the famous Asteroid Chase (que Williams' score in that scene...we ll know it.) We all know Goerge Lucas's motto: "faster, more intense." Kershner said to Lucas, "You're ruining my movie!"

While the Indiana Jones films are more suited to Lucas's freewheeling, funloving style, I can think of many ways that Kershner could have improved on many a SW film.
SW fans, sit down and ask yourselves: What really would have been better, the Lucas-influnced Empire as we know it today (as good as that is), or an Irvin Kershner nearly three-hour drama that placed emphasis on the dialogue and less on the action? We can all think of ways that it could have been even better.

I stand by my opinions of yesterday. What made the production what it was, was the special glow on the set daily, that came from Peter, Fran and Philippa's involvement. And as good as any other director might strive to be, making these films without them there, and specifically without a Peter, Fran and Philippa script, would be just an academic chore, rather than something natural and organic that flowed from your very bones. And no matter what PJ would have the power to edit or change, he can only work with what was there in the first place. And if what is there in the first place is nothing as magical, then there's no point.

We all know that making even one Hobbit film will be murderously difficult---adapting LOTR was easy by comparison. There at least there was a template to follow: fantasy as history, like Braveheart with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in. But should we have the "childish" Hobbit that fans have loved for 70 yrs, or the more "adult" Hobbit that Tolkien hints he should have made in one of his letters (regretting the childish tone he took,and he thought the children regretted it too? I know Brigand can provide me with the Letters quote from this....) How would you balance these two visions? How do you prevent the film from turning into a live-action Snow White?

This is merely the initial conflict and problem, and it requires all the considerable skills of someone who has lived in Middle Earth for yrs and has it in their blood. At this point, being a fan is not enough.

For example, one of the things I loved was the SLOW pace of the LOTR trilogy. Others might get annoyed with the long, lingering closeups of characters brooding, to get their reactions etc. I LOVED it. These lingering close-ups, so that people get the time to leisurely take in the detailed surroundings, the slow camera pans in some scenes...I can't think of any other director, not even Del Toro, who does that. Pan's Labyrinth is MUCH more fast-paced, editing wise.

Thanks for looking up those defenitions for me, Earl....those were the ones I was looking at.

Ask yourselves, people, what is REALLY going on here. After the debacle of TCG, would New Line be lenient with PJ, allowing him to step in and drastically alter the film-making process? They have an official film blog and are scouting locations in NZ already. Hello? Who chose the sites for LOTR, PJ or New Line? If New Line is taking such an agressive hand in the production even before there is a director or script, what do you think they'll do once they have one? This smacks of trying to force the fans' hand in concurring with whatever they plan to in doing, by sending us the message that we can't influence their decisions. If we give in now, we cede the whole production to them. And Peter loses his power most of all.

Will a cash-strapped, hungry, desperate New Line allow for fan input,(and it WILL be needed, since even Peter can go wrong--remember XenArwen??) or are they in such a rush to make their billion? The artistic line is razor-thin here. we NEEd Fran and Philippa to write the script and the score with SHore, at least. We need David Salo emailing them every day like before.

They're trying to get as much of their stamp on this thing as possible before PJ steps in, in whatever way. To set the tome for the future.

I still say no, no and no. I've slept on it and and am evenmore adamant now, if more sober.

(This post was edited by Sunflower on Dec 19 2007, 7:50pm)

Sr. Staff

Dec 19 2007, 11:36pm

Post #13 of 14 (371 views)
Agreed with SWK. Plus, if you think back to PJ's post here... [In reply to] Can't Post

...when he said he regretted that he WOULDN'T be involved in The Hobbit: the things he was looking forward to doing (ie he mentioned they had even started some work on a script, or some ideas for it, didn't he?) he would I am sure not be willing to give up. What I'm trying to say is that all the reasons why PJ wanted to do The Hobbit and was sad that he wouldn't be (because of the NL dispute) make it highly unlikely, imo, that he would come back on board but hardly be involved. These are films about which he cares deeply, and he would not be 'slightly' involved. I think it would be real artistic involvement (which, mind you, doesn't necessarily mean directing) or nothing for PJ - can't imagine him being distantly involved. He cares too much.

'There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of my fridge...'

The Shire

Dec 20 2007, 8:08am

Post #14 of 14 (363 views)
Producer/Executive Producer [In reply to] Can't Post

I really appreciate your information on what the differences between Producer and Executive Producer are and I have concerns about what this will actually mean.

But I can't see Mr. Jackson caving in to the studios . It appears that he and Ms. Walsh will be able to choose how involved they wish to be on this project and I can't see them choosing to just lend their names to the project.

It's still early days yet and I trust them both to make the good decisions they have so far, always seemed to have made.

Ever hopeful.

"'Do not be afraid,' said Aragorn. 'I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Eowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.'"


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