I really don't care how other people think about it anymore: a person who puts down cash against their taste and sensibility and their belief in an artist's output is a producer.
Sergei Diaghilev could not dance. He could not choreograph a dance. But he knew that Nijinsky could do both and that it was a rare and important thing. And, yes, maybe, it was even just a profitable spectacle. But then there was Rimsky-Kosakov and Stravinsky… This was a man of means with a taste and sensibility he felt confident acting upon, financially.
The fact is, I know everything that one needs to know—from top to bottom—about how to make a film. I may not be great at all the particulars (accounting, scheduling, payroll taxes, union formalities, meeting the public's immediate entertainment demands) but I have done all of these things to the industry's apparent satisfaction in the past at one time or another.
What I'm not good at is making money. I respect people who have parlayed their intelligence and skill into wealth. I have never been able to do that. My interests and my temperament complicate things (too big to discuss here). But I know a lot of affluent people who feel the same way about the world that I feel but who can't express it. And we have great conversations. And sometimes those conversations lead to collaborations. And films are made.
That's a producer. Of course, there are others of us who are called producers too, people who carry out the work each day, what in my father's trade was called a foreman. I wish there were different words in the movie business. A foreman is a position of real respect.
I'm a craftsman, first and foremost. When I can manage it, I raise my craft to the level of art. But I can't do that without producers. Producers help me gain the time to think and feel and pay attention.
If you're up for it, please do become one of my producers.