The Producers Guild of America is in talks with major production companies to change the credit system for feature films. Under the current system, titles such as A.S.C. (cinematography) and A.C.E. (editing) denote people that have performed that duty in the film, and there is only one per film. The P.G.A. wants to add the letters p.g.a. to denote the sole producer that lent their efforts to producing the film. Under this new system, the producer who actually worked on the film (and not someone that got the credit for simply financing the film) will get the stamp after their name.
I spoke with PGA Executive Director Vance Van Petten last week, and he told me that a few studios (Sony and Universal, I believe) want this new system, but don’t want to be the first to start the new credit. It would seem that everyone should be behind this idea, because it singles out people that are actually producers and rewards them for their work. But the change is not that simple, because it comes with a price. Financiers who put up the millions of dollars to get the film made want, and usually get, producer credits, and they certainly won’t be happy getting “second billing” under the new system.
Anyone who has worked on a feature film knows the tremendous amount of time and energy it takes to get a film made, and they are generally on board for rewarding those who have performed their duties well. The new move will make it easier to distinguish who did all of the hard work, but the trade-off may come at the expense of the studio. Financiers who spend a ton of their own money on a project like to see their names next to Spielberg and Lucas, so it should come as no surprise that they might be a little upset at the new move. If all the financiers do is give away some money and think they get credit for their “work”, they shouldn’t expect to get equal credit with an actual producer. And soon, they won’t. Look for the new credits to be unveiled before the end of the year.