Over 2,300 film and TV producers are taking a stand against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), demanding to be excluded from the organization.
In a petition delivered to AMPTP President Carol Lombardini, producers are urging the removal of the “P” from the acronym to symbolize their departure. This decision follows intense negotiations with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and ongoing negotiations with SAG-AFTRA after one of Hollywood’s longest strikes.
By separating themselves from a labor dispute they were never involved in, producers aim to bring about broader change in the industry. They want to rewrite the rules that deny them access to healthcare and relegate them to the bottom of the payment hierarchy despite being the driving force behind film and TV projects.
Since June, producers have gathered an impressive 2,338 signatures on a petition hosted on Change.org, with influential industry figures such as Andrea Sperling, Bonnie Curtis, Cathy Schulman, and Dede Gardner lending their support.
Unsurprisingly, producers distanced themselves from AMPTP, an organization representing studios and streamers. While writers and actors had their concerns during the Strikes, producers also felt the weight of the consequences.
Producers are vulnerable within the industry without a strong guild to protect their interests. Despite their vital role in project development, they often go unpaid until production begins, facing pressure to accept fee reductions and shouldering the burden of a project’s fate.
This sets producers apart from their industry counterparts who enjoy guild protection. Though some may achieve financial success, producing remains a speculative and uncertain field. Producers face challenges beyond the lack of health insurance.
They are often asked to work without pay during development, while writers and rights holders receive payment. This unfair practice should not be tolerated, according to Lewis. Expecting producers to work without compensation should be illegal.
Furthermore, producer fees are typically delayed until completion, leading to substantial reductions due to pay cuts and the trading of producer credits. Managers who are also producers face the dilemma of whether to accept fee cuts, potentially risking their clients’ projects. Newbie producers risk being removed from projects without cause, limiting their rightful compensation.
This treatment of producers is un-American, systematically disadvantaging those responsible for bringing projects to life. Arguing that advocating for regulation is necessary to gain respect and recognition for producers’ vital work, the film industry must address these issues and offer better support for producers.
Misusing the term “producer” has caused problems, leading to fee splitting and limited opportunities for aspiring producers. There is a strong need for a fair and inclusive system to empower producers to thrive.
While the WGA focuses on strengthening the industry by limiting mini-rooms and supporting future showrunners, producers should also receive similar consideration.
The current system discourages new producers from entering the industry and forces emerging talents to leave. How can these producers support themselves between projects and receive proper training when their overhead deals have been abandoned?
The industry faces a significant problem with a dwindling supply of producers to create exceptional content. Experienced professionals are crucial for developing high-quality projects—thought, time, oversight, and experience in producing outstanding work.
The removal of the letter “P” is just the beginning of a larger fight to recognize and value the work of producers. Lewis believes this will ultimately lead to a push for unionization. Despite being classified as “management” professionals, producers lack control over financial decisions and should have the right to unionize as essential employees of production companies.
While the Producers Union may or may not be the right path, career producers plan to use their collective influence for a “hearts and minds” campaign. This involves changing perspectives and raising awareness about the value of producers in the industry.