Film Suits: the Business of the Movie Industry

Film suits_ Executive Producers

The artistic qualities of film are inherent to anyone who watches a movie; no other art form combines music, theater, photography and storytelling in one seamless attractive package.  Film theorist and critics abound to tell you the why, who’s and where’s of a particular film’s make-up, most DVDs come equip with gag reels and behind the scenes features.  But the movie industry is exactly that: an industry.  A business run by passion, sure, but a business none the less.  Each and every film followed a specific process to get from a great idea to a distributed piece available for your viewing pleasure and you can thank those wonderful film suits for that movie you so enjoy.

The term “Suits” refers to those people who run the business end of the movie industry, through film production companies and distribution companies.  They are the producers, casting directors, development directors, marketing executives, and entertainment lawyers; responsible for taking a project through the rights acquirement process and granting it that glorious green light. They work in production companies, talent agencies, for major studio and distributor operations and even for guilds like the WGA (Screenwriter’s guild) or the Screen Actors Guild.  You can recognize them on set as the people most likely not to be seen wearing jeans.

Despite their business end operations, the Suits of the film industry are not to be considered dry, cutthroat, or unimaginative people.  On the contrary, those who work in the development and promotions departments are often the film’s greatest cheerleaders and defenders.  They know the film’s primary goal is to make their company money, seldom –if ever- will they back a film they know will be a complete box office flop.  They have the remarkable gift of blending the artistic goals of films with profit drawing power, and if they’re really good at what they do, they become just as well-known as their art-end counterparts.  For example, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax Films, Lawrence Bender (Tarantino’s producer) or Aaron Spelling, responsible for over two hundred television shows.

Becoming a film Suit requires an ability to blend artistic integrity with business smarts, a great passion for film and a top-notch education.  The Suits of the film industry tend to hold degrees in Business, Marketing, or Film Production. Some schools, like New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, have MBA programs especially geared for film. Ultimately a good movie cannot exist without the business know-how of those infamous film suits.

Get information on film production degrees by using the form on this page.  School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have.

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