Producers to be classified into five categories

HOLLYWOOD — Citing the production boom in areas beyond traditional features and TV, the Producers Guild of America has formally recognized producers of new media.

“The need for a specific level of expertise to our membership in this area has become abundantly clear over the past couple of years,” PGA exec director Vance Van Petten said.

The PGA announced it has created a New Media Council, which will meet monthly, and started accepting applications for membership at pganewmedia.org.

The PGA said it is classifying new media producers in five categories: movie/video production, animated production, Web-site production, interactive television production and game production.

Move is the latest by the PGA to elevate its Hollywood profile. The org recently elected Kathleen Kennedy, one of the industry’s top feature producers, to a two-year term as president and has been focused on the issue of credit proliferation.

The PGA has about 1,750 members, or more than quadruple the level of two years ago, with a key gain coming from last year’s merger with the American Assn. of Producers.

The org has positioned itself as an advocate for all members of the production team and has made headway on the credits issue in conjunction with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which has insisted only three producers can accept a best picture Oscar.

The PGA has also been working to create an accreditation board similar to the Writers Guild of America.

Van Petten credited the core group of members who compose the NMC, led by producer Marc Levey, for their experience in navigating the sometimes complex issues that confront the general membership on a regular basis.

The PGA said the council will offer programs dealing with the difficulties producers face in new technologies; effort launches Aug. 17 with an animation seminar. Ongoing programs will include a speakers bureau and seminars covering topics including the extension of DVD material and how producers can maximize the creative and commercial aspects of commercial production.

Levey said, “New technologies have empowered producers to capture and distribute their stories more effectively and efficiently than ever before.”

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