Hollywood’s credits conundrum didn’t end with Oscar night.
The PGA’s push to rein in producer credits seemed to reach its apex when “Crash” won best pic and Cathy Schulman and Paul Haggis walked away with the statuettes, rendering Bob Yari‘s lawsuit practically a moot point.
But with Kathleen Kennedy soon to step down as PGA prexy, her likely successor, VP Marshall Herskovitz, is already talking tough on the subject.
“We’re trying to restore the producer credit to what it used to be, and in trying to define it people are going to get jostled,” says Herskovitz, who glimpsed the problem firsthand in 1999 when his partner Ed Zwick and four other producers took the stage for “Shakespeare in Love’s” Oscar win.
“Real damage has been done to the profession and to the industry by credit inflation because it makes the credit worthless. The result is that no one knows who actually can and can’t produce.”
As a result, he says, producers are finding it more difficult to deal with studios.
“There are 15 or so producers who operate pretty actively and then everyone else struggles to get by, partly due to the confusion over who’s actually effective,” Herskovitz says.
Herskovitz plans to run for the PGA presidency in May; he says he doesn’t feel he’s completed his work.
No studio, for example, has yet signed onto the PGA’s Code of Credits, which attaches specific weight to the producer functions for determining the “produced by” credit for features and the executive producer credit for TV.
“It’s actually in the studios’ interest not to be giving away credits,” he says. “And we’re willing to be the bad cop.”