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The Producer

The producer is the great enabler of the motion picture process, the person who makes it all possible. The degree of direct creative input exercised by producers varies enormously, but in general they're the people who assemble and then manage the means of production. One large sub-set of producers do their most important work before filming even begins: raising money, nailing down the rights to novels, plays or screenplays, and hiring the director. In this sense it's possible for a producer to exert a crucial formative influence on a project without ever setting foot on the set. When shooting is underway another type of producer (who may or may not be the same person) tends to take over. This is the line producer, who doles out the financial and physical resources of the production, the tools and the raw materials the creative team deploys on the set. In theory, the producer deals with all the mundane practical and political aspects of keeping a project humming along -- from caterers and industry unions to city permits and across-the-spectrum troubleshooting -- so that the director and his team can concentrate on the creative angles. Producers often get typed as bad guys because one of their principal responsibilities is riding herd on the budget and policing an inviolable shooting schedule. But they can also emerge as heroes if they are willing to take a bullet for the team, shielding a project from the interference of a tight-fisted studio or production company. And a producer with sharp filmmaking instincts of his own can be in a unique position to act as a sounding board for the director, a true creative accomplice.


Dennis E. Doty is producer of "Collected Stories," the second production in the acclaimed new drama series PBS HOLLYWOOD PRESENTS.

An award-winning producer with 28 television films to his credit, Doty joined with Gil Cates in 1989 to form Cates/Doty Productions for the development and production of motion pictures, miniseries, and specials for television. He serves as executive producer and/or producer of all Cates/Doty films.

Doty and Cates first worked together on the critically acclaimed television movie Consenting Adult, starring Marlo Thomas and Martin Sheen, based on the book by Laura Z. Hobson. The productions under their Cates/Doty banner include the miniseries Tom Clancy's NetForce and Innocent Victims; the television movies Confessions: Two Faces of Evil, In My Daughter's Name and Absolute Strangers; and the variety specials An American Celebration at Ford's Theater and America Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Israel. Most recently, in association with ALT Films, they produced James Agee's A Death in the Family for Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection on PBS.

Doty's additional television films include the CBS/Chrysler Showcase Production of Escape From Sobibor, starring Alan Arkin, Rutger Hauer and Joanna Pacula, for which he received a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy nomination and the 1990 Remembrance Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D., Earth*Star Voyager, Jane Doe and Sunset Limousine.

He also co-produced the 42nd Annual Emmy Awards hosted by Jay Leno, Jane Pauley and Candice Bergen for FOX in 1990, and produced Sunday at the Oscars, the pre-show to the 73rd Annual Academy Awards on ABC in 2001.

Productions under Doty's aegis while he was senior vice president in charge of television for Marble Arch/ITC Productions include the Emmy Award-winning Friendly Fire, starring Carol Burnett and Ned Beatty; the Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated All Quiet on the Western Front, starring Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine; the Emmy-nominated The Elephant Man based on the Bernard Pomeranz Broadway play; and The Scarlet and the Black, starring Gregory Peck, Christopher Plummer and Sir John Gielgud.

During his term as executive vice president for worldwide production of D.L. Taffner Ltd., Doty was executive producer of six films based on Leslie Charteris' The Saint and three films based on mystery novels by Dick Francis.

Previously, Doty was a programming vice president with ABC Television in both New York and Los Angeles. His executive responsibilities included the original development of the comedy series Three's Company and the creation of ABC's entry into early morning television, AM America, which became Good Morning America. Following his 12 years at ABC and prior to joining Marble Arch/ITC Productions, he was with the William Morris Agency as executive of TV creative affairs.

Doty serves on the Board of the Geffen Playhouse, the Board of the American Cinema Foundation and the Steering Committee of the Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Producer's Guild of America, the UCLA Theater, Film and Television Education Association and the Producer's Peer Board of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.


Dennis Doty
Dennis Doty


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