But what the heck does that entail? It’s probably the most common question I’ve been asked and have asked myself over the years of working in film and video production.
The producer is there from the very earliest stages of the project, all the way to the bitter end.
– They find the script and work on obtaining the proper rights.
– They typically put a “package” together with a proposed script, director, and actors.
– They often hire the director and oversees much of the crew that is brought on board.
– And when needed, they also do much of the firing as well.
I find that collaboration and communication is key when working on set, especially when you have strong personalities to navigate like directors and producers. Both have equal creative input and it’s important to recognize that. But at the same time, the director needs space to work and creative encouragement is often a producer’s best friend.
When it comes to the most important part, which of course is the big money, the producer must raise the funds and be responsible for overseeing the budget. This means keeping a close eye on the shooting schedule. (The director often needs to be reminded of time constraints!) This role is usually designated to that of the line producer.
Producers will often have to front the film with some of their own money until the film gets fully financed, but this mostly applies to pre-production. You may not think it at first, but having a project you believe in makes it that much easier to commit to, especially when it involves your own precious rainy day fund!
Cheat Sheet to the Many Flavors of Producer
Here’s something that always seems to pop up; why the abundance of producers for one film? When watching movies, the producer credits seem to be endless. There has to be more to it, and boy is there! Here’s a quick breakdown.
Producer | Oversees film from start to finish.
Executive Producer | The executive in charge of production, goes about his or her business like a boss. Not typically involved in any technical aspects of the film. Most likely juggling several projects at once. They usually secure 25% or more of the film’s budget.
Co-Executive Producer | Usually a studio executive with minimal finances on the line.
Co-Producer | They work under the producer assisting with financing, casting, and getting the film wrapped-up in post-production.
Associate Producer | This title is often referred to as an honorary position. One who may contribute on a minimal level but possibly change the direction of the script or film in a positive way could receive this title. It’s an easy way for producer’s to say “thank you.”
Line Producer | The line producer is there to help monitor the budget and make sure they stay as close to schedule as humanly possible. Typically no creative input is asked of them.
The producer is one of the most immersed jobs on a movie, touching on all levels of production, the film ultimately succeeds or fails based on the performance of the producer. Experience as a producer comes with years of working with industry expectations, and a lot of it comes down to the script and pairing it with the best possible cast and crew for that individual project.
Now it’s time for the visual aid! Take a look at this trailer for The Producers (2005).