Sunday, 2 November 2008

Allow Me To Explain- What Does a Producer Produce?

It's been a question that's dogged the movie business since the dawn of time: "What exactly does a producer do?"

Well, the simplest explanation is that while a director makes a film, it is the producer's job to make sure the film gets made. Now not all producers are created equal, more times than necessary the credit of "producer" is doled out to people as wide ranging as investors, the star's manager, and the studio CEO's surfer bum of a son in law, and only the investor actually contributed anything to the making of the film, even though they never actually visited the set. I find these sorts of name-games cheapens the work of the producers who actually, you know, produce.

But among the producers who actually produce, there's a very definitive hierarchy.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER- This is the person who puts together the initial "package" of the film. That entails picking a script, recruiting stars, a director, the producers, and arranging the financing of the film, either independently, or through a studio. Once this package is put together and given the green-light by a studio or financier, the Executive Producer moves onto putting together other movie-packages, and hands off responsibilities to the...

PRODUCER- This is the person in the field, who supervises the production process. That means making sure the creative staff gets the film made on time, and on budget. The Producer is assisted by one or more...

ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS- These folks are the Producers deputies, handling specific organizing tasks hopefully in accordance to the producer's wishes. They are assisted by...

LINE PRODUCERS- Also called PRODUCTION MANAGERS. They handle the number-crunching, salary management, scheduling, and logistics needed to get the large enterprise of a feature film working efficiently. The are assisted by PRODUCTION COORDINATORS, PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANTS, and several PRODUCTION SECRETARIES.

Why all these people? Because unless you're shooting a movie in your basement with your spouse, a swinger who works as a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly, a French maid outfit, and a bottle of tequila, you're going to need a budget, a crew, and the ability to handle a million little details, that if not handled correctly, could cost you millions of dollars. That's more than any one person can possibly handle.

Next time in this erratically scheduled series, I will talk about what the Director does.

No comments:

Post a Comment