What does a film producer do?

Read more

"

What does a film producer do? When I first started working in film, that was a big source of confusion for me. I’d always thought that the producer was the one who funded the movie, but my producer friends were always making phone calls and updating spreadsheets… and none of them had the cash to fund a feature film. The answer, of course, is a little complicated: there’s not just one type of producer, and they don’t just do one thing. So let’s dive into it and learn more about what a film producer does.

What is a producer?

There is no easy answer to this question, because there are different types of producers. When I was envisioning a producer funding a film, what I was picturing in my head was an executive producer. Executive producers often have other roles as well, like overseeing the other producers, creating a vision for the project, signing other talent to the project, and making sure the project stays on budget, but sometimes they are only financial partners. There are other types of producers, including associate producers, line producers, and many more. You can read more about the different types of producers here.

A producer is essentially someone who facilitates the production of a film. In many ways, they blur the line between roles, wearing many hats on and off the film set. A producer is a problem solver, they are in charge of logistics, and they put in place the infrastructure that the other filmmakers need in order to make a movie. Producers select scripts to be produced. Producers hire the crew, including the above the line crew members like director and DP. Producers make the budget, secure the funding, and make sure everything is running smoothly. Producers are responsible for things like on-set safety and making sure everyone gets paid. 

What does a film producer do at each stage of production?

Let’s walk through each stage of production and talk about a producer’s responsibilities at each. Remember, there are different kinds of producers, so unless it’s a very small production, there are usually a team of producers working together on all of these.

Pre production

  • Script selection
  • Securing funding 
  • Hiring the creative team
  • Planning the production

Production

  • Overseeing financial aspects of the production
  • Offering support to the director and other above the line creatives
  • Problem solving
  • Managing the production

Post production

  • Overseeing post production creative work, including editing, scoring, etc
  • Marketing the film
  • Securing finishing funds

Distribution

  • Planning the film’s festival run
  • Continuing to market the film
  • Creating a distribution plan

As you can see, producers of all types have a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Think of them as the captain of the ship. Their job is to steer the ship safely to shore, overseeing the entire process, even as the crew works together to achieve their mission. 

What skills should a producer have?

Since they have so many responsibilities, there are a lot of skills a good producer should have. 

  • Networking. A good producer makes and remembers lots of connections, so that when they need to hire for a project they know just who to call.
  • Pitching. A producer should be able to talk with investors and other financial partners and let them see the value in the project they’re pitching.
  • Strong artistic skills. While the producer isn’t always the one in charge of the artistic decisions, they are the person who first invisions the film, and it’s their job to hire creatives who can bring that vision to life.
  • Financial skills. Producers have to be adept at things like budgeting in order to keep the production on course.
  • Leadership skills. A producer should be able to manage a film set, have strong people skills, and be able to clearly communicate with the other team members.
  • Administrative skills. Producers spend a lot of time coordinating logistics, and they should have the administrative skills to do so effectively.

What if I want to be a producer?

Regardless of if you want to produce your own work or if you want to get your foot in the door in Hollywood, there are a few things you can do to start building your skills to become a producer.

  • Work on film sets. It’s important to work on film sets so that you get an understanding of how they function and what everyone’s jobs are. If you’ve never worked on a film set before, see if you can get on set with a local indie production company, either as an intern or a PA. You can even volunteer to help local film students to start building your resume.
  • Network. If you want to be a producer, you need to know people. Attend film festivals to make connections, or find online communities like local Facebook groups to get to know who’s who in your area.
  • Build your skills. Practice things like creating script breakdowns, budgeting, and creating pitches. Work on skills like phone calls, sending clear and concise emails, and other “soft skills” that producers ought to have.
  • Talk to a producer. See if there is someone in your local community who would be willing to get on the phone with you and give you pointers about how to be a good producer. If there’s no one near you, consider booking a coaching call with New 32 productions and picking our brains.There is really no substitute for a conversation with someone who is already doing the job you want. 
  • Find resources for producers. There are lots of resources out there to help you learn how to do this job. We have an ebook about ethical filmmaking, and there are many other books you can check out on Amazon. Just remember that the film field is ever evolving, so it’s important to find resources that are relatively recent, and remember that just because one person does something one way doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY way to do that thing. 

What does a film producer do? The truth is, they do a little bit of everything. If you like movies and TV, thank a producer. Reach out if you have any questions!

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Author

Molly is an author, screenwriter, blogger, and brand manager for New 32 Productions. They are passionate about sharing content that helps filmmakers live a more productive, informed, and well-balanced life. They live in North Carolina with their spouse and way too many dogs.

You may also be interested in…

Best apps for filmmakers

Best apps for filmmakers

Today let's discuss the best apps for filmmakers. Your weather app Now, this might seem like a boring or obvious one. But think about it for a second. When planning a shoot–especially an outdoor scene, a night scene, or a scene that you want to utilize natural...

read more
Crystals for creativity and writing

Crystals for creativity and writing

Crystals are a great tool for everyday life. Even if you’re a major skeptic, they can still be of great use to you. I like to carry a smooth tumbled crystal in my pocket that I can fidget with when I need to calm down or focus. I like to put iridescent crystals on my...

read more
google.com, pub-2352126854827201, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0