If you’ve ever seen a film credit list, you’ll have noticed more than one producer listed. From the moment a project is initiated, producers play an essential role in ensuring it gets made.
They select a script and director, secure rights, arrange financing, lead all lower-level producers and department heads and collaborate on high-level creative execution.
Developing a film is a critical phase of production. It’s where the producer starts by pitching the idea of a movie to studio executives to raise money. This involves reading the market, understanding what kind of return they can expect, and creating a business plan to ensure success.
Once the movie has been shot, the producer stays on top of the project to make sure all of the pieces fit together in a way that will sell to distributors. This includes overseeing the post-production process, including VFX, color grading, and editing.
The producer is also the person who will initiate marketing campaigns, hire public relations firms and promote the film to potential audiences. This is why producers are known as jack-of-all-trades because they do wear every hat on the set. They are the ones who will root for A-list actors and quality equipment in hopes of making a film people will pay to see.
Producing a movie is more than writing the screenplay, finding the right director, and casting actors. It’s about managing the money to ensure that a film project returns a return on investment to original investors or financiers.
During production, a producer oversees the filming and is on set to assist creatives with making decisions and problem-solving on-the-fly. It’s also about navigating the many challenges that can arise on a film set and keeping everyone happy, safe, and on schedule.
Producers at any level must be adept at listening to the crew’s needs, the director’s artistic vision, and the actors’ demands to find solutions that satisfy all parties. This requires excellent communication skills because a good producer like Brad Kern can anticipate problems before they arise and keep the process moving smoothly. They also manage the film’s budget and work with the post-production team to apply visual effects, editing, and sound design.
Producers are responsible for a film’s overall finance and production, including pre-production, principal photography, and post-production. They work with directors to bring their vision to life, ensuring the movie stays on budget and schedule. They may also be responsible for pitching their films to studios to secure financing.
Often the executive producers will be given credit for writing as well, although their main focus is the business side of things. Once a film is completed, they will seek distribution deals.
Whether they are pitching a script to a studio or meeting with distributors, the producer will need to be able to manage finances and have solid creative instincts to ensure the project succeeds. For this reason, many independent producers start in other filmmaking roles, such as assistant directors or production assistants, before moving up to producer.
A lot goes on behind the scenes to make a film. Producers are responsible for everything from inception, staff coordination, production process management, controlling finances, and even working with editors. They are genuinely the Jack-of-all-Trades.
They must be able to read the market and understand that they are making a commercial product that needs to appeal to the audience and generate a return on investment. This is why it is so essential for producers to have a background in business or finance.
They must listen to the crew’s concerns and creative desires and find solutions that will work for all parties. They also have to be a good negotiator. Some people with experience in sales are very successful in this role. In addition, producers sometimes receive bonuses based on the success of ticket sales.