Friday, May 31, 2013

What Does a Movie Producer Do?

About 2 weeks ago I wrote an article about movie directors and what their roles are during the making of a film. Today, at the request of a reader (+Levi), I'm going to be answering a similar question: what does a movie producer do?

what-does-a-movie-producer-doBasically, the producer oversees production of the entire movie from beginning to end. Specifically, he or she is responsible for managing the creation of a movie from the moment an idea for a film is presented, to the moment it hits theatres (and even afterwards they still have to work on advertising it, distributing it on DVD and Blu-Ray etc). They handle most of the business aspects of movie-making such as pitching ideas to studios (if the idea didn't come from within a studio), making sure the film doesn't exceed budget limitations and organizing salaries of cast and crew.

The producer is the person who hires crew members, a scriptwriter (if necessary) and other producers to work on the film under him or her. He or she also works with the director to pick cast members for the different roles of the movie.

The producer needs to ensure that the movie is completed on time. What comes with this is the responsibility of handling any problems that might arise during the production of the film. These can come from many areas such as cast or crew complaining about work conditions, financial problems with a studio or problems that may arise when trying to distribute the film among other things. He or she also reviews the final version of the film to make sure that it's good enough to be released. If necessary, the producer suggests that changes should be made to the film.

There are several different kinds of producers that are organized in a hierarchical fashion with the executive producer at the top and the line producer or co-producer at the bottom. To be honest, I don't actually know what differentiates a lot of these different varieties of producers and I don't actually think it really matters too much. From the research I've done, producers on every single level tend to be very different in terms of how much they actually contributed to a given movie. 

For instance, some of them may have been given an honourary producer title for either providing financial backing to the film or perhaps because the main producer owed the person a favour. The point is that, depending on the movie, there are several producers who divide the work of one producer (handling finances, distribution of the film, working with the cast and crew etc) amongst themselves. Sometimes they have large roles to play in the making of a movie and sometimes they have small roles (or no real practical role at all). I don't mean to sound as if the producer doesn't do anything. What I mean to say is that on larger movies there are several producers who share the workload (because there are a lot of things to be done) and sometimes the title of “associate producer” (or whatever other type of producer) is largely a ceremonial one.

So that is, in a nutshell, what the role of a producer is during the making of a movie. They essentially handle the logistics of the movie, making sure that it's done on time and that it's done properly. Furthermore, they're responsible for the distribution of the movie to theatres and to households.

If you have any questions or comments I would love to read them.

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