Film producer

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A film producer is a person who oversees film production. [1] Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script, coordinating writing, directing, editing, and arranging financing. [2]


The producer is responsible for finding and selecting promising material for development. [2] Unless the film is based on an existing script, the producer hires a screenwriter and oversees the script's development. [3] These activities culminate with the pitch, led by the producer, to secure the financial backing that enables production to begin. If all succeeds, the project is "greenlit".

The producer supervises the pre-production, principal photography and post-production stages of filmmaking. A producer hires a director for the film, as well as other key crew members. Whereas the director makes the creative decisions during the production, the producer typically manages logistics and business operations, though some directors also produce their own films. The producer must ensure the film is delivered on time and within budget, and in the latter stages before release, will oversee the marketing and distribution of the film. [4]

Producers cannot always supervise all of the production. In this case, the primary producer or executive producer may hire and delegate work to associate producers, assistant producers, line producers, or unit production managers. [5]

Process and responsibilities

Development and pre-production

During this stage of the production process, producers bring together people like the film director, cinematographer, and production designer. [6] Unless the film is to be based on an original script, the producer must find an appropriate screenwriter. [7] [8] If an existing script is considered flawed, the producer can order a new version or decide to hire a script doctor. [9] [10] [11] The producer also gives final approval when hiring the film director, cast members, and other staff. [12] [13] In some cases, producers also have the last word when it comes to casting questions. [14] A producer will also approve locations, the studio hire, the final shooting script, the production schedule, and the budget. Spending more time and money in pre-production can reduce budget waste and delays during the production stage. [6]


During production, the producer's job is to ensure the film remains on schedule and under budget. [4] To this end, they must remain in constant contact with directors and other key creative team members. [6] [15] [16]

Producers cannot always personally supervise all parts of their production but will instead delegate tasks as needed. For example, some producers run a company that also deals with film distribution. [15] [16] Also, the cast and film crew often work at different times and places, and certain films even require a second unit.


Even after shooting for a film is complete, the producers can still demand that additional scenes be filmed. In the case of a negative test screening, producers may even demand an alternative film ending. For example, when the audience reacted negatively to Rambo's death in the test screening of the film First Blood , the producers requested a new ending be filmed. [17] Producers also oversee the film's sales, marketing, and distribution rights, often working with third-party specialist firms. [4]


Different types of producers and their roles within the industry today include:

Executive producer

An executive producer oversees all other producers under a specific project and ensures that the entire project remains on track. They are also usually in charge of managing the film's finances and all other business aspects. [1] [18] On a television series an executive producer is often a writer and given credit in a creative capacity. In a feature film or movie, the executive producer is often the person directly funding the project or is directly responsible for bringing in investors for funding. In television, it is becoming more and more common to spilt this role into two for creative projects. These are the executive producer and the showrunner. A showrunner, in this context, is the most senior creative, working on writing and producing their vision; they are effectively the same as the producer; overseeing, arranging, managing, and beginning every aspect of production. Whereas the executive producer focuses more on budgeting and predicting the views of the higher authorities in the wider company; trying to ground the showrunner's vision to tangible limits. A co-executive producer is someone whose input is considered as valuable as that of the executive producer, despite having a junior or unofficial role.[ citation needed ]

Line producer

A line producer manages the staff and the day-to-day operations and oversees each physical aspect involved in making a film or television program. The line producer can be credited as "produced by" in certain cases. [1] [18]

Supervising producer

A supervising producer supervises the creative process of screenplay development and often aids in script rewrites. They can also fulfill the executive producer's role of overseeing other producers. [1]


Within the production process, a producer can oversee, arrange, manage, and begin every aspect of production. They are typically involved in every stage of the overall production process. [1] [18]


A co-producer is a member of a team of producers that perform all of the functions and roles that a single producer would in a given project. [1]

Coordinating producer or production coordinator

A coordinating producer coordinates the work/role of multiple producers trying to achieve a shared result. [1]

Associate producer or assistant producer

The associate or assistant producer helps the producer during the production process. They can sometimes be involved in coordinating others' jobs, such as creating peoples' schedules and hiring the main talent. [1] [18]

Segment producer

A segment producer produces one or more specific segments of a multi-segment film or television production. [1]

Field producer

A field producer helps the producer by overseeing all of the production outside the studio in specific film locations. [18]

Labor relations

Considered executive employees in regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in the United States, producers represent the management team of production and are charged by the studios to enforce the provisions of the union contracts negotiated by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) with the below-the-line employees. Founded in 1924 by the U.S. Trade Association as the Association of Motion Picture Producers, [19] the AMPTP was initially responsible for negotiating labor contracts. Still, during the mid-1930s, it took over all contract negotiation responsibilities previously controlled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [19] Today, the AMPTP negotiates with various industry associations when dealing with union contracts, including the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). [20] In 2012, the AMPTP negotiated over eighty industry-wide union agreements on behalf of 350 studios and independent production companies. Since 1982, the AMPTP has been responsible for negotiating these union agreements and is now considered the official contract negotiation representative for everyone within the film and television industry. [21]

While individual producers are responsible for negotiating deals with the studios distributing their films, the Producers Guild of America offers guidance to protect and promote the interests of producers and the production team in film, television, and new media, offering the framework to provide health insurance and pension benefits, and assists in establishing safe working conditions and vetting the validity of screen credits. [22]

In December 2021, global unions filed a report titled Demanding Dignity Behind the Scenes to attempt to end the "long hours culture" of the television and film industry, citing in part that abuses increased in 2021 as the industry attempted to recover lost time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unions supporting the report make up over 20 million television, film, and arts workers worldwide. [23]

Career process

Many producers begin in a college, university, or film school. Film schools and many universities offer courses covering film production knowledge, with some courses specially designed for future film producers. [24] [25] These courses focus on key topics like pitching, script development, script assessment, shooting schedule design, and budgeting. [26] [2] [27] [28] Students can also expect practical training on post-production. [29] Training at a top-producing school is one of the most efficient ways a student can gain industry credibility. [30]

While education is one way to begin a career as a film producer, experience is also usually required to land a job. Internships are a way to gain experience while in school and give students a foundation to build a career. Many internships are paid, which enables students to earn money while gaining hands-on skills from industry professionals. [31] [32] Through internships, students can network within the film industry, which is an important way to make necessary industry connections. Once an internship is over, the next step will typically be to land a junior position, such as a production assistant. [30]

Pay can vary based on the producer's role and the filming location. In the United States, the salary can start between $20,000 and $70,000, even doubling when working in Los Angeles. [33] As of 2022, the average annual salary for a producer in the U.S. is listed as $70,180 per year, with an estimated range from $43,000 to $150,000. [34] When examining more than 15,000 producers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the average annual salary is $138,640. [35] Producers can also have an agreement to take a percentage of a movie's sales. [35]

There is no average workday for film producers since their tasks change from day to day. A producer's work hours are often irregular and can consist of long days with the possibility of working nights and weekends. [36]

See also

Related Research Articles

A film crew is a group of people, hired by a production company, for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. The crew is distinguished from the cast, as the cast are understood to be the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film. The crew is also separate from the producers, as the producers are the ones who own a portion of either the film studio or the film's intellectual property rights. A film crew is divided into different departments, each of which specializes in a specific aspect of the production. Film crew positions have evolved over the years, spurred by technological change, but many traditional jobs date from the early 20th century and are common across jurisdictions and filmmaking cultures.

Executive producer (EP) is one of the top positions in the making of a commercial entertainment product. Depending on the medium, the executive producer may be concerned with management accounting or associated with legal issues. In films, the executive producer generally contributes to the film's budget and their involvement depends on the project, with some simply securing funds and others being involved in the filmmaking process.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Directors Guild of America</span> Film and television trade union

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is an entertainment guild that represents the interests of film and television directors in the United States motion picture industry and abroad. Founded as the Screen Directors Guild in 1936, the group merged with the Radio and Television Directors Guild in 1960 to become the modern Directors Guild of America.

"Below-the-line" is a term derived from the top sheet of a film budget for motion pictures, television programs, industrial films, independent films, student films and documentaries as well as commercials. The "line" in "below-the-line" refers to the separation of production costs between script and story writers, producers, directors, actors, and casting and the rest of the crew, or production team.

A showrunner is an established writer and the top-level executive producer of a television series production, who outranks other creative personnel, including episode directors, in contrast to feature films, in which the director has creative control over the production, and the executive producer's role is limited to investing. The role of showrunner is not present on all television series, especially outside the US; this article describes the nature of the role where it is present.

Filmmaking or film production is the process by which a motion picture is produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, beginning with an initial story, idea, or commission. Production then continues through screenwriting, casting, pre-production, shooting, sound recording, post-production, and screening the finished product before an audience, which may result in a film release and exhibition. The process is nonlinear, as the director typically shoots the script out of sequence, repeats shots as needed, and puts them together through editing later. Filmmaking occurs in a variety of economic, social, and political contexts around the world, and uses a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques to make theatrical films, episodic films for television and streaming platforms, music videos, and promotional and educational films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Casting (performing arts)</span> Pre-production process for selecting actors, dancers, singers, or extras for roles or parts

In the performing arts industry such as theatre, film, or television, casting, or a casting call, is a pre-production process for selecting a certain type of actor, dancer, singer, or extra for a particular role or part in a script, screenplay, or teleplay. This process may be used for a motion picture, television program, documentary film, music video, play, or advertisement, intended for an audience.

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Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sean Hood</span> American screenwriter (born 1966)

Sean Hood is an American screenwriter and film director.

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A music supervisor is a person who combines music and visual media. According to The Guild of Music Supervisors, a music supervisor is “a qualified professional who oversees all music related aspects of film, television, advertising, video games and other existing or emerging visual media platforms as required.” In the musical theatre industry, a music supervisor is often responsible for managing a team of music directors working on any number of musical productions. In visual productions, the music supervisor usually works with the directors, writers or producers to choose which songs are best suited for the scenes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Writers Guild of America West</span> Labor union formed in 1954

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing film, television, radio, and new media writers. It was formed in 1954 from five organizations representing writers, including the Screen Writers Guild. It has around 20,000 members.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike</span> American media labor dispute

From November 5, 2007 to February 12, 2008, all 12,000 film and television screenwriters of the American labor unions Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), and Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) went on strike.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers</span> American trade association

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is a trade association based in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, that represents over 350 American television and film production companies in collective bargaining negotiations with entertainment industry trade unions that include, among others, SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America West and East, the American Federation of Musicians, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

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A line producer is a type of film or television producer who is the head of the production office management personnel during daily operations of a feature film, advertisement film, television film, or TV program. They are responsible for human resources and handling any problems that come up during production. Line producers also manage scheduling and the budget of a motion picture, as well as day-to-day physical aspects of the film production.

Fred Baron is an American film producer and studio executive, who currently serves as executive vice president of feature production at 20th Century Fox.


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Further reading