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, and editing; and arranging financing. [2]

Contents

During the "discovery stage," the producer finds and selects promising material for development. [2] Then, unless the film is based on an existing script, the producer has to hire a screenwriter and oversee the development of the script. [3] Once a script is completed, the producer will lead a pitch to secure the financial backing (a "green light") to allow production to begin.

The producer also supervises the pre-production, production, and post-production stages of filmmaking. One of the most important tasks is to hire the director and other key crew members. Whereas the director makes the creative decisions during the production, the producer typically manages the logistics and business operations, though some directors also produce their own films. The producer is tasked with making sure the film is delivered on time and within budget, [4] and has the final say on creative decisions. Finally, the producer will oversee the marketing and distribution.

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

Types

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

Executive producer

The executive producer oversees all of the other producers working on the same project. They make sure that the producers are fulfilling their roles on the given production. They are also usually in charge of managing the film's finances and handling all other business aspects of the film. [1] [6] On a TV series an Executive Producer or Co-Executive Producer is often a writer and given the credit in a creative capacity. On a Feature or Movie the Executive Producer is often the person directly funding the movie or the person who found the investors or company that provided the funding.

Line producer

The line producer manages the staff and day-to-day operations and oversees each and every physical aspect that is involved in the making of a film or television program. The line producer can be credited as "produced by" in certain cases. [1] [6]

Supervising producer

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

Producer

Within the production process, a producer can oversee, arrange, manage, and begin every single aspect. They are involved in every single stage of the overall production process. [1] [6]

Co-producer

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

Coordinating producer or production coordinator

A coordinating producer coordinates the work/role of multiple producers who are 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] [6]

Segment producer

A segment producer produces one or more single 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 that takes place outside of the studio in specific locations for the film. [6]

Responsibilities

Development and Pre-production

During this stage of the production process, producers bring together people like the film director, cinematographer, and production designer. [7] Unless the film is supposed to be based on an original script, the producer has to find an appropriate screenwriter. [8] [9] If an existing script is considered flawed, they are able to order a new version or make the decision to hire a script doctor. [10] [11] [12] The producer also has the final say on hiring the film director, cast members, and other staff. [13] [14] In some cases, they also have the last word when it comes to casting questions. [15] A producer's role will also consist of approving locations, the studio hire, the final shooting script, the production schedule, and the budget. More time and money spent in pre-production can reduce the time and money wasted during production time. [7]

Production

During production, the producer's job is to make sure the film stays on schedule and under budget. [4] They will always be in contact with directors and other key creative team members. [7] [16] [17]

For various reasons, producers cannot always personally supervise all parts of their production. For example, some producers run a company which also deals with film distribution. [16] [17] Also, cast and film crew often work at different times and places, and certain films even require a second unit.

Post-production

During post-production, the producer has the last word on whether sounds, music, or scenes have to be changed or cut. Even if the shooting has been finished, the producers can still demand that additional scenes be filmed. In the case of a negative test screening, producers may even demand and get an alternative film ending. For example, the audience reacted very negatively to Rambo’s death in the test screening for the film First Blood , and the producers requested that the cast and crew shoot a new ending. [18] Producers also oversee the sales, marketing and distribution rights of the film, often working with specialist third-party firms. [4]

The union

Within the United States film and television industry, all producers union contracts are negotiated by The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). It was founded in 1924 by the U.S Trade Association as the Association of Motion Picture Producers. [19] The AMPTP was originally responsible for negotiating labor contracts, but 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 producers union contracts, including the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). [20] In 2012, the AMPTP negotiated over eighty industry-wide union agreements on behalf of 350 producers. Since 1982, the AMPT has been responsible for negotiating these union agreements and it’s now considered the official contract negotiation representative for everyone within the industry. [21]

Career process

There are many different ways to become a film producer. Stanley Kramer started as an editor and writer, while other producers started as actors or directors. [22]

However, many producers start in a college, university or film school. On the occasion of announcing his own film school, 'École de la Cité, film producer Luc Besson admitted that at the beginning of his career, he would have appreciated the chance to attend a film school. [23] [24] Film schools and many universities offer degree courses that include film production knowledge, with some courses that are especially designed for future film producers. [25] [26] These courses focus on key topics like pitching, script development, script assessment, shooting schedule design, and budgeting. [27] [2] [28] [29] Students can also expect practical training regarding post-production. [30] Training at a top producing school is one of the most efficient ways a student can show professionals they are not a rookie. [31]

While education is one way to begin a career as a film producer, experience is also required to land a job. Internships are a great way to gain experience while in school and give students a solid foundation on which to build their career. Many internships are paid, which enable students to earn money while gaining hands-on skills from industry professionals. [32] [33] Through internships, students get to network with people in the film industry as well. This pays off in the end when looking for jobs after school. Once an internship is over, the next step typically will be to land a junior position, such as a production assistant. [31]

Although rates can vary based on a producer's role and the location of filming, the average salary can start anywhere from $20,000 to $70,000, even doubling when working in Los Angeles. [34] The average annual salary for a producer in the U.S. is $109,844. 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 work day for a film producer, since their tasks are changing from day to day. A producer's work hours are often irregular and can consist of very long days with the possibility of working nights and weekends. [36]

See also

Related Research Articles

Film crew people hired for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture

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 company 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 film-making cultures.

Directors Guild of America 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 the leading producer of a television series. They are credited in the United States as an executive producer and in other countries, such as Canada or Britain, simply as a producer. A showrunner has creative and management responsibility of a television series production through combining the responsibilities of employer and, in comedy or dramas, typically also character creator, head writer, and script editor. In films, the director has creative control of a production, but in television, the showrunner outranks the episodic directors.

A production assistant, also known as a PA, is a member of the film crew and is a job title used in filmmaking and television for a person responsible for various aspects of a production. The job of a PA can vary greatly depending on the budget and specific requirements of a production as well as whether the production is unionized.

Residuals are royalties that are paid to the actors, film or television directors, and others involved in making TV shows and movies in cases of reruns, syndication, DVD release, or online streaming release. Residuals are calculated and administered by industry trade unions like SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America. The word is typically used in the plural form.

A production company, production house, production studio, or a production team is a business that provides the physical basis for works in the fields of performing arts, new media art, film, television, radio, comics, interactive arts, video games, websites, and video. Production teams consisting of technical staff produce the media. Generally the term refers to all individuals responsible for the technical aspects of creating a particular product, regardless of where in the process their expertise is required, or how long they are involved in the project. For example, in a theatrical performance, the production team includes not only the running crew, but also the theatrical producer, designers and theatre direction.

A talent agent, or booking agent, is a person who finds jobs for actors, authors, film directors, musicians, models, professional athletes, writers, screenwriters, broadcast journalists, and other professionals in various entertainment or broadcast businesses. In addition, an agent defends, supports and promotes the interest of their clients. Talent agencies specialize, either by creating departments within the agency or developing entire agencies that primarily or wholly represent one specialty. For example, there are modeling agencies, commercial talent agencies, literary agencies, voice-over agencies, broadcast journalist agencies, sports agencies, music agencies and many more.

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

A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking or nonsinging (silent) capacity, usually in the background. War films and epic films often employ background actors in large numbers: some films have featured hundreds or even thousands of paid background actors as cast members. Likewise, grand opera can involve many background actors appearing in spectacular productions.

Location manager person responsible for locations where a movie is shot

The location manager is a member of the film crew responsible for finding and securing locations to be used, obtaining all fire, police and other governmental permits, and coordinating the logistics for the production to complete its work. They are also the public face of the production, and responsible for addressing issues that arise due to the production's impact on the community.

Writers Guild of Canada

The Writers Guild of Canada is an organization representing more than 2,200 professional writers working in film, television, radio, and digital media production in Canada. Members of the Guild write dramatic TV series, feature films, Movies of the Week, documentaries, animation, comedy and variety series, children's and educational programming, radio drama, as well as corporate videos and digital media productions. The organization administers the Canadian Screenwriting Awards.

In the cinema of the United States, a unit production manager (UPM) is the Directors Guild of America–approved title for the top below-the-line staff position, responsible for the administration of a feature film or television production. Non-DGA productions might call it the production manager or production supervisor. They work closely with the line producer. Sometimes the line producer is the UPM. A senior producer may assign a UPM more than one production at a time.

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.

2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike US television labor dispute November 2007 – February 2008

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.

Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers American trade association

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is a trade association based in Sherman Oaks, 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, the Writers Guild of America, East, the American Federation of Musicians, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

The 1988 Writers Guild of America strike was a strike action taken by members of both the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) against major United States television and film studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The strike, which ran from March 7 to August 7, 1988, affected production on movies and TV shows. At 153 days, it remains the longest strike in the Guild's history, surpassing the 1960 Writers Guild of America strike by one week and the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike by seven weeks.

Film director Person who controls the artistic and dramatic aspects of a film production

A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design and all the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.

A line producer is a type of film producer who is the key manager during daily operations of a feature film, advertisement film, television film, or an episode of a TV program. A line producer usually works on one film at a time. They are responsible for human resources and handling any problems that come up during production. Line producers also manage the budget of a motion picture and 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.

References

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Further reading