Understanding the Roles of a Film Producer
In the filmmaking industry, the roles and responsibilities of many crew members can be easily deduced from their titles. We don’t have to be told what a director does or who the lightman is. However, the roles of a producer are not clearly defined by the title, and most people struggle to understand exactly what a film producer does. Who is a film producer, how does he ‘produce’ a film, and what exactly does it mean to ‘produce’ a film?
Who is a Film Producer?
Film production deals with the art of management. A film producer is involved in all major decision-making processes of a film. His primary responsibilities are ensuring that production runs smoothly and that the film is completed on time and on budget. This requires dexterous management of people, time, and resources.
Basically, if a studio is a god, then a producer is his priest, tasked with mediating between the great deity and their crew to produce a film out of nothing but an idea and willpower. A miracle of sorts, so to speak.
Responsibilities of a Film Producer
A producer is a captain of his ship and must work in tandem with the studio (or independently), the crew, and the resources at hand to deliver the film. A producer’s job can be broken down into the three phases of movie production, each with different roles and responsibilities.
The phases are:
Genesis! As always, it starts with darkness, nothing but an idea.
The producer takes this idea, whether a raw story or a script, and runs with it. He leads the charge to secure funding for the project and then assembles his crew alongside the director and cinematographer. In collaboration with the director and some other crew members, the producer has to figure out important details like the production schedule, the budget, locations, cast members and the final script for production. Only when all the kinks have been worked out can they move into phase two, production.
Production is where the magic happens. Here the producer oversees the project. While he can’t always directly supervise, he keeps in close contact with the director. During the production phase, a producer’s major task is to ensure that the schedule and the budget are kept. After this, it’s on to post-production.
During post-production, the producer supervises all cuts of the film, all the way down to the sound, and can, in some cases, demand for scenes to be reshot, removed, or added to the film. They also are responsible for the marketing, PR and distribution decisions taken to push the film to the audiences.
A successful film can have just one producer or a team of co-producers. Usually, a producer delegates the responsibilities to others, as they are too big for a person to shoulder. There are different kinds of producers, with the executive producer being the final authority on the production. Other producer roles include:
- Line producer, who manages the day-to-day running of production and the staff as well
- Segment producer, who supervises segments of productions
- Field producer, who handles off-studio production.
It’s safe to say that film production would be a whole lot less put together without producers.
Thus, producers can take their place next to the superstar directors, brilliant cast and amazing screenplay writing that constitutes the pillars of a successful film.