Film producers prepare and then supervise the making of a film before presenting the product to a financing entity or a film distributor. Either employed by a production company or independent, they help the creative people as well as the accounting personnel. The average Hollywood film made in 2013 had just over 10 producers credits (3.2 producers, 4.4 executive producers, 1.2 co-producers, 0.8 associate producers and 0.5 other types of producer).
Whereas historically in television, the primary role of the producer was to oversee all aspects of video production, in film and often in television today, this role is filled by the Line Producer. The line producer may manage a film's budget and maintain a schedule. The Executive Producer oversees the filmmaking with regard to film finance. They liaise with the line producer and report to production companies and distributors.
Whether the person credited as "producer" or a person credited as "executive producer" has more input on a production is not always clear and is subject to change as the film is substantiated. Since filmmaking is a dynamic process, responsibilities can grow or shift in the process and to-be credits for producers can get adjusted retroactively. For example somebody hired as "line producer" might later be credited as "executive producer".
Because of these dynamics it is imperative that all involved producers agree on production standards right from the start. It is said that negligence in that matter can lead to a domino effect.
Other producers are more involved with the day-to-day workings, participating in activities such as screenwriting, set design, casting, and even directing. Currently, because of the restrictions the Writers Guild of America screenwriting credit system places on writing credits, many script writers are credited as "producers" instead, even though they may not engage in the responsibilities generally associated with that title. In this limited sense, the producer and the Screenwriter may be the same person.
Producers differ from Production Management (Production and Unit Managers and Production Coordinators) in part because the responsibilities of Production Management are more logistical than creative.
Manages current staff and day-to-day operations. Finds staff to hire for the production. Most line producers are given the title of produced by.'
Supervises the creative process of screenplay development, and often aids in script re-writes. They usually supervise less experienced story editors and staff writers on the writing team.
Traditional producers, who are responsible for physical facilities, are given the credit of produced by. ' In U.S. films, a producer can also be a writer who has not written enough of the screenplay to receive approval from the Writers Guild of America to be listed as a screenwriter.
A writer who may not have written the script, but contributed significantly through table reads or revisions. In the U.S., co-producer credits also often require approval from the Writers Guild of America.
This producer manages the schedule and arranges the staff into teams.
These producers are former executive or possibly co-executive producers, or in rare cases directors. They are called upon to assist the writers.
Runs day-to-day operations.
Writes or produces one segment of a film.
Selects areas to film (outside of a set) and coordinates production in the field. They also form a trusting relationship with the cast/participants in order to get interviews while in the field. They may fill a number of different roles, including production manager/coordinator, videographer and also Production assistant.
Oversees the creative and editorial aspects of the program when it is being edited.
Supervises the overall post-production process, including editing, dubbing and grading. Post-producers are typically employed by facilities houses rather than by production companies directly.
In film or video productions, the executive producer is almost always given an opportunity to comment on a rough cut but the amount of attention paid to his/her comments is highly dependent on the overall personnel structure of the production.
Development (film rights)
During the "discovery stage" the producer has to find and acknowledge promising material. Often a producer must then retrieve the film rights or an option. If the rights owner is worried about preserving the integrity, voice and vision of their work, the producer might have to comply with a variety of demands concerning the screenplay, the film director, the casts or other topics. Thus it occasionally takes a lot of time and effort before the actual pre-production can begin. Late German producer Bernd Eichinger is said to have worked 15 years on convincing novelist Patrick Süskind just to agree to a film adaptation of his book Perfume. However, sometimes all effort is futile. J. D. Salinger, for example, refused all film producers as long as he lived.
Unless the film is supposed to be based on an original script, the producer has to find an appropriate screenwriter. If an existing script is considered flawed, they are able to order a new version or make the decision to hire a script doctor. The producer also has the final say on which film director gets hired. In some cases they also have the last word when it comes to casting questions.
Among other things the producer has the last word on whether sounds or music have to be changed or scenes have to be lopped. Even if the shooting has officially been finished, the producers can still demand that additional scenes be filmed. In case of a negative test screening producers may even demand and get an alternative film ending. This happened for example with First Blood. Producers are also in charge of selling the film or arranging distribution rights.
There are different ways to become a film producer. Stanley Kramer started as editor and writer. Other producers started as actors or directors.
Film schools offer degree courses that include film production knowledge. Some courses are especially designed for future film producers, focusing on key topics like pitching, script development, script assessment, shooting schedule design and budgeting. The students can also expect practical training in regards to post-production.
On the occasion of announcing his own film school "L’Ecole de la Cite" film producer Luc Besson admitted that at the beginning of his career he would have appreciated the chance to attend a film school.
The average annual salary for a producer in the US is $109,860. If you look just at the 15,000+ producers in the L.A. area, the average annual salary is $138,640. Producers also often have an agreement to take a percentage of the movie's sales.