For Curious Minds: What Does a Film Producer Actually Do?

Working on a film set is sort of like joining a transient community. People are always coming and going as they work together to create something special. Blockbuster films and independent movies alike require incredible amounts of time, dedication, and effort to get the final picture that audiences enjoy in theaters. For a production to be successful, however, it needs to be steered by a professional producer. Film producers are rarely thanked for their contributions to a film production, but they are often one of the biggest factors in the final output. Today, we are going to explore the role of the film producer as well as their tangible impact on a project.

Role of the Film Producer

When we talk about the film industry, much of our focus will be directed toward the writers, actors, and directors of a project. After all, it is easiest to see the fingerprints of the hands-on creatives in the final product. Everyone knows what the actor did on screen, and everyone sees what the director chose to do with a camera. However, nobody really SEES what a film producer does. So what do they do?

A film producer is sort of like the CEO of a film. If you are a sports fan, then you could also consider the film producer as an NFL executive. Film producers are in charge of putting together a production while making sure that it stays on track, within budget, and on time. Okay, that’s still sort of vague, right? Let’s get even more specific. Here is what you can expect a film producer to do on the average motion picture.

1) Organize Financing – First and foremost, a film’s producer will likely be the primary influence on film financing. Producers initiate the process of acquiring funds for the creation of the film. Though most producers have their hands on finances, other producing gigs won’t be as money-focused.

2) Line Up Talent – Remember when we called a film producer a CEO or team executive? Well, one of the most important jobs that a producer has will revolve around talent acquisition. The producer must help to hire the entire creative team behind the production. From the screenwriter and director to the casting associates, camera ops, and makeup artists, the producer will be there to sign off on talent. If you look at what David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did for ‘Game of Thrones’, you’ll understand how important talent acquisition is.

3) Finalize the Film – Producers are also in charge of working with the creative team after the picture has been wrapped. The producer will be involved in the editing, marketing, and sales process. From locking in the final edit to getting a distribution deal, producers are pivotal to the success of a film.

Becoming a film producer isn’t easy; however, there ARE multiple paths toward the career. Many successful CEOs in other industries have begun to dip their toes into producing films. Most of all, producers need to be highly motivated, detail-oriented, and willing to be patient throughout a long process.