This Article is About
common goal
worst enemy
best friends
bottom line
long time
priority
coach
money
Meet The Crew: The Producer
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It took me a long time to actually understand and see the value of a good Producer. They have one of the most important roles in filmmaking. Not just in getting the film made but also getting it seen, getting it sold, and building careers. I know it’s kind of a big claim but the bottom line is without a Producer a film can’t get made. They are like the coach of a team, they bring everything together. And oftentimes it goes unnoticed.

In the studio production world the Producer is usually the first one working on a project. They come up with a story or find a writer who has a story they like and they begin developing it into a movie. “Development” as it’s called is the first phase of filmmaking. It’s when the Producers and writers work on making a story that; first is entertaining, second is understandable, and third is marketable. It’s when the Producers and writers go back and forth with the story shaping it into the base of the film it will become. Now if you ask writers, they will tell you that Producers mess up their stories all the time. And sometimes it’s true. We have to remember that they are trying to make something people want to see and sometimes writers don't have that goal as a priority. They’ll butt-heads a lot but that’s part of the process.

The alternative to the Producer finding the story is having the director approach the Producer with a story. It happens more in independent films and shorts and in the student film methods. Even when this happens the Producer workshops the script to make it more enjoyable and an overall better experience.

Pre-production is one of the busiest times for a Producer. They are charged with gathering everything needed to shoot the movie; locations, cast, crew, equipment, the works. And they do it all while spending as little money as possible. In this phase Producers are the director’s best friends and worst enemy. And it’s quite interesting to see the two types working together towards a common goal. Currently I’m in this phase of a short film and my Producer was able to get me a large warehouse which normally would cost well over $1000 a day and he got it for free for as long as I needed it. And that’s not an easy thing to do.

While a movie is being filmed the Producer is on call 24/7 to solve any problems and put out fires. They want to keep the director and everyone else focused on the task at hand, which is making the movie. This sometime involves negotiating with people for locations minutes before they want to film a scene or making sure there is plenty of food on set so no one is hungry. They also keep track of paperwork. I’ll be honest usually they have a team helping them cover all the bases because it’s a lot but I’ve never seen a good Producer let anything slip by, however small the detail. I even saw one repair a leaky toilet so people could use it. Watching a Producer work during the production phase of filmmaking is quite a sight to see.

When the film goes on to editing the Producer becomes all about pushing to get it finished and have it be a good movie. It’s embarrassing to shoot a film and not finish it and the Producer makes sure that never happens. It gets annoying and tedious but it has to be done, especially when everyone else is getting burnt out on the project and no one wants to continue working. It’s then, more than ever that the Producer plays a vital role in the completion of the film.

It doesn’t stop there. What good is a movie if no one watches it right? So now the Producer has to get it where people can see it. For independent films that means festivals, and small theaters. For studio films it means chain theaters and billboards the size of buildings (literally, it’s kind of ridiculous sometimes.) They wheel and deal and make arrangements so people will come and watch their film. And all of this work serves for their next task.

Making more movies. That’s right they still aren’t done. Producers want to make a living off of making movies so they go on and find the next project and the whole process repeats itself. It takes a real go getter to be a Producer they have to constantly work towards their goals and even though they will get rejected a lot, they have the nerve to keep going. That is what a movie Producer is.


Street Talk

Joan S  

Sometimes I wonder how some actors will star in, direct, and produce a movie. Seems like too much to me. When I've read a book before seeing the movie, I often get very disappointed in the results. Maybe it's because I already cast the movie in my head, and some scenes are left out. After reading your article, I have more respect for producers.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Many of the Actor/Producer/Director type people start using that method as a vehicle for themselves especially in indie films. when the actors are already well known a lot of times they want to push themselves and test their skills. and some are just extremely talented and are able to think on all three levels in film making. and yeah movies based on books are generally disappointing. That's the nature of the beast.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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