Producers have overall control of every aspect of a film's production, bringing together the screenwriters, director, cast, finances and production team. Their primary responsibility is to foster an environment in which the creative talents of the cast and crew can flourish. Producers are therefore ultimately accountable for the success of the finished film. A producer will often find the idea, bring together the creative team, secure the financing of the project and then be responsible for delivering the film or TV programme to the distributor or broadcaster. The producer's role carries on all the way through to the final release or transmission of the project.
Skills needed to be a producer
- an extensive knowledge of storytelling
- thorough understanding of all the creative processes of filmmaking, including screenwriting, directing, editing, and music
- ability to control the overall planning of a production
- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- decisiveness and sensitively under pressure
- ability to prepare a production budget
- ability to identify and secure financial resources
- ensuring compliance with regulations and codes of practice
- selecting crew and suppliers
- identifying and selecting artists and contributors
- controlling expenditure
- monitoring and supervision of post-production
- preparing health and safety procedures for the workplace
Ways to become a producer
There is no predetermined route to becoming a producer. A number of colleges offer courses in producing but it is impossible to master all the necessary skills by study alone.
To convince financiers to part with their money, producers must demonstrate a successful track record. Typically, they will have built up substantial industry experience as a co-producers, line producers, associate producers or distributors, before progressing to the role of producer. Producers should have industry-approved health and safety training.
Job roles and responsibilities
A producer's responsibilities span all phases of production: development, pre-production, production, post-production and marketing. It is rare to find one producer who has the expertise and vision across all four phases of production. Producers normally delegate some functions to executive producers, co-producers, line producers and associate producers. However, the producer is ultimately responsible for the majority of the producing functions throughout all the processes. Producers must be good businesspeople, strategists, motivators, negotiators and creative visionaries with the ability to spot potential problems before they materialise and the drive to do whatever it takes to get the production made. They see the commercial opportunity in a creative idea and know how to secure the finance and team to see that idea see production and distribution.
Co-producers can fulfil a few roles. They could also be a line producer, handle business and logistical aspects of production or help with casting and recruiting. If the co-producer is a partner or corporate officer, they assist with production and post-production to enable the producer to move on. Where the co-producer is the lead producer or representative from another company, they will usually raise a significant portion of the budget but have less creative input.
Find out more about being a producer
- The Production Guild of Great Britain
- Producers Alliance for Film & Television (PACT)
- American Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)
- Women in Film & Television (WFTV)
- BECTU (the creative industry trade union)
- Producers Guild of America
- Filmmakers Alliance (USA)
- Sundance Institute (USA)
- Screen Daily
Some other job roles in content creation
The director is the creative vision behind a film or TV show, and has the ultimate responsibility for deciding exactly what appears on camera
Most people enter the script department as script readers or researchers before they can be successful as screenwriters, editors or story producers