Film producer

A film producer is a person who oversees film production.[1] Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, editing; and arranging financing.[2]

During the "discovery stage", the producer finds and selects promising material for development.[2] Then, unless the film is based on an existing script, the producer has to hire a screenwriter and oversee the development of the script.[3] Once a script is completed, the producer will lead a pitch to secure the financial backing (a "green light") to allow production to begin.

The producer also supervises the pre-production, principal photography, and post-production stages of filmmaking. One of the most important tasks is to hire the director and other key crew members. Whereas the director makes the creative decisions during the production, the producer typically manages the logistics and business operations, though some directors also produce their own films. The producer is tasked with making sure the film is delivered on time and within budget.[4] Finally, the producer will oversee the marketing and distribution.

For various reasons, producers cannot always supervise all of the production. In this case, the main producer or executive producer may hire and delegate work to associate producers, assistant producers, line producers or unit production managers.[5]


Different types of producers and their roles within the industry today include:

Executive producer

The executive producer oversees all of the other producers working on the same project. They ensure that the producers are carrying out their responsibilities on the production. They are also usually in charge of managing the film's finances and handling all other business aspects of the film.[1][6] On a TV series an Executive Producer or Co-Executive Producer is often a writer and given the credit in a creative capacity. On a Feature or Movie the Executive Producer is often the person directly funding the movie or the person who found the investors or company that provided the funding.

Line producer

The line producer manages the staff and day-to-day operations and oversees each and every physical aspect that is involved in the making of a film or television program. The line producer can be credited as "produced by" in certain cases.[1][6]

Supervising producer

The supervising producer supervises the creative process of screenplay development and often aids in script re-writes. They can also fulfill the executive producer's role of overseeing other producers.[1]


Within the production process, a producer can oversee, arrange, manage, and begin every aspect. They are involved in every stage of the overall production process.[1][6]


A co-producer is a member of a team of producers that perform all of the functions and roles that a single producer would have in a single given project.[1]

Coordinating producer or production coordinator

A coordinating producer coordinates the work/role of multiple producers who are trying to achieve a shared result.[1]

Associate producer or assistant producer

The associate or assistant producer helps the producer during the production process. They can sometimes be involved in coordinating others' jobs, such as creating peoples' schedules and hiring the main talent.[1][6]

Segment producer

A segment producer produces one or more single specific segments of a multi-segment film or television production.[1]

Field producer

A field producer helps the producer by overseeing all of the production that takes place outside of the studio in specific locations for the film.[6]


Development and Pre-production

During this stage of the production process, producers bring together people like the film director, cinematographer, and production designer.[7] Unless the film is supposed to be based on an original script, the producer has to find an appropriate screenwriter.[8][9] If an existing script is considered flawed, they are able to order a new version or make the decision to hire a script doctor.[10][11][12] The producer also has the final say on hiring the film director, cast members, and other staff.[13][14] In some cases, they also have the last word when it comes to casting questions.[15] A producer's role will also consist of approving locations, the studio hire, the final shooting script, the production schedule, and the budget. More time and money spent in pre-production can reduce the time and money wasted during production time.[7]


During production, the producer's job is to make sure the film stays on schedule and under budget.[4] They will always be in contact with directors and other key creative team members.[7][16][17]

For various reasons, producers cannot always personally supervise all parts of their production. For example, some producers run a company which also deals with film distribution.[16][17] Also, cast and film crew often work at different times and places, and certain films even require a second unit.


Even if the shooting has been finished, the producers can still demand that additional scenes be filmed. In the case of a negative test screening, producers may even demand and get an alternative film ending. For example, the audience reacted very negatively to Rambo's death in the test screening for the film First Blood, and the producers requested that the cast and crew shoot a new ending.[18] Producers also oversee the sales, marketing and distribution rights of the film, often working with specialist third-party firms.[4]

Labor relations

Considered executive employees in regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in the United States, producers represent the management team of a production and are charged by the studios to enforce the provisions of the union contracts negotiated by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) with the below-the-line employees. Founded in 1924 by the U.S Trade Association as the Association of Motion Picture Producers,[19] the AMPTP was originally responsible for negotiating labor contracts, but during the mid-1930s it took over all contract negotiation responsibilities previously controlled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[19] Today, the AMPTP negotiates with various industry associations when dealing with union contracts, including the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).[20] In 2012, the AMPTP negotiated over eighty industry-wide union agreements on behalf of 350 studios and independent production companies. Since 1982, the AMPTP has been responsible for negotiating these union agreements and is now considered the official contract negotiation representative for everyone within the film and television industry.[21]

While individual producers are responsible for negotiating their own deals with the studios distributing their films, the Producers Guild of America offers guidance to protect and promote the interests of producers and the production team in film, television, and new media, offering the framework to provide health insurance and pension benefits, and assists in establishing safe working conditions and vetting the validity of screen credits.[22]

Career process

Many producers start in a college, university or film school. On the occasion of announcing his own film school, 'École de la Cité, film producer Luc Besson admitted that at the beginning of his career, he would have appreciated the chance to attend a film school.[23][24] Film schools and many universities offer degree courses that include film production knowledge, with some courses that are especially designed for future film producers.[25][26] These courses focus on key topics like pitching, script development, script assessment, shooting schedule design, and budgeting.[27][2][28][29] Students can also expect practical training regarding post-production.[30] Training at a top producing school is one of the most efficient ways a student can show professionals they are not a rookie.[31]

While education is one way to begin a career as a film producer, experience is also required to land a job. Internships are a great way to gain experience while in school and give students a solid foundation on which to build their career. Many internships are paid, which enable students to earn money while gaining hands-on skills from industry professionals.[32][33] Through internships, students get to network with people in the film industry as well. This pays off in the end when looking for jobs after school. Once an internship is over, the next step typically will be to land a junior position, such as a production assistant.[31]

Pay can vary based on a producer's role and the location of filming. In the United States, the salary can start anywhere from $20,000 to $70,000, even doubling when working in Los Angeles.[34] The average annual salary for a producer in the U.S. is $109,844. When examining more than 15,000 producers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the average annual salary is $138,640.[35] Producers can also have an agreement to take a percentage of a movie's sales.[35]

There is no average workday for a film producer since their tasks are changing from day to day. A producer's work hours are often irregular and can consist of very long days with the possibility of working nights and weekends.[36]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Frequently Asked Questions - Producers Guild of America". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Producing". London Film School.
  3. ^ "27-2012.01 - Producers". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "TV or film producer". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  5. ^ Cieply, Michael (8 November 2012). "Three Studios Agree to Let a Guild Certify Credits for Film Producers". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e Zetti, Herbert (2011). Television Production Handbook 12th Edition. Cengage Learning. p. 7. ISBN 978-1285052670
  7. ^ a b c "Producer". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  8. ^ "writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been hired to pen the screenplay for producer Dino de Laurentiis". Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  9. ^ "Goldman was contacted by director/producer Rob Reiner to write the screenplay". Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  10. ^ "He began work on the scripter. And worked on it and worked on it, pushing it through seven drafts before arriving at a version with which de Laurentiis was satisfied". Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Broccoli insisted on a rewrite, claiming to the story was too political for a 007 film. Writer Christopher Wood was brought on board to collaborate with Maibaum and expand upon Broccoli's personal concept for the film". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  12. ^ Bergan, Ronald (4 August 2010). "the producers Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired him for two weeks to doctor the Richard Maibaum script of Diamonds Are Forever". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Next De Laurentiis hired King Vidor, director of Duel in the Sun (1946) and The Fountainhead (1949) to make the movie". Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Dino De Laurentiis [obituary]". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 November 2010. He also stuck loyally by gifted American directors when they were out of favour or off form. Robert Altman made one of his less successful pictures, Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976), for De Laurentiis, who also helped the luckless Michael Cimino back on his feet after the commercial disaster of Heaven's Gate
  15. ^ "Octopussy". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Cubby Broccoli personally broke his own golden rule and cast her as the mysterious Octopussy
  16. ^ a b Bergan, Ronald. "Bernd Eichinger [obituary]". The Guardian. London. In 1979, Eichinger bought a large stake in the Munich-based production and distribution company Constantin Film, which he ran as a hands-on producer for over 30 years
  17. ^ a b "Europacorp studio posted $186 million in revenues last year, making it second only to Germany's Constantin Film as Europe's largest independent studio". Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  18. ^ "test audiences nearly rioted after cheering for Rambo and then seeing him die. So the producers went back to Hope, British Columbia, the location for the film, and shot a new ending in which Rambo lives". Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) records". Special Collections: Margaret Herrick Library. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
  20. ^ "AMPTP". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  21. ^ "A Guide to Hollywood Unions |". Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  22. ^ "About the PGA: Mission Statement". Producers Guild of America. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  23. ^ "École de la cité". Ecole de la cité.
  24. ^ "Luc Besson launches film school". Variety. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  25. ^ "The MFA Advanced Film Practice programme aims to equip you with the creative, professional and technical knowledge you will need to enter the professional arena as a writer, producer or director". Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  26. ^ "The training course last three years and the interdisciplinary teaching programme prepares students in the specific areas of directing, scriptwriting, acting, photography, editing, sound techniques, production, set design, props and wardrobe". Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  27. ^ "Course of Study - Production". Filmakademie Baden Wurttemberg GmbH.
  28. ^ "Our BA in Film Production is one of our most highly sought-after courses". Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  29. ^ "Producing seminars teach through practical studies in production, script development, budgeting, and media economics". Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  30. ^ "All student films are developed, shot and post-produced in teams, closely mirroring a realistic industry work process in order to ease graduates' transitions to the professional environment". Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  31. ^ a b "Becoming a Producer - Tried and Tested Career Paths". Student Resources. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  32. ^ "Where to Look for Internship Programs in Entertainment". The Balance. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  33. ^ "Ways into the film industry - Film Industry - Creative Skillset". Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  34. ^ "Jobs in Film: Average Salary & Career Paths". Student Resources. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  35. ^ a b "10 Highest Paying Jobs in the Film Industry". 30 May 2008.
  36. ^ "Television/film/video producer job profile |". Retrieved 20 February 2017.

Further reading

External links