Executive Producer

Executive Producer

aka: Exec, EP

The executive producer is one of the top positions in filmmaking. It’s a senior job role with a focus on budgeting, funding, and project planning. However, the role varies depending on each project, with some people working on set and others acting as CEOs. 

It is important to understand all the roles on a film set and how they help to make a film. Keep reading to learn about this job role, education, career route, salary, and finding work.

What is an Executive Producer?

In filmmaking, the executive producer helps finance the project and keep the film on schedule. They may also work on finding investors, writing legal papers, marketing, and overseeing the film. In fact, the role can alter depending on each project’s needs.

In television, the role can apply to anyone senior and involved in the making of the film. As such, writers, actors, and anyone who helped budget the show can have a credit. Most of all, executives have a lot of influence over a project and its performance.

Job Description

To begin with, the executive producer is one of the first people on a project. They may work independently as freelancers or on behalf of a studio. In TV, they might also be the writer and creator of the project. Otherwise, they will assist in finding the screenplay.

The role requires immense knowledge of filmmaking and scheduling. One of their primary roles is to ensure that the project finds enough funding. They will also ensure the film is made on time, within budget, and help the producer to solve problems. The executive will have more authority than the producer and the final say on budget decisions.

If working in production, they will also help with scheduling, legal paperwork and ensure they work within union regulations. Their job on set is to oversee the project and help to maintain the budget. They might also have several film projects going at one time.

Pre-production Duties

The executive producer will mainly work in pre-production. Their primary goal is to help find and secure funding. Another task that will aid funding is to find and attach stars to the project. Once they have funding, they will hire producers unless the project already has one. During this stage, they will overlook the budget and schedule, solving any major problems.

  • Secure funding
  • Attach talent
  • Hire producers
  • Solve problems

Production Duties

Some executives are not involved in the project once filming begins. However, others will help the producer stay on budget, keep to the schedule, and fix any problems. They may also visit the set with guests or approve any major budget or story changes.

  • Oversee the budget
  • Solve problems

Education and Skills

Executives and producers have similar education and skills. Although a degree is not necessary, attending a film school can help you learn the basics. Despite not working on the set, it’s important to understand the filmmaking process from script to screen.

Most of all, they must learn about film budgeting, scheduling, and financing. To find funding for a film, they will use their industry contacts, take advantage of tax breaks, and pitch projects. As such, this role requires networking, confidence, and strong negotiation skills.

In addition, the executive needs strong teamwork and interpersonal skills. They will work with and lead a variety of people and personality types. The job also requires you to stay organized, keep the project on budget, and ensure the film remains on schedule.

Executive Producer Skills:

  • Full Filmmaking knowledge
  • Budgeting and financing
  • Negotiation and networking  
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Organizing and scheduling

Executive Producer Career Route

The executive producer is an above-the-line job role in the film and TV industry. Many people start out as producers or in other senior positions before moving up. It’s common to start out as a runner or production assistant before moving up.

One route to a producer is to work as a production manager or assistant producer. These mid-level job roles will give you insight into the whole filmmaking process. Most importantly, these positions allow you to understand budgeting and scheduling.

It will take many years to become a producer on major projects. Once you have enough experience and contacts in the industry, you should move into an exciting position. Plus, TV and streaming stations will hire executives to manage the company.

Executive Producer Salary

The executive producer is an above-the-line position. Many people start careers as producers before entering this role, at which point they will take up to 5% of the overall budget. However, they will need to negotiate their pay depending on their role per project.

The exact salary of an executive varies depending on the film’s budget. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says producers make an average wage of $85,320 per year. On large scales, the executive can make considerably more than the producer.

It is well-known that executives are among the highest-paid individuals on a film crew. To ensure they receive a fair wage, many freelancers choose to join a union or guild. The executive can also receive a bonus from studios if their film is a financial success.

Finding Work

At the start of your career, you can find entry-level jobs on film job sites. Other ways to find work are to look on the career pages of large film studios, join Facebook groups, and assist with low-budget films. It’s typical to begin your career as a production assistant.

Finding work in the film industry relies heavily on networking and making contacts. After a few years of initial experience, you will find work from recommendations. It’s also typical for producers to hire the same production team members on more than one project.

As a producer, you can also create an independent project. You will source a screenplay and find funding without the support of a studio. By doing this, you will learn the filmmaking process and how to solve problems. Plus, if the film is financially successful, companies and studios will notice you.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, executive producers are at the very top of the film crew hierarchy. Before entering this role, you must have significant experience in the film industry. The job is a good match for business minded people who want a challenging and rewarding career.

To start your career, aim to learn as much as possible from other filmmakers. It’s essential that you fully understand what it takes to make a successful film and how to manage budgets. We hope this guide has helped you learn more about this role and if it is for you.

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