A film producer is a job role everyone has heard of, but most people don’t understand what a producer actually does.
To begin with, they are the head of the film project. So they look over the whole filmmaking process from start to finish. Often, the film producer finds the script, sources the film’s budget, and hires the crew.
They are the highest paid crew member and can work for many years on one project. Because of this, the producer has the most power and final say in film production.
On this page, we list everything you need to know about becoming a producer. We break down the job role including duties, education, career route, salary, and how to find work.
What is a Film Producer?
The film producer is the person who finds the script or story for the screen. Producers can work on various video projects, including TV and commercials.
One of their first tasks is to find and hire the screenwriter and director. In addition, the producer must find funding for the film. Only when they have financing can they start filming. So, without the producer a film would not make it into production.
What Does a Film Producer Do?
First, the producer finds the film’s script, either by hiring a writer to work on an idea or buying a finished screenplay. The producer will also hire the director in these early stages.
Then the film producer will create a budget breakdown with the 1st AD. You can only start filming once they have a secure budget. There are lots of ways to find film funding. For example, tax incentives and crowdfunding.
They also keep watch during filming. On set, they can hire, fire, and make story changes. Lastly, the producer watches over the edit and approves the final cut.
Film Producer Job Description
Most film producers work as freelancers in above-the-line job roles. However, they can work full-time for TV and large film companies.
The producer’s exact job will change per project. But they typically hire crew, find funding and help to create the filming schedule. There might also be more than one producer on set, especially on large projects.
During filming, they watch over the film’s progress. The producer will make sure the film stays on budget and schedule. They will spend their time on set and in the office.
The producer is the first person on a project and the last to leave. Their final task is to approve the film’s final cut and deliver it on time to distributors.
The film producer finds the film’s story. They either find the screenplay or adapt a story for the screen (for example, a film based on a novel). The producer then hires the key crew members, including the director and lead actors. However, the producer’s most difficult job is to find the production budget.
- Find the story and script
- Hire director and crew
- Secure the film’s funding
- Create the filming schedule
- Help to organize filming
When the film reaches production the film producer will make sure that the film stays on schedule and within budget. Often they spend their days in the office, holding meetings and making occasional trips to set. All major changes will go through the producer first, this includes any costly purchases or changes to the script.
- Watch over the filmmaking
- Keep the project on schedule
- Manage the film’s budget
- Lead the production team
- Solve any production problems
During post-production, the film producer watches over the edit and works alongside the marketing team. They may also organize test screenings to make sure that the film connects well with its audience. Lastly, they keep a close eye on the box office numbers and will want the film to make a profit for investors.
- Watch over post-production
- Approve the film’s final cut
- Work with the marketing team
- Sell the film to distributors
- Keep an eye on its success
Education and Skills
Firstly, if you’re interested in the producer job role, you must build up your work experience. It is common for film producers to start their careers as runners and work up the production management team.
Alternatively, you can start producing films straight away, learning through practice. Making a low-budget film will quickly teach you the complete filmmaking process from script and screen.
You don’t need a degree to become a film producer. However, many successful producers have studied filmmaking or media. Most of all, you need to understand the filmmaking process from start to finish.
Key Film Producer Skills:
- Full filmmaking knowledge
- Understand storytelling
- Budgeting and financing
- Teamwork and leadership
- Organization & scheduling
Film Producer Career Route
The producer is an above-the-line job role in the film industry. You can work up into this role by starting as a runner or production assistant. Unlike other roles in the film industry, it is possible to start at the bottom of the career ladder and work your way up into this role.
Another career route is to make your own films. You can start out by producing short films or other low-budget projects. The producer must understand the entire filmmaking process and everyone’s job roles.
The film producer can also work in various industry sectors, from TV to online video. However, only the most experienced producers work on major film projects.
Film Producer Salary
The film producer is often the first person on a project and the last to leave. As such, a producer is typically the highest paid crew member receiving 5% of the overall budget.
At the start of their career, they might only make a small wage as a production assistant. But their pay will increase with the more experience and skills they learn.
The exact salary of a producer varies depending on their experience and the project budget. However, according to U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for a producer is around $79,000. Of course, Hollywood film producers will make a lot more than this.
To make the most of your career and contracts, it would help to join a film union.
Once you have some initial work experience as a film producer you can begin to search for paid work. Your first paid job might be as a production assistant or production secretary.
You could also try working as a film producer for independent films producing low-budget projects such as short films or music videos. Film producing work is self-employed but you might find full-time jobs in TV or for a commercial company.
Like all film crew jobs, finding work is often down to who you know and from recommendations. So, it’s important to build up your networking and communication skills.
|Entertainment Careers advertises jobs in the film and TV industry across the US. It specializes in work for production companies in the Los Angeles region. Their website makes it easy to narrow down your search by job type, experience level, media sector, and location.
|The BBC and other large companies have a consistent turnaround of jobs. If you check out their website, you will find plenty of work both full-time and freelance. In addition, they have internships and production training which accept new applicants twice a year.
In short, the job of a film producer is especially tough and requires a lot of time and commitment to the film industry. Nevertheless, many people choose to work in this role by starting their career in the production office. For the right person producing will prove to be a rewarding career.