What Does A Film & TV Producer Do?
Watch the credits of any TV show or film and you’ll notice that the producer appears high on the list. They play a vital part in any production, but what exactly does a producer do? Here is everything you need to know about the producer’s role, including their responsibilities, how they work and what you need to do to become one.
What Is A Producer?
In a nutshell, a producer is a person who develops, coordinates and supervises the production of TV and film. Usually from the business point of view. Producers are involved in every step of the process. From the initial idea, right through to getting the project on television, streaming services or in cinemas. Ultimately, the producer is the person responsible for the success or failure of a project.
What Are A Producer’s Duties?
A producer has a broad role that encompasses many different duties. These might include:
- Securing funding for the production and keeping it within the allocated budget
- Reviewing intial ideas and finished scripts
- Hiring key staff, including the director and crew
- Securing rights to novels, plays or screenplays
- Overseeing the production by organising shoots, fixing problems and holding regular meetings
- Pitching to broadcasting companies
- Working with marketing companies and film distributors
- Ensuring compliance with health and safety laws, production insurance and relevant regulations
- Ensuring that the final project is delivered on deadline
A producer’s exact duties will depend on the scale of the project, with some being delegated to other staff like supervisor or line producers.
Browse some of our video production jobs listings which can help show what is required!
How Do Producers Work?
It is common for a tv or film producer to work on a freelance or contract basis. Sometimes there are in-house positions with companies like the BBC, Channel 4 and Netflix.
Producers will usually be based in large cities, as that is where the majority of TV shows and films are made. Day-to-day, producers will work either in an office or on-set. It’s a hugely collaborative role that requires close contact with directors, actors and other production staff. Hours tend to be long and unpredictable, with evening and weekend work as well as long stretches away from home.
What Kinds Of Producers Are There?
If you watch the credits of any television show or film, you’ll notice that there are many different jobs that have ‘producer’ in their title. In order of seniority, here are some of the different roles and what they entail:
- A showrunner (exclusive to TV production) is the chief executive . They are responsible for the daily management of the show and the overall production
- An executive producer. They oversees all the other producers working on the project. Alternatively, this can be a financier or key member of the production (e.g an actor).
- A co-executive producer (exclusive to TV production) is almost as senior as the executive producer. They manage staff and are also involved with the scriptwriting process.
- A supervising producer assists in the creative process of the production. Includes table discussions and scriptwriters
- A producer oversees and manages the production process at every stage (a co-producer carries out the same roles in larger productions where more than one producer is required)
- A coordinating producer (also known as a production coordinator). They coordinate the tasks of separate producers working on the same project
- An associate producer or assistant producer carries out tasks at the request of the producer. They can be involved in coordinating the jobs of others on the team.
How Do You Become A Producer?
In an already highly competitive industry, a producer is a sought-after role. That’s not to say it can’t be done. While formal training and qualifications aren’t a necessity to become a producer, hands-on experience is a must. You will need to have several years of work experience and a detailed knowledge of how productions come together.
Several UK broadcasters offer training schemes, though the competition is fierce. If you’d like to increase your chances of being accepted into a training program, you might want to consider voluntary work and film and television festivals. Also try attending industry conferences, seminars or networking events.
If you’re just starting out, you might consider becoming a runner, which is a good way to get your foot in the door and gain some experience.