Film Producers

If no producer, no movie - Dino De Laurentiis

Films are not just an art form. They are a business as well. And it is the job of a Film Producer to look after the business aspect of Film – making. When we watch a movie, we can see the contribution of each and every key member of the unit in the film, except the Producer’s. This is because most people do not know what a Film Producer actually does.

What does a Producer do?

Film Producers are probably the only people in a film unit who’re involved in each and every stage and aspect of Film – making. They are a part of the film right from its inception till long after the film’s release.

  • One of the main jobs of a Producer is to select the script which is to be made. They go through piles and piles of scripts to find that one good subject that deserves to be made. They select scripts not only on the basis of their content but also need to look into whether selecting a particular script will turn out to be a commercially profitable venture or not.
  • Once the script is selected, the Producer hires the cast and crew for the film. Usually the Director is the first one to be hired. Then the Producer and the Director decide upon the appropriate cast and crew for the film together. 
  • A Producer has to decide upon a suitable monetary budget for the film within which it has to be made. He can choose to do this alone or take the help of his associates and the Director. 
  • A producer can choose to fund a film independently or arrange ‘Financers’ for the project. It is his job to convince the financers or investors to invest in the film. He has to prove to the investors that the film has a big chance of turning out to be a commercial success. 
  • Once the shoot begins, the Producer along with his associates looks after the daily functioning of the shoot. He arranges the funds for rentals, payments, salaries etc. The Producer also has to make sure that the film does not go ‘Over – budget’ and that the Director does not end up making him spend more money than what has already been decided. 
  • Once a film has been completed, the Producer can choose to sell the film to big film companies or to independent ‘Distributors’. Distributors in turn distribute the film to individual movie theatres for exhibition and share profits with the Producer. 
  • The job of a Producer does not end even after the film’s release. He has to settle the price for which the movie will be telecast on Television, on DVD’s etc.


How do you become a Producer?

The path to becoming a Film – producer is probably the least clearly defined one in the industry. This is because there are many ways through which one can become a Producer.

  • One of the most common ways of becoming a Film Producer is to join a film production company as a ‘Production Assistant’. It is at this point in your career where you have to build trust by being reliable and hard working. Slowly and steadily you can move up the ladder by becoming an ‘Associate Producer’ and then the ‘Executive Producer’ and finally the Producer.
  • Another route of becoming a Producer is to work as a Celebrity manager. Like this you can build good relations with investors and the Actor and help him be a part of projects that are commercially successful. Slowly you can also be a part of those projects as a Producer.
  • If you have a lot of money, you can become a Producer right away. All you need is to look for a good script and you’re ready to go. But, it is important to understand that some amount of industry – experience and film knowledge is necessary before one can think of producing a film.
  • If you’re a good Writer or have a good film script with you, you can use that script to become a Film Producer. All you have to do is pitch the idea to studios or investors and convince them to invest in the script with you as a Producer. It sounds much easier than it actually is, but if it works out, you end up becoming a Film producer right away.


What are the skills required to become a good Producer?

A Film producer is the person who has the ability to spot hidden gems in a pile of garbage. He needs to be able to see the film as a product, and understand the audience’s pulse. A Producer needs to have the ability to predict whether the audience will like the film or not. A good Producer knows how to use his resources in the best possible manner. He needs to have the ability to convince people to invest in his projects. As a producer, it is imperative to build good relations with people. He should understand the importance of creativity but not at the cost of economic feasibility.


Is this the right career for me?

A Producer’s life comprises of a constant fight between creativity and money.  It is a very difficult job where you have to deal with clashing egos and contrasting points of view. As a Producer, it is important to keep everyone happy – the director, the actors, the investors and the audience. It is a very risky job, and can result in great financial losses. On the other hand, a Producer’s job enables you to decide what will be made, and if you do it right, you can end up making massive profits.

If you think you have the ability to make the best use of limited resources and if you can manage to find a balance between what’s good for creativity and what’s good for business then you can end up becoming a successful film Producer. But if you want to be involved with the creative side of movies or if you’re looking for a job with financial security, then it’s probably not the right career for you.

Find out what it is like to be Working in the Film and TV Industry.

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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.