Being a producer is one of the essential leadership positions one can hold. Knowing what they do, how much they earn, and how to become a producer can help determine if this path is right for the filmmaking career. So, let us look into what a producer does and the things needed to become one.
What is a Movie Producer?
A film producer manages a film project through various stages, from development to production to post-production. They supervise production assistants and other filmmakers, assist directors, oversee finances and schedules for the shoot, coordinate vendors and department heads, and update investors on project progress.
What Does a Movie Producer Do?
Specific duties will vary based on the film producer’s role, experience level, and project scope. However, a producer typically carries on the below functions.
- Find a script to make into a movie
- Hire a screenwriter to write screenplay ideas
- Create creative and constructive annotations for screenplays
- Pitch a movie idea or script to an investor
- Secure project funding, contract negotiations with vendors, directors, other producers, and other department heads
- Budgeting and allocation of funds for specific departments
- Collaborate with directors, cinematographers, and other department heads to bring their creative visions to life
- Maintain the schedule for shoots as planned.
- Review and provide daily footage to offset executives and investors.
- Coordinating reshoots, pick-ups, or production delays
Types of Producers
They are top-level producers and connect with investors, secure project funding, oversee all sub-producers and department heads, and work with the director on high-level creative execution. At times, an executive producer may also contribute financially.
These higher-level producers manage the budget, allocate resources effectively, hire key production staff, manage all contracts, coordinate filming security, and ensure the film stays on budget.
They are upper-level producers and ensure that all producers meet high production standards and fulfill their obligations.
Also known as the production coordinator, this senior producer facilitates collaboration and communication between producers, department heads, executives, treasurers, and the supervisory team.
This type of producer is part of a team of two or more people who share the same duties and responsibilities evenly. These professionals are beneficial when the responsibilities of the producer role are enormous for any one of them. Co-producers often come in handy in high-budgeted motion pictures.
Also known as Associate Producer, this mid-level Producer role helps an Executive Producer or other Senior Producer perform their duties. They can help schedule meetings, update financial people, and communicate with directors and other department heads on behalf of executive producers.
This mid-level producer is the production lead of a specific segment of a multi-segment project. These producers are often common in broadcasting or documentary filmmaking.
Visual Effects Producer
Also known as a VFX producer or supervisor, they’re responsible for leading a team of VFX professionals in creating graphics for a film in post-production. In addition, they may monitor the budget and timeline, send progress updates, and collaborate with the director to execute the creative vision.
How to Become a Movie Producer?
There are many ways to become a film producer, especially between mainstream “Hollywood” filmmaking and independent filmmaking. Let us have a look.
How to Become an Industry Producer?
To produce mainstream movies, the below steps are followed.
Pursue a Degree
To learn the basics, build your portfolio, and gain hands-on teaching experience, consider earning one of the following certifications:
An associate degree typically spans two years and delves into filmmaking, visual storytelling, script analysis, and cinema history.
This four-year degree provides access to more advanced techniques, portfolio opportunities, specialized practice writing, cinematography, camera operation, sound design, and production management.
This two- or three-year program allows you to specialize in a filmmaking discipline, such as screenwriting, directing, producing, or cinematography.
Alternatively, more streamlined programs offer certifications or diplomas, showcasing your comprehensive expertise in general filmmaking or a specific facet, such as producing, directing, or cinematography.
Get an Internship
While pursuing your undergraduate or postgraduate studies, seek industry internships to apply your skills, gain hands-on experience, and connect with seasoned professionals. Whether in production companies, animation or VFX studios, casting agencies, or talent management firms, internships provide a stepping stone. Consider targeting internships with companies that align with your cinematic aspirations, working with filmmakers you admire, or frequently collaborating with directors you aspire to work with. This strategic approach can optimize your journey in the film industry and propel your career forward.
Produce a Short Film
Build your portfolio with productions and other filmmaking examples, regardless of whether you have a degree or certification. Making a short film yourself or with colleagues or friends may help showcase your skills and style to potential producers, directors, or executive producers. If you’re making a short film, consider showing it at film festivals worldwide. You can also enter contests and win honors and prizes. These awards and examples of portfolio work can further showcase your skills and passion.
Network in the Industry
Always try to network in all ways available within the industry.
Joining a professional network
There are many industry associations in the various filmmaking fields, and aspiring producers can join the Alliance of Film and Television Producers, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, and the Producers Guild of America.
Attend festivals and industry events
Buy tickets to see new films, attend parties and panels, and interact with filmmakers worldwide, even if you haven’t submitted your film to a festival.
Working as an intern
You meet different people in the industry, and these people know others in the industry. Making these remote connections may result in another connection in the future.
Freelancing as a background actor
Many great movies look for background actors. So when you take on any of these roles, casting allows him to connect with directors, directors, producers, and other aspiring filmmakers.
Networking can help you connect with potential colleagues and find new opportunities to pitch your ideas or even land your first producer role. And finding connections throughout your career can continue to find bigger opportunities.
Begin Your Career as a Production Assistant or Entry-Level Filmmaker
One of your early roles as a production assistant, responsible for meeting the needs of the crew, cast, and other filmmakers on set, allows you to observe, watch, and learn about filmmaking and even the production processes. You can even support the producer to show off your skills, which could lead to future endorsements, and you might even have time to ask about their job and career path.
Be a Producer on a Major Industry Film
After completing entry-level roles, you may move on to lower-level producer roles, such as producers and co-producers. To land one of these roles, you must make a good impression in every project you work on, continually expand your portfolio, and apply for open roles at production companies.
Gain Experience in a Mid-Level Producer Role
After working in a lower production role for several years, you can move on to a mid-level production role, such as an assistant producer. At this level, you probably have a team that you’ve worked with a few times or take on the role of a production company that could be assigned to various projects in the future.
Advance into Upper-Level Producer Roles
A resume showing 10+ years of filmmaking experience makes one eligible for senior positions such as Production Manager or Executive Producer.
How to Become an Independent Producer?
If your passion lies in the independent film industry, you have options to gain expertise. You can choose formal education through a degree, a focused certificate program, or a hands-on approach by building your professional experience. In either path, consider the following steps:
Complete an Internship
Get internships in the independent film industry with or without a certificate for independent production companies, independent producers or directors, film festivals, and other professional organizations. Some aspiring independent producers pursue internships and experience in mainstream industries to find other diverse opportunities.
Make a Film
Collaborate with colleagues and other indie filmmakers to take on the role of a feature or short film producer. Most importantly, use your skills effectively to complete a project and include this project in your resume and portfolio.
Network in the Industry
Attend film festivals, work on indie films, and attend events for indie filmmakers to meet experts and industry leaders, pitch your ideas, and find your next production opportunity.
Join a Professional Organization
There are many independent film production organizations. Join organizations like the Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers to meet more professionals, find job opportunities, and receive additional training and education.
Gain Experience At an Independent Film Company
After producing your films with teams, consider pursuing a role at an independent production company to have access to projects with larger budgets and more people.
What Skills Does a Movie Producer Need?
Successful movie producers often need the following skills:
- Time management
- Finance and budget management
- Creative thinking
Where Does a Movie Producer Work?
Some film producers work for large and small production companies. Others can work independently and move from project to project. There are also cases where producers have their own production companies or work independently but with the same team of experts on many projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need to Go to School to be a Movie Producer?
A degree is not needed to become a producer or filmmaker. Still, a degree will teach you about film history, film techniques, screenwriting, camera, editing, and many other important skills needed to succeed in film and help you learn the industry basics.
How a Producer Chooses Projects?
A producer selects projects through careful consideration of script quality, market potential, creative team, budget, and alignment with their vision and goals.
Is Producer a Good Career?
Being a film producer can be very fulfilling and sometimes very lucrative. But, like any other specialty in the filmmaking business, it has its ups and downs. Starters often invest the most time in months or years in a project. Until the producer works with the production company or studio to produce the film, the film is distributed, and revenue is generated from ticket or streaming sales. However, compensation may not be paid. In short, being a producer can be a promising career for someone passionate about what they do and willing to sacrifice another career’s stability and financial security.
What is the Average Salary of a Producer?
Producers typically receive an average annual salary of $50,553, but compensation can vary depending on their specific role within the production.