What is a Producer?
Table of Contents
The job of a producer may seem like a very glamorous one, but although it allows for a great deal of artistic and creative freedom, it is a job that requires hard work and perseverance. Producers are responsible for taking a writer's script and using it to create movies, television shows, live theatre, and other artistic productions. The producer takes full responsibility for the project from beginning to end, makes all the final decisions, and is accountable for how the end product turns out.
A producer needs to be creative and practical at the same time. The film director will make an artistic interpretation of the script and the producer needs to put it into financial terms. Producers usually have a good understanding of the industry as a whole, whether it be film, television, radio, theatre or other art production areas. They need to understand the competition and know how to best market their creative product.
What does a Producer do?
The producer works closely with the director and the executive producer in developing an artistic production. The director makes creative decisions, while the producer makes the business and financial decisions. This begins with the selection of a script, or hiring a scriptwriter to interpret a book or literary work. Auditions must then be held to select cast members. Producers manage financial aspects and make sure production remains on budget and on time.
Some of the duties of a producer are:
- marketing the idea for a theatre production, film, or television or radio program
- acquiring rights to the script
- obtaining financial backing and developing a budget
- hiring all staff, including directors, writers, production crew, musicians, choreographers, costume designers and set designers
- overseeing daily production both on set and off
- finalizing all post-production aspects
- negotiating distribution rights and promoting the production
Each of the above responsibilities can be expanded. For example, the producer not only hires staff but must do salary and contract negotiations, and must be familiar with relevant workplace legislation and union or association agreements. Budget must be closely monitored, from the smallest piece of lighting or film equipment to location travel expenses and overtime wages.
A key aspect of a producer's job is distribution and promotion. This includes advance press, promotional clips and other types of promotional material, media interviews and promo tours.
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What is the workplace of a Producer like?
The work environment is high-stress with a great deal of pressure. Assignments may be short, ranging from commercials to training videos to radio shorts; or they may be longer, ranging from documentaries to music videos to feature films. Many producers are self-employed, while others are employed directly by the motion picture or video industry or in radio and television broadcasting. Some producers work in performing arts and sporting industries, cable television, or radio. Hours are irregular and often very long, with weekend, evening, and holidays forming part of the regular work day.
The work location for a producer may be a theatre or soundstage, a television studio, or a radio station. Much of the producer's work is done outside of the workplace. The job may also be mobile when filming on location or traveling with a touring company. Weather conditions may sometimes be a factor.
Although producers in the U.S. and Canada can find work in different production fields almost anywhere, much of the work is concentrated in several large centres that serve as the hub of the motion picture industry. Many producers work on contract and move from one location to another, often learning the trade in other countries with major film industry centres, such as Bollywood or Teluga cinema, France, or Hong Kong. Films are also sometimes produced in these other centres as a way to manage costs.
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