A producer has a crucial role in a film production. He or she must get the right people to the right place at the right time for the right price. This means they are in charge of the scheduling, budgets, hiring, equipment rental and transportation (even catering) from pre to post production. Their responsibilities can sometimes even extend into marketing and distribution. All of which leaves this career to be very demanding indeed.
Often depicted as the sort that stands around with sunglasses on and a phone to their ear saying things like “chao baby’ and “Janet, honey, darling, you’re a gem! You’re a star!”
In reality producers say things like:
“Oh man. What am I going to do?”
“Why is this so expensive?”
“It/they’re not going to get here in time.”
Often times a producer will need to take on multiple roles to ensure that each stage of a production runs smoothly. Where the editor will only work in the post production stage, the producer will work from conception all he way to distribution and occasionally beyond. They will need to manage budgets and ensure that money is used in the most effective way possible (always within budget, no rock star hotel trashing).
It is common for producers to work unsociably long hours. If they’re just starting out in the career, it’s common for them to also be unpaid for the most part. Unless they are working on a budgeted studio production it will be the producers job to secure funding for a project.
For a lot of producers, it is often the case they are the reason the film got made at all. They were the ones that found the book that inspired them to go door to door begging for money to get the production off the ground. Sometimes it can take years before funding can be secured. Money talks, money walks and money makes movies (unfortunately).
All in all, a producer is a key part of the film making process. The job is hard and has plenty of difficulties. It can be stressful, long hours and the failures could be disastrous. However, being able to see a film that you worked many years on come to life on screen is a feeling unmatched in most other careers.
If you’re interested in becoming a film producer despite the harshness of this article please check the following links for a more in depth discussion of roles and responsibilities.