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What is a Creative Executive?

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

Learn about a studio position that will be able to give you the yes or no on your film financing.

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    Show Me the Money

    Once you decide that you would like to make a digital video feature with a budget you have to go out and pitch it to financers and distributors. Often times the person you pitch to will be the creative executive, and they will make the final decision whether or not they want to green light your project. The creative executive, often called the development executive, is a key position within the production chain.

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    The Connection With the Studio

    The creative executive works for a film studio or distributor and orchestrates relationships with producers making films under that institution's oversight. They usually have a film background themselves and are usually the one that a producer will pitch to when looking to get a film financed or picked up. From here the creative executive considers the merits of the project and then may bring it to the studio executives for their final decision. In this situation it is up to the creative executive to sell the film to the studio. The producer’s job is essentially to convince the creative executive of the film's importance, and then the burden is on the creative executive to persuade the media corporation to back it.

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    Once the film gets a green light the creative executive will be the intermediary between the producer and the studio as the film goes forward. All production decisions, from pre-production to post-production and marketing, will have to go through the creative executive from the producer for approval. This is especially true for anything involving the budget or aspects of the film that will affect marketability. On a very large production a business affairs officer may be assigned to oversee all financial decisions and the creative executive will be relegated to just oversee major decisions involving the production. The producer has already laid out the film and its elements to the creative executive at the beginning of their relationship, so minor decisions can be left up to the producer without clearance from the creative executive.

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    Big Business

    The creative executive is not a creative position in its truest sense, and really acts more as a film business executive with an eye for creative properties. This person must be appealed to for your budgeted digital video film to go forward, so understanding their position and who you will be pitching to is important.