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We often see movie producers take to the stage during award shows when their movies win a best picture award, but what does a movie producer do exactly? What do they produce? Is a producer different from an executive producer? What is their role in the whole filmmaking process? Let's find out.
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What Does a Producer Do?
A producer basically supervises the entire filmmaking process. From the acquisition of ideas and scripts, to hiring directors and actors, to production and post-production parts of the filmmaking process, the producer oversees all. That is a very broad job description but one that is essential. The producer hires people to write scripts or they purchase scripts that they think would translate well into great movies. They shop around for the right studio to invest in the movie and from there, the producer gets the ball rolling by hiring creative talents and technical crew.
During the production process of the movie, it falls upon the producer to troubleshoot any problem that may arise, whether it involves the actors, the directors, the crew, the schedule or the budget. Most of the time, the producer keeps their distance in the actual production of the movie, letting the film director, the actors and the crew do their jobs the best way they know how. They may offer suggestions and recommendations, but most of the time they simply observe, monitor and review how the movie is going. After production, the producer can be involved in selecting the scenes to be included in the final cut of the movie. As soon as the final cut is determined, the producer works on distribution and advertising.
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The flexibility of the term “producer” is apparent in the title “executive producer”. There is no set rules in defining what an executive producer does. The executive producer can be the person who keeps the budget in check or they could be the person who is responsible for making the movie project happen, regardless of what they actually did. This person could have made one phone call to sign a major movie star or they could have made use of all their resources to acquire the funding for the movie. In some cases, the big name actor starring in the movie, looking for a bigger credit in the movie, would ask to be an executive producer without doing anything beyond starring in the movie. Other types of producers include associate producers who are the ones who are physically involved in overseeing the production of the movie. Producer hyphenates, or those who play dual roles in the production like director-producers and writer-producers, have more control in the production of the movie. They get more control in the creative side of the movie as well as the budget and schedule side.
So in essence, the answer to the question “what does a movie producer do?” is simply overseeing the production of the movie so it is made within budget and schedule. The producer also makes sure that the movie gets distributed and promoted so that it could get the widest exposure possible. From all stages of filmmaking, the producer can take on multiple roles and responsibilities or none at all.
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