What is a Producer?

Rarely do I hear such a least productive word tossed around than I do the word, “Producer.” On the one hand, everyone knows you need a ‘producer,’ and yet, people get Producer credits for not doing much at all. The closer you get your ear to the ground of Hollywood, the more rumors you’ll hear about people getting producer credits for dating ‘the Producer’ or loaning an important location, or their own talent to a production. And then there are Executive Producers, Line Producers, Associate Producers… It’s pretty confusing.

So let me weigh in: A producer is the person/people who put the film together. The executive Producer is the person with the money to make the movie. These two people can be the same person, or different people. And ownership of a project is shared between the producer and executive producer. Everyone else on a set, just works there.

The ‘spirit’ of being a producer is something a lot of people are confused by: a producer gets the movie made. The producer might be the director, but the director’s job is to get great performances. The producer might be the cinematographer, but the cinematographer’s job is to get the shots that best tell the story of the film. The producer’s job is to make sure that anything that everything that isn’t getting done, gets done.

I interviewed producer Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez and she talked to us about producing.

As she mentioned, a producer gets it done. If it falls through the cracks, be it someone who didn’t do their job, didn’t show up or didn’t deliver enough… it’s up to the producer to get it back on track. In ‘Hollywood,’ that means throwing money at the problem until it’s fixed. In the Indie world… get the duct tape out. That’s what producers are, duct tape.

Producers do the hiring and the firing. If the project is too small to have a Line Producer, they also manage the contracts. I’ve met a few directors that lose sight of it, but producers hire the director to do a job – direct. Many see the director as the visionary auteur of a project, but that person is purposefully put into place to get a job done. The right tool for the right job. (No pun intended.) Michelle also talked to us about hiring directors and working with a budget.

The Producer, Executive Producer or not, is intimately involved with the budget. For a producer, managing a budget is the main priority because the ability to get a next budget is at stake every project. It’s like that proverb, ‘those who are responsible with a little will be given more.’ And if you blow a small budget, you’ll never get another one.

At the end of the day, as Michelle said, “a producer produces.” So when you meet a producer, check and see what he or she has actually done.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “What is a Producer?”

  1. Skinny Corleone says:

    You are so wise Jubilee

  2. […] I’m compelled to write this post because I normally have a DP for my interviews, but for this particular shoot, I was rolling solo. I read a lot of blogs and haven’t read very specific information on shooting interviews […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress