Ever Wonder What A Producer Is?

I’ve always thought that actors get far too much credit for the films they’re in. Don’t get me wrong, they are an important piece of the movie puzzle, but the general movie going audience seems over exaggerate the influence an actor has over the quality of a film they appear in… compared to say… the director.

Now having said that, have you ever noticed that when a film wins “Best Picture” at the Oscars, you generally don’t see any of the actors on stage, or the directors for that matter either. The award gets given to the Producers of the film. I swear, if I had a dime for every time someone asked me what a producer does in a movie I’d be a rich man right now and probably be dating Jennifer Garner. No wait… scratch that… I’d be rich… but my girlfriend is too good to give up. Anyway…

The role of the producer is an elusive definition to nail down. Heck, I was a producer and I have a hard time defining it. It doesn’t help that a lot of people in the business have differing interpretations for what the producer does too.

CNN just put up an interesting article on the role of the producer and some of the controversy surrounding it’s definition. According to the article, the Producers Guild of America has developed some new guidelines describing just who a producer in a film is:

According to guild guidelines, a producer exercises decision-making authority in one or more of four areas of filmmaking — development, pre-production, production and post-production/marketing.

It’s a good little article that you really should go over and read.

Here’s the way I’ve always interpreted who a Producer is: It’s the person(s) who pull the whole project together. The ones who get the principals involved, hire the directors, set the general direction for the film, makes sure all the “tools” needed to complete the project are available to the director and has some degree of direct decision making authority over the project.

In sports terms, think of a producer as an owner of a professional sports team. They don’t play the game like the players (actors), they don’t directly coordinate the team and set the game plan like the coaches (directors), but they pull the primary decision makers together, set the goals and make sure the bills are paid like the owners (producers)

Does that help?

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4 thoughts on “Ever Wonder What A Producer Is?

  1. I concur with Manda and Mark. However, then it gets even more complicated when you have to have a disclaimer at the end of your definition, that this definition only applies in Feature “full length” Theatrical Films, in Television the Executive Producer is the writer of the show.

    Then there is the indie filmmaker, that has a completely different defination… I wrote the definition as I have come to learn it to be on my blog. Feel free to visit and tell me what you think. I am fairly certain I left some stuff out.

    http://www.freetoagoodhomemovie.com/fghblog.html

  2. Galliant produces low-budget movies that are little seen by the general public but which tell honest, well-written stories that speak of the human struggle and triumph over adversity.

    Goofus produces big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, where he blows half of the production money on coke and whores, and casts only young starlets who are willing to suck him off for a part in the picture.

  3. The way I’ve understood it, producers do the actual work where executive producers just give money. (Not to belittle the moneymen, of course. There wouldn’t be any films without them.) Is that correct?

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