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?